The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday that Tufts University was found in violation of Title IX for its handing of sexual assault and harassment complaints on campus.
The Office for Civil Rights announced the conclusion to its investigation in a press release late Monday, stating that Tufts, with three campuses across Massachusetts, "did not investigate alleged sexual assaults when notified unless the allegations were part of a written complaint," and failed to provide the appropriate programs and securities to protect a student during a sexual assault investigation. Students who brought forwards complaints also faced "a hostile environment," and were "denied... access to educational opportunities at the university." When separating the student who filed a complaint from their accuser, the school also favored the accuser and "disproportionately burdened the student." The school does not have a good reputation for handing sexual assault cases.
Tufts originally agreed to amend its policies and programs to better comply with the standards set by Title IX on April 17, the OCR said in their statement. But on April 26 Tufts informed the OCR of the school's plans to break that agreement. Tufts now faces a wide range of possible punishments, including losing federal funding.
Tufts believes the programs put in place over the course of the OCR's investigation were sufficient. The OCR acknowledges that Tufts made progress but argues the school still falls short of the generally recognized federal standards. Per Fox Boston, Tufts University responded to the Department of Education's decision:
"Tufts University is surprised and disappointed that the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has declared the University to be out of compliance with Title IX," the statement read, in part. "We believe the department's recently announced finding has no basis in law and we have requested to speak with OCR's Washington Office to discuss this unexpected and troubling announcement."