COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland is facing more criticism about the way it handles sexual misconduct investigations on campus.
They have been criticized for slow investigations and the lack of funding for the Title IX office that handles those investigations. According to End Rape on Campus, a survivor advocacy organization, two victims of sexual violence filed a federal complaint against the university for allegedly mishandling sex assault investigations. They said the complaint was filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The Office of Civil rights has not decided whether or not it will formally investigate the university.
The criticism comes at the heels of a controversy from earlier this year when the director of the university’s Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct proposed a new student fee to help fund the office. The director admitted that the office, which handles sexual misconduct investigations, was underfunded, understaffed and overwhelmed.
On Wednesday, A.J. Pruitt, the Vice President of Student Government Affairs at UMD, told FOX 5 that the university is no longer considering the fee and instead has taken other steps to fix the problem.
“The immediate hiring of a new sexual misconduct investigator for the office, a deputy director and standing review committee coordinator. So those are three brand new positions for the office,” he said. “We’ve also come to the agreement that some sort of independent review of the university’s response to sexual misconduct will occur in the next year."
After meeting with the president of the school, Pruitt believes the university is making efforts to improve the situation.
The University of Maryland said it has not been advised about any Title IX investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.