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Local News

June 7, 2014

Elmira, BU students react to Title IX probe

Several area students who attend Elmira College said Monday that they are shocked and perplexed that their alma mater was included in a list of more than 55 colleges being investigated for possible Title IX violations.

Elmira College and Binghamton University were among colleges being investigated for the handling of Title IX sexual violence and harassment complaints, according to the May 1 announcement from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. 

All colleges, universities and K-12 schools that receive federal funding must comply with Title IX. Schools that violate the law and refuse to address the problems identified by OCR can lose federal funding or be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for further action.

The State University College at Oneonta and Hartwick College were not on the list. 

Brittany Hayes, of New Berlin, graduated from Elmira College on Sunday. She said news of the college’s placement on the list broke in an unconventional way at the school.

“One of the students saw the list and shared it to Facebook,” Hayes said. “The administrators found out about that and sent an email to all of us, saying they’re handling it in a private manner.”

Hayes said she has heard classmates talking about the list, but is unaware of any particular case or incident to which the list may be referring.

“Things like that get kept hush-hush, though,” Hayes said.

The May list is the first comprehensive look at which campuses are under review for possible violations of Title IX’s requirements around sexual violence, the release said. Under federal law, sexual violence refers to “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent — including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion.”

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