The City University of New York's Hunter College violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 when it failed to appropriately respond to a student's complaint that she was sexually harassed by a professor, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights announced Monday. "OCR assessed whether Hunter failed to respond promptly and equitably to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including from the complainant," the department stated. "And, whether as a result of those alleged actions, the complainant and other students were subjected to a sexually hostile environment."
OCR said that the college failed to:
- Address complaints in a prompt and equitable manner, although the college did take some important and appropriate steps to investigate and address the allegations.
- Assess and address the effects of a possible sexually hostile environment and may have contributed to a continuation of a sexually hostile environment for students.
- Assess the need and provide for interim measures.
As part of an agreement with the department, CUNY and Hunter College agreed to revise CUNY's grievance procedures for addressing reports of sexual assault, to provide training to all college staff responsible for "recognizing and reporting incidents of sexual harassment," and to address "any remaining effects that the complainant may have suffered due to sexual harassment" by the professor.
"OCR found that Hunter 'did take some important and appropriate steps to investigate and address the allegations,'" the college said in a statement Monday. "Hunter College and CUNY have always been committed to maintaining a campus environment free from discrimination, intimidation or violence of any sort. It is a core value of the college and a goal we vigorously pursue by broadly disseminating our policies and rigorously enforcing them. Hunter College and CUNY will continue to work diligently to comply with Title IX rules."
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