Obama Administration Warns Schools to Follow Sex Crime Protocol

DURHAM, N.H. — Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary Arne Duncan spoke at the University of New Hampshire on Monday to kick off a national awareness campaign on schools’ responsibilities and victims’ rights pertaining to sexual violence.

As part of the initiative, colleges and public and private K-12 schools will receive letters outlining their duties under Title IX, a federal civil rights law that bans sexual discrimination, harassment and violence, the Associated Press reports. While the law is not new, efforts have never been made to promote these guidelines before.

The effort is being led by the Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights. Among the guidelines, schools are warned that waiting to start an inquiry into sexual crime allegations until after a police investigation has been concluded is unacceptable, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The initiative should serve as a warning to schools that have not previously followed these standards. For example, Yale University is currently under investigation by the ED for allegedly failing to address reports of sexual harassment. Notre Dame also faced scrutiny after a student killed herself nine days after accusing another student of sexual battery. The university waited 15 days to interview the accused student, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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