image description

FSU issues statement on U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ Compliance Review

September 9th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced its findings in a review of Frostburg State University’s compliance with the tenets of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 regarding the handling of sexual assault complaints. FSU was one of the over 200 institutions that has been investigated by OCR on how colleges and universities handle sexual assault complaints.

FSU has agreed to take action steps recommended by OCR but is not admitting that it is not in compliance with Title IX or its implementing regulations.

The complaint against FSU was filed in September 2013, and in the three years since, the University has cooperated fully with the investigation. OCR acknowledged the significant actions the University has taken over the past several years to strengthen its efforts in responding to sexual assault complaints. In particular, it noted the hiring of a full-time Title IX coordinator in January of 2015. FSU was one of the first Maryland higher education institutions to hire a full-time Title IX coordinator.

FSU has built a comprehensive program to respond to and prevent sexual violence. It is continuously improving upon this program with a goal of ensuring that FSU is a safe, respectful and inclusive community for all. Among the measures that have been or are being taken:

·         FSU created the Office of Gender Equity that is staffed by the Title IX coordinator, reporting directly to the University’s president. She is an attorney with an extensive Title IX compliance background. The office is also staffed by a full-time deputy Title IX coordinator who is responsible for investigating complaints of gender-based harassment and violence.

·         FSU expanded the options for reporting incidents of gender-based harassment and violence, including creating an anonymous tip line and online reporting system.

·         The University is in its fifth year of a comprehensive, mandatory program of instruction for all incoming students that incorporates online and in-person training. The online training component is expanded to all students for the current year.

·         Title IX policies and practices have been updated for clarity and compliance with Department of Education standards, and to incorporate updates to the University System of Maryland policies.

·         FSU conducted campus climate surveys in 2015 and 2016, and follow-up focus groups with students to help inform FSU’s policies, practices and services.

·         FSU committed funding to make improvements to its record keeping and documentation procedures and will continue to review them for Title IX compliance.

·         FSU’s Gender-Based Harassment and Violence Elimination Task Force, formed in 2011 under a previous name, proactively serves the campus community and guides program and policy development, and implementation of prevention strategies.

·         FSU entered into an MOU with local law enforcement in 2012, and will continue to review the MOU to ensure appropriate communications and response to sexual assault complaints.

·         FSU continues to strengthen its relationship with its local rape crisis center, which provides services and programing on FSU’s campus for students.

·         Comprehensive training will be held for all members of the University community during the coming year to ensure all students, faculty and staff constituencies have the knowledge needed to respond to concerns of sexual misconduct.

Additionally, FSU will offer reimbursement to the complainants for certain expenses related to their complaints.

To learn more about FSU’s commitment to maintaining a safe, inclusive and nondiscriminatory learning and work environment, visit the Office of Gender Equity website at www.frostburg.edu/titleix.

Leave a Reply

 



View Mobile Site