OCR confusion leads to Duke's elimination of sexual assault statute of limitations
- After facing months of criticism from student groups and others for cutting the statute of limitations from two years to one for students filing sexual harassment and assault complaints, officials at Duke University this week eliminated the statute saying it misinterpreted the policies of the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights.
- The confusion stems from an April 2011 "dear colleagues" letter from the OCR that shifted some standards and reiterated the need for universities to "swiftly and appropriately" address sexual harassment under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and many institutions are still trying to interpret the letter and its provisions.
- Duke initially reduced the statute from two years to one to meet the OCR guideline that "adjudicatory standards be the same for students as for faculty and staff," but, following outcry and protest, decided to completely eliminate the statute (though students must still report incidents prior to graduating) instead of reverting to two years because so few cases are reported after the one-year mark.
From the article:
In January, officials at Duke University cut from two years to one the statute of limitations for students filing a complaint alleging sexual harassment and assault. The reason: the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights renewed push on colleges to ensure their policies align with federal expectations. This week, after facing months of criticism from student groups and others, those same officials announced they had completely eliminated the statute. ...
- InsideHigherEd Read More
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter