With addition of UVU, 5 Utah colleges now under Title IX investigation

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By Annie Knox

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SALT LAKE CITY, UT (KSL) — Federal investigators are taking up a Title IX sex-discrimination complaint against Utah Valley University.

The civil rights arm of the U.S. Department of Education opened the probe into the Orem college of roughly 23,000 full-time students on Aug. 10.

Such investigations weigh whether colleges have violated the law that in recent years has provided a path of recourse for students who believe administrators mishandled their reports of sexual assault.

The department’s Office for Civil Rights has not released details about the scope of its investigation or what sparked the probe.

UVU is the fifth Utah college to come under Title IX investigation, after probes at Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, Westminster College and Dixie State University were opened. The existing investigations were responses to students’ complaints that their reports of sexual harassment or assault were improperly adjudicated. None has been resolved.

Utah Valley spokesman Stephen Whyte said in an email the school “takes these matters very seriously” and is taking proactive steps.

“UVU is committed to genuine inclusion and providing a safe environment for all,” Whyte said.

With the addition of UVU, the majority of Utah’s four-year colleges now are under investigation. The remaining three that have yet to be investigated are Utah State University, Southern Utah University and Weber State University.

Westminster was the first college to come under Title IX scrutiny in January 2015.

Nationally, of 429 Office for Civil Rights investigations, 78 have been resolved, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education database tracking the cases.