Blog: The Educated Reporter

Is Your College on Feds’ List of Title IX Investigations? Here’s How to Find Out

A view of the University of Virginia, where a fraternity is suing Rolling Stone magazine for its now-retracted cover story about an alleged rape on campus. The continued fallout is putting fresh scrutiny on how institutions handle such allegations as well as the media's coverage of the issues. (Flickr/Phil Roeder)

For reporters covering colleges and universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education has put together a valuable new resource: an online tool for searching, and tracking, federal investigations into potential Title IX violations involving sexual assault allegations. 

There are currently close to 250 in the Chronicle’s database, with just under 20 percent of them listed as “resolved.” The average duration for an investigation is one year, two months. 

You can search by both an institution’s name and by keywords – such as a particular sport or Greek life organization. This tool can be a useful starting point for local reporters looking to keep tabs on cases within their own communities, as well as for those examining broader trends at the state or national level.

In some cases, individuals who have experienced campus sexual assault are creating their own support systems and resources – going public with their painful stories in an effort to force higher education officials to confront inadequacies in existing policies. The Know Your Title IX website, which provides support and guidance to students, is funded by a coalition of sexual assault survivors. 

There’s been some first-rate reporting recently on Title IX violations and campus handling — and indeed, mishandling — of sexual assault cases. The Washington Post wrote earlier this month about the latest bizarre twist that may have contributed to a controversial Rolling Stone cover story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia. (The magazine has since retracted the article and is being sued by the campus fraternity where the attack was alleged to have occurred.)

One of the newer angles has been to focus on students who have been accused of assault and then may have had their rights to due process violated during the campus investigation. A 2014 Slate article by Emily Yoffe about a sexual assault investigation at the University of Michigan is worth close reading, as is the followup about the subsequent the reversal of charges against the student accused of committing rape. 

 If you’re an education reporter working on a story about these issues, take a look at our Topics Page on sexual assault and Title IX.  You’ll find key coverage, the latest reports, and even five questions to ask. You can also catch a video replay of our seminar session with experts on how to understand the complexities of these issues.