NAICU Washington Update

New Database Replaces Sexual Assault “List of Shame”

February 23, 2018

The Department of Education has created a new, publicly available database that tracks civil rights complaints against educational institutions, including colleges and universities. The new database replaces the previous system, in which the Department published a list of institutions that were subject to Title IX investigations for campus sexual assault.

Colleges and universities had long criticized publication of the sexual assault list – dubbed the “list of shame” by Candice Jackson, the acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department – because it implied wrongdoing on the part of the institution, even though no investigative findings had been made.  However, the new database, which contains information about all civil rights complaints, not just sexual assault, similarly lists colleges and universities that have “pending cases under investigation.” 

It is important to note that the database, which will be updated on a monthly basis, lists the types of discrimination under investigation rather than the number of open investigations. Thus, according to a disclaimer on the site, “an institution may appear in the search results multiple times if [the Office for Civil Rights] is investigating the institution for more than one type of alleged discrimination, even if the allegations stem from a single case. Similarly, an institution may appear only once in the search results if OCR is investigating it for only one type of alleged discrimination, even if there are multiple open cases.”

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