Local colleges respond to being part of sexual violence probe - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Local colleges respond to being part of sexual violence probe

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Two Western Massachusetts colleges are among 55 schools nationwide being looked at for possible violations regarding sexual violence investigations.

The U.S. Department of Education said the list they put out on Thursday in no way indicates that the schools are violating or have violated the law.

They said it is to help make the entire process transparent.

On the list are the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College.

UMass told CBS 3 that they are on the list strictly because they are under a review from the department of education's office of civil rights.

They said there has not been an actual complaint filed with the office.

UMass said the review began on June 30, 2011, and has yet to reach a conclusion.

The school released a statement about the list on Thursday, saying in part:

"We applaud the work of the [office of civil rights] and are confident that any information that results from this compliance review will have a direct and positive impact throughout the university."

As for Amherst College, the school said there were reports of an office of civil rights sexual assault complaint in November of last year.

The school said it has a sexual respect website, changed policies and added staff to address the issue.

They also released a statement on Thursday afternoon, saying in part:

"We are deeply committed to meeting all the requirements of federal law and, more than that, holding ourselves to the highest possible standards in meeting the needs of our students."

In all, six of the 55 colleges on the list are from Massachusetts, which is the most of any state.

Along with UMass and Amherst College are Boston University, Emerson College, Harvard College and Harvard University's law school.

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