Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, August 20, 2017

Title IX complaint filed against AU

The University was notified of a complaint filed in August 2016 with the Department of Education

Title IX complaint filed against AU

American University now has three open Title IX investigations. 

Dean of Students Robert Hradsky sent a memo to the campus community on Monday to disclose that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has opened a Title IX investigation into a complaint the department received in August 2016 against the University.

“It informed us that OCR received a complaint on August 29, 2016, alleging that the University discriminated against a respondent in a sexual misconduct complaint when it failed to promptly and equitably investigate a complaint filed against him in March 2016,” Hradsky said in the memo.

Hradsky also currently serves as assistant vice president and interim Title IX program officer. Heather Pratt formerly served as AU’s full-time Title IX officer, but stepped down from her position on March 20.

Both the University and the Office of Civil Rights are unable to disclose details regarding ongoing investigations, said Kelly Alexander, AU’s Director of Public Relations and Jim Bradshaw, spokesperson for the Department of Education. Therefore, the respondent who is pursuing the complaint cannot be named.

What is currently known based on the memo is that, in this case, the respondent is a male student who felt his rights were violated by the University when officials investigated a Title IX complaint against him.

This new complaint adds to AU’s two previously existing ones, filed on March 11, 2015 and June 21, 2016, both of which are still open, according to the Department of Education. Additionally, as of March 29, 2017, this complaint is one of 317 sexual violence cases under investigation at 228 postsecondary institutions across the country, Bradshaw said.

Alexander said the University will follow the OCR’s guidelines in the coming weeks in order to move forward with the complaint investigation.

“There are steps that are outlined by the Office for Civil Rights, OCR, that the University must comply with once they’ve been notified,” Alexander said in an interview with the Eagle. “So we will take the steps to do that and go through the process that’s outlined by the OCR, and respond to them.”

Alexander said that Hradsky will oversee this case until Pratt’s replacement is identified.

“Rob Hradsky is the interim program officer, so he will be taking on those responsibilities,” Alexander said. “There won’t be a gap in service since he's serving in that capacity.”

ikaplan@theeagleonline.com and rsarkar@theeagleonline.com


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