BYU under investigation for Title IX violation

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FILE - This April 20, 2016, file photo, protesters stand in solidarity with rape victims on the campus of Brigham Young University during a sexual assault awareness demonstration, in Provo, Utah. Brigham Young University found out Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, that federal authorities will investigate the campus process for handling reports of sexual assault. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Protesters stand in solidarity with rape victims on the campus of Brigham Young University during a sexual assault awareness demonstration in Provo, Utah. BYU found out Aug. 4 that federal authorities will investigate the campus process for handling reports of sexual assault. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The U.S. Department of Education announced Aug. 4 that its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has officially opened a Title IX violation investigation at BYU.

The investigation started on the grounds of a complaint filed April 18. Federal privacy restrictions prevent BYU from commenting on specific details of the complaint, according to BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.

BYU is among more than 200 other schools currently under investigation for similar violations. Other schools under investigation in Utah include University of Utah and Westminster College, according to the Department of Education’s most recent list dated Aug. 10.

A U.S. Department of Education spokesperson said issues under investigation at BYU include sexual harassment, sexual violence and retaliation. As this is an open investigation, the OCR cannot reveal additional information about the case, according to the spokesperson.

The investigation process will involve an initial exchange and evaluation of information between BYU and the OCR, according to Jenkins. Any repercussions will depend on any findings that arise from the investigation.

“The overall general direction of the inquiry is whether or not BYU was in compliance with Title IX in its handling of this specific matter,” Jenkins said. “The direction it will take is unknown to us and one we would not be able to speculate upon.”

Jenkins said the investigation is still very early on, but will likely involve a long, detailed process that may take three or more years to conclude.


The OCR case processing manual has more information about the investigation process. To learn more about events leading up to this investigation, see the Daily Universe timeline of media coverage regarding sexual assault and BYU’s Honor Code policy.

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