You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

breaking news

EXCLUSIVE: Document names Greg Kelley’s friend as new suspect in child sex case

Southwestern University under another investigation for sexual assault


Highlights

University President Edward Burger said Southwestern is fully cooperating with federal authorities.

After protests in 2015, Southwestern made several changes to the way it handles sexual assault allegations.

For the second time in a little more than a year, Southwestern University is being investigated by the federal government for the way it handled a sexual violence allegation by one of its students.

Records show that on Monday the U.S. Education Department launched a Title IX inquiry at the small liberal arts school in Georgetown, which already is the subject of an ongoing investigation that began in February 2016. It’s unclear if either investigation is linked to accusations of sexual misconduct in 2015 when a fraternity on campus was accused of drugging two of its party guests.

In a statement released to the American-Statesman, Southwestern President Edward Burger said the Office for Civil Rights — the federal investigative arm for the Education Department — asked the university on Wednesday to turn over information regarding a sexual misconduct case as well as the school’s policies for handling such allegations.

“The university is cooperating fully and is actively working to gather all requested materials in a timely manner,” Burger said.

Burger went on to say “Southwestern is committed to a safe campus community. We believe that OCR will recognize that commitment, and if OCR suggests changes to improve still further, those changes will, of course, be implemented.”

Changes were made two years ago in the wake of student protests over the school’s handling of alleged sexual misconduct by the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, which was accused by two students of drugging drinks at a February 2015 event. Upsetting to some students was an email sent by University Police Chief Deborah Brown that offered pointers for not getting drugged at parties — always keep a hand over your drinking cup — but made no promises of getting to the bottom of the alleged crimes.

Hundreds of students demanded the administration take stronger action, accusing it of being too intertwined with the Greek system on campus

Asked if the latest investigation was sparked by a more recent allegation, university police directed the Statesman to the school’s director of communications, Eric Bumgardner, who couldn’t be reached.

According to the Title IX statute, a school violates a student’s rights regarding sexual violence when the alleged conduct is “sufficiently serious to limit or deny a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational program” and “the school fails to take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the sexual violence, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.”

The Office of Civil Rights declined to comment on the Southwestern cases, citing a policy against discussing details of investigations.

After the 2015 protests, a committee made up of students and staff revised the school’s sexual violence policy. They proposed three changes — expanding the definition of consent, expanding the appeal process and expanding the rights of both parties involved in an accusation.

The investigation at Southwestern was one of three launched Monday by the Office of Civil Rights. The others are at the University of Illinois and at Manor College in Pennsylvania.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

WHAT’S BANNED: No to wet bikes, yes to kayaks on Lake Austin for Memorial Day weekend
WHAT’S BANNED: No to wet bikes, yes to kayaks on Lake Austin for Memorial Day weekend

Personal watercraft, wet bikes, motorized surfboards and similar craft will be banned on Lake Austin from sunset Friday to sunrise Tuesday, the Austin Police Department said. Non-motorized craft such as kayaks, canoes and paddleboards will still be allowed during the Memorial Day weekend, police said. APD’s Lake Patrol Unit will be enforcing...
State officials close to deal to expand Pedernales Falls State Park
State officials close to deal to expand Pedernales Falls State Park

A deal meant to protect the views in a popular Hill Country state park appears to be near completion, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials and a landowner said Thursday. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will buy, at no more than half the market rate, 200 acres of private property on a bluff opposite Pedernales Falls State Park; landowner Mike...
In fatal struggles with police, a controversial killer is often blamed
In fatal struggles with police, a controversial killer is often blamed

Juan Lozano’s death in South Texas during the summer of 2006 was a mystery. Dimmit County Sheriff’s deputies came upon the 26-year-old Crystal City man around midnight after a call about a man behaving bizarrely: screaming, running in the street and hiding in the bushes. A struggle broke out — officers say they pushed him to the ground...
Community news: Austin school district offers youths free summer meals

TRAVIS COUNTY AUSTIN SCHOOLS Free summer meals offered The Austin school district will serve free breakfast and lunch to local youths ages 18 and younger regardless of economic status or whether the child attends the district. The Summer Food Service Program will be available at more than 50 district schools beginning early June. There are no registration...
Gov. Abbott: ‘Plenty of time’ to avoid special legislative session
Gov. Abbott: ‘Plenty of time’ to avoid special legislative session

With four days left in the regular legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott said on Thursday that he is not yet ready to talk about a special session to address what he considers insufficient efforts to restrict bathroom use by transgender people and rein in property taxes. “We’ve got plenty of time to continue in this regular session. I think...
More Stories