The top official at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights told House lawmakers Thursday that a quarter of active campus sexual violence cases involving colleges and universities at her agency were filed under the Trump administration.
That’s reflective, said Candice Jackson, the acting assistant secretary for civil rights, of an improving culture where survivors of sexual violence feel comfortable coming forward.
Jackson made the comments at a roundtable hosted by the House's Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. She told lawmakers the office has 353 open complaints concerning sexual violence at colleges and universities. Another 149 active cases involved K-12 campuses.
Educational institutions are charged under federal law with investigating and adjudicating incidents of sexual harassment and assault on their campuses. But when they fall short in those responsibilities, students can file complaints with the Office for Civil Rights.
Under the Obama administration, the Department of Education maintained a public list of institutions under investigation for Title IX sexual violence issues. The department now releases that list each week upon request.
OCR has moved swiftly to clear a backlog of Title IX complaints -- which may involve sexual misconduct, discrimination or other issues -- for the most part by dismissing cases. Out of 1,500 cases closed by the Trump administration as of August, more than 900 were dismissed outright.