US examines sex assaults at 225 schools

More than 200 colleges and universities are under investigation by the federal government for their handling of sexual violence complaints, the Office of Civil Rights in the Education Department announced Thursday.

The list has grown by two schools — the University of Mary Washington and the University of Florida — since last week, when the department issued its last update during former President Barack Obama’s tenure.

There are 306 investigations at 225 schools, including 18 in Massachusetts. Some schools have multiple investigations open simultaneously, and inclusion on the list does not indicate that federal law has been violated there.

In 2014, the Obama administration shocked many by announcing that 55 campuses were under investigation, a sign that the department was making campus sexual assault — an issue advocates felt had long been ignored or covered up by many schools — an urgent national priority.

While many welcomed the change, as the list grew quickly — quadrupling in just a couple of years — some critics thought the administration was acting too aggressively.

The department has been updating the list regularly, and some had wondered whether it would continue to be shared publicly after President Trump took office, as one possible glimpse into how the new administration might address the issue of sexual violence. Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, was asked about the topic in a hearing last week.

Washington Post