Case: Department of Justice OCR Title IX Investigation of Wheaton College

169-36-71 | No Court

Filed Date: 2015

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an investigation in August 2015, after receiving a complaint about Wheaton College's handling of a report of sexual assault alleging violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The exact contents of the complaint and compliance review are not available. The investigation examined the college's handlings of reports of sexual assault and harassment in the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 school years, and a portion of th…

The Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an investigation in August 2015, after receiving a complaint about Wheaton College's handling of a report of sexual assault alleging violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The exact contents of the complaint and compliance review are not available. The investigation examined the college's handlings of reports of sexual assault and harassment in the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 school years, and a portion of the 2015-16 school year.

Following the investigation, the DOJ determined that although the college had made substantial efforts to improve its policies and its responses to sexual misconduct, its responses to some reports of sexual assault and retaliation during the relevant time period fell short of the standards required by Title IX. Specifically, the individuals responsible for investigating and adjudicating reports of sexual misconduct did not fully understand their roles or responsibilities which contributed to at least one inequitable grievance process in a sexual assault case. The college also failed to provide and enforce interim measures designed to protect students and ensure their equal access to education. The investigation also determined at least one incident of the college's failure to respond to a complaint of retaliation. The college also fell short in its documentation and reporting methods.

The college entered a voluntary Resolution Agreement on September 21, 2016. The college agreed to draft revised policies and procedures related to sex discrimination to clarify prohibited conduct and reporting procedures, and to provide notice of its revised policies and procedures to all students and employees. The college was also required to revise its Title IX training and provide the revised training to relevant employees by December 31, 2016. As part of the Resolution Agreement, the college agreed to develop a system for tracking complaints of sex discrimination, and to provide the United States with all required documents and information.The agreement was to remain in force for at least three academic years, and the DOJ was to monitor the terms of the agreement until it determined the College had fulfilled the agreement's terms.

Summary Authors

Elizabeth Heise (11/25/2018)


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Simons, Shaheena A (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Simons, Shaheena A (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Settlement Agreement Between the United States of America and Wheaton College

Sept. 21, 2016 Settlement Agreement

Resources

Title Description External URL

Chronicle of Higher Education, Title IX Tracker: Wheaton College (Mass.)

Chronicle of Higher Education

Collects documents from Department of Education OCR Title IX investigation. Campus Context: "Sexual assault gained attention on the campus in the fall of 2015, when local news outlets reported that W… Dec. 23, 2018 https://projects.chronicle.com/titleix/campus/Wheaton-College-Mass/

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Education

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2015

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Unknown

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

Wheaton College (Norton, Bristol), Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

College/University

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 2016 - 2019

Content of Injunction:

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitoring

Recordkeeping

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Failure to train

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination