Columbia University is being investigated for potential violations of Title IX, the federal law that requires schools to adequately respond to cases of sexual assault on campus, officials from the U.S. Department of Education confirmed this week.
Last May, when the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) first publicly released the names of the colleges and universities under Title IX review, there were 55 schools on the list. But that number has been rising ever since. This week, the addition of Columbia brings the count up to 95 schools in total.
Via the Huffington Post’s higher education reporter, Tyler Kingkade, here are the education institutions on that list:
A wave of anti-rape activism on college campuses has inspired an increasing number of Title IX complaints, which many students see as the primary tool available to them to hold their administrations accountable. Civil lawsuits filed by college rape victims are increasingly referencing Title IX, too. The rising number of schools facing legal challenges has brought more widespread attention to the issue of sexual violence among college students. Last year, President Obama announced a new federal task force focused specifically on the issue of college rape.
Columbia specifically has recently made national headlines thanks to ongoing student activism that’s highlighted the school’s failure to punish alleged perpetrators of sexual assault. Last spring, Columbia students sparked controversy by scrawling the names of accused rapists on bathroom walls all over campus. And for her senior thesis in visual arts, Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz is currently carrying around her dorm mattress everywhere she goes as long as her alleged rapist remains on campus. Her effort has inspired college students across the country to use their own mattresses as a symbol of solidarity with victims.
“I am so grateful that the federal government is stepping in to help keep students safe at Columbia,” Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, one of students who filed the Title IX complaint, told the Huffington Post. “For the last two years, I have felt betrayed by my school and didn’t know who to turn to. Despite months of protests and many survivors coming forward with painful stories of violence and mistreatment, Columbia is still failing to address sexual and dating violence on campus.”
In a statement that’s been circulated to news outlets, a university spokesperson said the school will “fully cooperate” with the investigation and has “no higher priority than protecting the safety and well-being of all who are part of our university community.”
Some student activists have raised concerns that, in order for Title IX investigations to be effective, Congress needs to change the way that the federal law gets enforced. Currently, if a school is found guilty of violating of Title IX, administrators typically come to a “voluntary resolution” with OCR that gives the college another chance to clean up its act. The advocates behind Know Your IX, a survivor-led group working to address campus violence, believe that’s often not enough of a punishment — and want schools to get slapped with a fine for their violations.
“Many of us have filed Title IX complaints, which has been sort of the celebrated tool over the past year, and have been really displeased with the outcome,” Alexandra Brodsky, one of the co-directors of Know Your IX, told ThinkProgress this past summer. “If we’re going to celebrate students for coming forward, we have to make sure that we, as a country, have their backs.”