BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Four universities in Colorado are under a federal investigation for how they handled sexual assault allegations.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office is investigating the Boulder and Denver campuses of the University of Colorado, the University of Denver and Regis University. The universities are on the list of 55 institutions with open sexual violence or harassment cases being investigated.
The list came just after the White House decided it’s time to change the way colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault. All the schools in Colorado say they are cooperating with the investigation.
“We were not surprised at that announcement,” CU Boulder spokesman Bronson Hilliard said.
Hilliard says the university already knew it remained under investigation since last year when a female student made a federal complaint that the school took too long to investigate her sexual assault case.
Hilliard says they’ve already taken steps to remedy problems.
“We are staring that problem in the face. We’re not denying it, we’re not doubting it, we are working to change it on this case,” he said.
Regis University issued a statement on Thursday saying that it takes the complaint seriously and that the well-being of students and staff is a top priority.
The University of Denver says its cooperating fully with the Office of Civil Rights and responded to the matter three months ago.
CU Denver says it was not notified about the investigation until Thursday, but says it’s a general review of its Title IX compliance.
Less than 24 hours after the announcement more than 100 CU Boulder students had already signed an online petition asking the school to establish a task force to address problems.
“There should definitely be a more stringent and substantial punishment to acts that are that severe,” CU sophomore Asher Vandevort said.
The Department of Education’s Office won’t comment on the status of the investigations. It says being on the list also doesn’t necessarily mean the colleges and universities broke any laws.