Temple named in DOE sex assault inquiry

Department of Education Title IX probe comes on heels of White House report on colleges’ handling of sexual assault cases.

Temple is one of 55 universities nationwide under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for possible violations to Title IX requirements in relation to the university’s handling of sexual assault and harassment cases, the department announced in a statement Thursday.

University spokesman Ray Betzner confirmed that Temple is one of the universities under investigation but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation. Betzner did not say when the university received notice of the investigation.

“Temple has fully cooperated with the Office of Civil Rights, and looks forward to a resolution of the matter,” Betzner said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the Obama administration released a report from its White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, urging university administrators to take comprehensive steps towards working with victims of sexual assault and reporting cases.

“We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said in a DOE statement. “We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university’s appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law.”

Betzner said the investigation announced Thursday was separate from a DOE Title IX investigation into Temple Athletics announced in February, following the cuts of seven athletic programs last December. In explaining the reason behind the cuts, President Theobald has said they were made to fix the university’s noncompliance with the federal law.

Temple reported seven forcible sexual offenses in its 2012 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, occurring on the Main and Health Sciences campuses, and no non-forcible assaults on any of its campuses. The 2013 report has yet to be released.

Other Pennsylvania colleges named in the investigation include Franklin & Marshall College, Carnegie Mellon University, Penn State, and Swarthmore College.

John Moritz can be reached at john.moritz@temple.edu or on Twitter @JCMoritzTU.

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