Elmira College – December 2016
OCR recently released a Resolution Letter and Resolution Agreement in relation to a complaint filed with OCR against Elmira College. While noting in its Press Release that “Elmira College has demonstrated a strong commitment to address and prevent sexual harassment and violence among students, staff and the college community,” OCR found that Elmira’s response to the incident at issue violated Title IX—determining that the college was not prompt in completing its investigation of the incident and providing its findings to the complainant.
OCR determined that Elmira’s response to the incident violated Title IX, in that Elmira took approximately four months to complete the investigation and deliver the outcome of the investigation to the complainant and respondent. However, OCR noted that Elmira conducted an equitable investigation of the complainant’s report of sexual assault, and that the complainant was not subjected to a sexually hostile environment as a result of Elmira’s delay in conducting the investigation.
In reviewing Elmira’s treatment of other sexual harassment complaints from the years 2012 to 2015, OCR identified instances in which Elmira did not complete an investigation when a complainant stated that he or she did not wish to continue with an investigation. OCR advised that when a complainant does not wish to proceed with an investigation, the institution should conduct an independent evaluation of whether it may honor the complainant’s request while “still providing a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students.”