Civil Rights office will make site visit to campus

Several officials in the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will make a site visit to Iowa State April 20-22 to follow up on a complaint about ISU's handling of a sexual assault allegation made by one student against another.


Here's more information on the OCR visit and sexual assault reports at ISU.

The OCR, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, will determine whether ISU officials handled the alleged sexual assault properly and review university policies and procedures for responding to student allegations of sexual misconduct. Iowa State is among more than 100 higher education institutions under review by the OCR.

The complaint to OCR stemmed from an alleged sexual assault last spring, said university counsel Paul Tanaka. A criminal charge has been filed, and university disciplinary actions are pending in connection with the alleged assault. Because of federal privacy law, the university generally doesn’t comment on specific cases, he said.

During their campus visit, OCR officials will interview those involved in handling the sexual assault allegation and meet with student focus groups.

Individual meetings

The OCR team also will hold open office times April 21 and 22  for individual students, faculty and staff who'd like to discuss civil rights issues. To assure the confidentiality of appointments, a poster board will be set up near the Memorial Union desk, just outside the Great Hall entrance, starting Monday. Each individual will select a card that contains a 15-minute appointment time and location (MU room). 

In preparation for the site visit, the university already has provided the OCR with thousands of pages of documents on prior sexual harassment and assault cases and university policies, procedures and training on discrimination, harassment and violence.

"Iowa State is cooperating fully with the review," Tanaka said. "We believe the alleged sexual assault was properly handled. We have invested a lot of effort in improving our policies and procedures for handling these cases. We have staff that care and diligently follow up. Our records show that we take sexual assault seriously and pursue action against students who violate our policies."