Washington State University and the University of Idaho are among the schools under investigation over their handling of sexual assault cases. Federal law requires universities to investigate reports of sexual violence and harassment, and to take steps to prevent future incidents. The U.S. Department of Education released a list of 55 colleges and universities they say may have broken the law.
In a statement, officials at Washington State University said they believe their policies and procedures are fully in compliance with the law, but they're working with the Department of Education to make improvements.
Across the border in Moscow, University of Idaho administrators said they do take sexual violence very seriously. Bruce Pitman is the dean of students at the University of Idaho.
“We have an extremely well-organized prevention program and an extremely well-organized response to helping students who make reports,” Pitman said.
Pitman says the federal investigation at the University of Idaho was prompted by a complaint in March 2013. It asserted the university did not respond swiftly enough to a report of sexual assault.
The investigation at WSU stems from a January 2013 complaint that administrators failed to adequately respond to several allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
The list of public and private universities under federal investigation did not include any schools in Oregon.
Education department officials note a school's inclusion on the list does not necessarily mean the school has violated the law.
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