Feds dismiss Title IX complaint against Westminster

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) –  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) says Westminster College did not discriminate against a complainant in a report filed on Nov. 10, 2014.

Based on the results of its investigation, the federal office determined there was “insufficient evidence to establish that the college discriminated against the complainant as alleged.”

The investigation was in response to the handling of a 2013 incident of possible sexual misconduct. The OCR issued its findings in a letter after reviewing the college’s investigation of the 2013 incident and the overall handling of Title IX reports on campus. 

Based on the evidence, the OCR determined Westminster conducted a prompt and thorough investigation and avoided potential bias by:

1) retaining an independent investigator and attorney 

2) interviewing witnesses 

3) allowing parties an equal opportunity to present evidence and witnesses

 4) rendering a final determination within a reasonable timeframe (68 days, including the appeal process).

Investigators also found the college’s response to other sexual misconduct complaints “did not raise issues of any systemic concerns and no further investigations are warranted.”

As a result of the investigation, Westminster identified areas for improvement and updated its Title IX policy and procedures, including initiating

  • mandatory online Title IX training for all first-year students,
  • requiring bystander-awareness training (conducted by students) for new students
  •  implementing a variety of sexual violence awareness campaigns for the campus community.

The college says it also continues to conduct self-assessments to strengthen its Title IX programs.

“Westminster and all colleges throughout the nation can always do more to prevent sexual violence, said Stephen Morgan, Westminster president. “The safety and security of our students is a top priority, and we will continue to improve our processes and confront incidents of sexual violence head-on.” 

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