WASHINGTON (May 1, 2014) Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the University of Texas Pan-American in Edinburg are on a list the U.S. Department of Education released Thursday of 55 colleges and universities facing Title IX sexual abuse investigations.
The institutions are under investigation for possible violations of federal law involving the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.
In a statement, UTPA acknowledged it's being investigated but said it tries to treat with dignity and respect any student subjected to sexual abuse.
SMU said it has been "aggressive" at adopting new procedures to resolve complaints and hold violators accountable.
The release came two days after a White House task force promised greater government transparency on sexual assault in higher education.
"We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights," Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said in a press release Thursday.
"We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university's appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law."
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds.
It is the same law that guarantees female athletes equal access to sports, but it also regulates institutions' handling of sexual violence and increasingly is being used by victims who say their school failed to protect them.
The agency previously would confirm such investigations when asked, but students and others were often unaware of them.
Schools Facing Investigation By State
(Source: U.S. Department of Education)
AZ Arizona State University
CA Butte-Glen Community College District
CA Occidental College
CA University of California-Berkeley
CA University of Southern California
CO Regis University
CO University of Colorado at Boulder
CO University of Colorado at Denver
CO University of Denver
CT University of Connecticut
DC Catholic University of America
FL Florida State University
GA Emory University
HI University of Hawaii at Manoa
ID University of Idaho
IL Knox College
IL University of Chicago
IN Indiana University-Bloomington
IN Vincennes University
MA Amherst College
MA Boston University
MA Emerson College
MA Harvard College
MA Harvard University-Law School
MA University of Massachusetts-Amherst
MD Frostburg State University
MI Michigan State University
MI University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
NC Guilford College
NC University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ND Minot State University
NH Dartmouth College
NJ Princeton University
NY Cuny Hunter College
NY Hobart and William Smith Colleges
NY Sarah Lawrence College
NY Suny at Binghamton
OH Denison University
OH Ohio State University
OH Wittenberg University
OK Oklahoma State University
PA Carnegie Mellon University
PA Franklin and Marshall College
PA Pennsylvania State University
PA Swarthmore College
PA Temple University
TN Vanderbilt University
TX Southern Methodist University
TX The University of Texas-Pan American
VA College of William and Mary
VA University of Virginia
WA Washington State University
WI University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
WV Bethany College
WV West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine