Case: Department of Education OCR Title IX Investigation of University of Montana-Missoula

169-44-9 | No Court

Filed Date: May 1, 2012

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 1, 2012, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Educational Opportunities Section ("Division") launched a formal investigation and compliance review of the University's response to sexual assault and harassment over the proceeding three-year period. (The Division also launched a companion investigation of the University's Office of Public Safety and simultaneous investigations of the City of Missoula Police Department and Missoula County Attorney's Office. Thes…

On May 1, 2012, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Educational Opportunities Section ("Division") launched a formal investigation and compliance review of the University's response to sexual assault and harassment over the proceeding three-year period. (The Division also launched a companion investigation of the University's Office of Public Safety and simultaneous investigations of the City of Missoula Police Department and Missoula County Attorney's Office. These are linked as related cases, below.)

On May 4, 2012, the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") opened a Title IX compliance review to assess whether the University's policies and procedures and the University's implementation of such policies and procedures ensured the elimination of sexual harassment and sexual violence, appropriately responded to such harassment and violence, prevented future harassment, and eliminated the hostile environment and its effects that result from such harassment.

The DOJ and OCR conducted the investigation and review under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"). The DOJ also conducted its investigation under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title IV"). The United States combined the Title IV and Title IX investigations and compliance reviews of the University.

On May 9, 2013, the DOJ and the OCR released a findings letter identifying problems with the University's policies prohibiting sexual harassment and sexual assault, grievance procedures, response to allegations and instances of retaliation, and Title IX coordinator training, and finding that the University had not fully eliminated the hostile educational environment based on sex and that the University's notice of nondiscrimination did not fully meet Title IX regulations' requirements.

Also on May 9, 2013, the University, the DOJ, and the OCR executed an agreement resolving the investigation and compliance reviews. The agreement details specific steps the University will take to revise its policies, procedures and investigative practices to provide a grievance procedure that ensures prompt and equitable resolution of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations; adequately investigate and respond to allegations of retaliation by students who have alleged sexual assault; take sufficient effective action to fully eliminate a hostile environment based on sex, prevent its recurrence and address its effects; ensure that the individuals designated to coordinate its Title IX efforts receive adequate training and coordinate these efforts effectively; and revise the University's notice of nondiscrimination to adequately inform students that sex discrimination is prohibited.

The Agreement remains in force for at least three academic years; puts in place various reporting duties; and will not terminate until at least 60 days after the United States has received all of the reporting required through the first semester of the 2015-2016 school year.

The University agreed to retain within thirty days and pay all the fees and costs of an equity consultant with expertise in the area of sex-based harassment prevention and training in higher education to evaluate and recommend revisions to the University's policies, procedures, and practices for preventing, investigating, and remediating sex-based harassment, as required by the Agreement; develop and provide the mandatory Title IX training required by the Agreement; and develop one or more annual climate surveys in consultation with the University, as required by the Agreement, and make recommendations to the University regarding its sex-based harassment policies, procedures, and practices based on the surveys.

As of May 3, 2014, the United States continues to monitor the implementation of the Agreement and will do so until it determines that the University has fulfilled the Agreement's requirements and is in compliance with Title IV, Title IX, and the implementing regulations that were at issue in this case.

Summary Authors

Heather Turner (5/3/2014)

Related Cases

DOJ Investigation of University of Montana-Missoula's Office of Public Safety, No Court (2012)

DOJ Investigation of Missoula Police Department, No Court (2012)

Van Valkenburg v. County Attorney's Office for Missoula, District of Montana (2014)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)

Bhargava, Anurima (District of Columbia)

Cotter, Michael W. (Montana)

Hinger, Sarah (New York)

Lopez, Christy (District of Columbia)

McCarthy, Emily H. (District of Columbia)

Mondino, Jennifer L. (District of Columbia)

Murphy, Maureen M. (Connecticut)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)

Bhargava, Anurima (District of Columbia)

Cotter, Michael W. (Montana)

Hinger, Sarah (New York)

Lopez, Christy (District of Columbia)

McCarthy, Emily H. (District of Columbia)

Mondino, Jennifer L. (District of Columbia)

Murphy, Maureen M. (Connecticut)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Trepel, Samantha Kay (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

169-44-9

[Case files for University of Montana at Missoula investigation]

May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012

Correspondence

169-44-9

[University of Montana Public Safety Letter of Findings]

May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013

Findings Letter/Report

Resolution Agreement

University of Montana-Missoula

May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013

Settlement Agreement

169-44-9

Memorandum Agreement Between the United States Department of Justice and the University of Montana Regarding the University of Montana Office of Public Safety's Response to Sexual Assault

May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013

Settlement Agreement

169-44-9

[U. of Montana at Missoula Letter of Findings]

May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013

Findings Letter/Report

169-44-9

[Notification letter and data request for the University of Montana at Missoula]

Nov. 27, 2017

Nov. 27, 2017

Notice Letter

169-44-9

[Notification letter for the University of Montana at Missoula]

Nov. 27, 2017

Nov. 27, 2017

Notice Letter

Resources

Docket

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Montana

Case Type(s):

Education

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 1, 2012

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The U.S. DOJ, investigating, seeking to determine whether gender discrimination affected the prevention, investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults and sexual harassment in Missoula.

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

University of Montana-Missoula (Missoula, Missoula), State

Defendant Type(s):

College/University

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 2013 - None

Content of Injunction:

Reporting

Monitoring

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Issues

General:

Failure to supervise

Failure to train

Record-keeping

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run