SHU under investigation for handling of sexual violence complaints

Seton Hall University is one of 227 colleges and universities currently under investigation by the federal government for their handling of sexual violence complaints as of Feb. 8, 2017.

According to the list released by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education, there are currently 310 investigations going on at 227 postsecondary institutions. This figure has nearly quadrupled from the 55 schools on the list when it was first released in 2014.

Being on the list does not necessarily mean that SHU violated any federal laws. Gregory Medina/Asst. Photography Editor

The list has grown by two more schools since The Washington Post reported on it on Jan. 26.

Jim Bradshaw, U.S. Department of Education press officer, provided the most recent list and indicated that the newest additions to the list are Marshall University in West Virginia and Methodist College in North Carolina.

Click here to view the current list (as of 02/13/2016) of schools under investigation.

While some schools have multiple investigations going on at the same time, Seton Hall is being investigated for one incident reported to the OCR on July 22, 2015.

Being on the list does not necessarily mean that the schools violated any federal laws. According to the OCR’s website, anyone is entitled to file a complaint if they feel that they have received any sort of discrimination. A complainant can also file a complaint on behalf of someone else.

University spokesperson Laurie Pine said in an email statement that the complaint was filed in 2015 after the complainant “was not satisfied with [the University’s] finding” after a review of the allegations. She said that Seton Hall is now working with the OCR to review its policies and procedures.

“Seton Hall University is committed to protecting the rights, dignity and privacy of all members of its community and takes any allegations of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault very seriously,” Pine said. “The University responds to such allegations in compliance with the law.”

Bradshaw said that the OCR does not discuss the details of each individual investigation as per its policy. However, the Office’s website said that during investigations, “OCR’s role is to be a neutral fact-finder and to promptly resolve complaints.”

Brianna Bernath can be reached at brianna.bernath@student.shu.edu.

Author: Brianna Bernath

Brianna Bernath is a journalism major at Seton Hall University, where she is the Assistant News Editor of The Setonian. She is currently a TODAY.com intern at NBC News. She has previously interned with "TODAY" at NBC News and "Mad Money with Jim Cramer" at CNBC. You can follow Brianna on Twitter @briannabernath, where you can find her most recent work.

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