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MSU investigated for handling sexual violence complaints

MINOT — Minot State University is one of 55 colleges and universities nationwide under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for possible violations of Title IX federal law related to the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.

The university landed on the list because of one allegation by a former student, according to a statement Friday.

“We are in full cooperation concerning this investigation,” university President David Fuller said in the statement. “We have provided complete information. The Department of Education is checking to see if we are in compliance with Title IX policies.”

Title IX prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funding and guarantees equal access to sports, in addition to regulating how institutions handle sexual violence and harassment complaints.

The Education Department has confirmed individual Title IX investigations in the past, but the list of 55 schools released Thursday is the first comprehensive look at which campuses are under review by the department’s Office for Civil Rights. Releasing the list “advances a key goal of President Obama’s White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to bring more transparency to the federal government’s enforcement activities around this issue,” the department stated in a news release.

The department didn’t disclose any case-specific facts or details about the institutions under investigation, which came about as a result of complaints received by the Office for Civil Rights or initiated as part of compliance reviews.

When the investigation is finished, the department will disclose upon request whether the office reached a resolution to address concerns at the campus or found insufficient evidence of a violation.

The investigation at Minot State University was opened Feb. 26, the Washington Post reported.

No schools in Minnesota, Montana or South Dakota were on the list.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.