Washburn Defends Handling Of Sexual Assault Complaints

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Washburn University's president says the campus is safe and takes reports of sexual violence "very seriously."

Dr. Jerry Farley made the assertion in an email sent to university staff Wednesday. It was in response to Washburn being added last week to the list of colleges and universities under federal investigation for its response to complaints about sexual assault.

According to Farley's email, the complaint about the school was received April 17, 2014, but the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. He says Washburn then received notice July 1 that OCR would examine the school's policies and procedures regarding complaints of sexual violence and sexual harassment to determine if the response was immediate and appropriate.

Farley said in the email that the incident which led to the complaint was investigated by Washburn University Police and turned over to the district attorney's office.

"Washburn's review of the current case indicates Washburn adhered to our policies and procedures, there was a final report, and a fair resolution," Farley wrote. "It does not appear that Washburn has violated any University policy or procedure or any Federal law or regulation."

Washburn was among 12 additions last week to the OCR's investigation list. The agency previously released a list of 55 universities under investigation as part of a broader examination by federal officials.

The colleges are facing inquiries under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination on campus.

Complete text of Washburn University President Dr. Jerry Farley's email to staff:

Washburn University was notified that the U. S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) received a complaint on April 17, 2014 alleging discrimination on the basis of sex. On July 1, 2014 OCR sent a letter to Washburn indicating OCR intended to investigate. OCR will conduct an “examination of the University’s handling of complaints of sexual violence and sexual harassment under our various procedures to determine if the University responded immediately and appropriately with particular emphasis on complaints of sexual assault.” OCR has requested documentation of our procedures and policies for handling these types of cases.

OCR posted on their web site notice that Washburn was being investigated. While no investigation has occurred, the mere post that Washburn was being investigated may lead some to at least suspicion Washburn did something in violation of the law. The OCR review is just beginning. The OCR web notice does not imply any law or regulation has been violated.

·We are proud Washburn is a safe campus.

·We take allegations of sexual harassment or violence very seriously.

·We respect each individual’s right to file a complaint or appeal with the OCR.

·We also have policies and procedures in place to respond to reported events which assist the University in addressing any violations of the Student Conduct Code.

·The allegation under review was investigated by the Washburn Police and documentation submitted to the District Attorney.

·The allegation was also investigated by the office of our Equal Opportunity Director/Title IX coordinator.

·Washburn’s review of the current case indicates Washburn adhered to our policies and procedures, there was a final report, and a fair resolution.

·It does not appear that Washburn has violated any University policy or procedure or any Federal law or regulation.

We realize you may be asked questions about the investigation and we hope the information provided in this e-mail will assist you in any future conversations.

Jerry Farley



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