LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The University of Southern California (USC) and Occidental College were named among 55 colleges and universities currently under investigation for their handling of sexual abuse complaints, federal officials announced Thursday.
The move by the U.S. Education Department – which the Associated Press described as unprecedented – is part of an overall effort by the Obama Administration to increase transparency and “spur community dialogue,” according to Catherine E. Lhamon, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for civil rights.
A designation on the list in no way indicates “at this stage that the college or university has violated the law,” Lhamon said.
Nearly a dozen current and former students at Occidental College reached a financial settlement with the Department of Education last year over claims that school officials failed to respond adequately to reports of sexual assaults or protect students.
USC officials revealed last fall that they had also under-reported the number of sexual assault cases in 2010 and 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported.
KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports some USC students were supportive of the Education Department’s efforts.