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October 5, 2016

Cornell Faces Fifth Title IX Investigation

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Even after the University updated its policy 6.4 — guidelines for handling issues of discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault and violence — the Department of Education announced that it has opened its fifth investigation of Cornell for possibly violating Title IX regulations.

The fourth investigation of Cornell’s sexual assault policy was launched in August and has yet to be resolved, in keeping with a national trend of proliferating Title IX cases.

These policy changes were designed to ensure a more balanced approach in how the University responds to reports of sexual misconduct, The Sun previously reported. The policy amendment also follows two lawsuits in which students alleged that the sexual assault investigations leveled against them were mishandled by Cornell.

One of the suits was filed by former President of Psi Upsilon Wolfgang Ballinger ’17, who claimed that the University’s “flawed” investigation of his alleged sexual assault of a female student did not comply with state regulation.

Another student, using the name “John Doe,” filed a civil suit in May asserting that Cornell did not allow him a hearing before suspending him in a process he called “arbitrary and capricious.”

Both students referenced the now outdated policy 6.4 in their suits.

The new inquiry into Cornell coincides with investigations of Arizona State University and the College of Wooster by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. At both colleges, open title IX investigations are ongoing.