Hunter to change response to sexual assault allegations
Is it two years too late?
After a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education, Hunter College has announced agreement to revise its method of handling sexual assault allegations.
The U.S. DOE found over a dozen instances over a two-year period in which allegations were mishandled by Hunter, between 2011 through 2013. Under this new settlement, all sexual assault allegations will be re-examined by the school that were reported between 2013 through 2016.
“Hunter College and CUNY have always been committed to maintaining a campus environment free from discrimination, intimidation, or violence of any sort,” the spokeswoman said to The Wall Street Journal. “It is a core value of the college and a goal we vigorously pursue by broadly disseminating our policies and rigorously enforcing them.”
The investigation was catalyzed by a Hunter student who reported sexual assault by a professor in December 2012. The report, which was filed with the Office of Civil Rights, detailed how the student had filed two separate complaints to Hunter about the professor’s inappropriate behavior. Not only did the school ignore these complaints, the student was barred from registering for future courses. (No evidence was found that this was Hunter’s retaliation against this student, however.)
A dozen other cases similar to this have been mishandled, according to the U.S. DOE.
Moving forward, Hunter has agreed to train staff and students on how to confront sexual assault in addition to reopening all allegations received in the past three years. The school will also provide evidence that it is abiding by Title IX, which bans sex-based discrimination.