A Title IX sexual assault investigation has been opened at Utah Valley University. Similar investigations are ongoing at three other Utah colleges.
These investigations are handled by the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office. The department doesn’t share details about cases but Utah Valley University has issued a response.
“The University takes these matters very seriously and is proactively pursuing the appropriate actions as prescribed by current policies and best practices," the statement reads.
UVU is one of 254 colleges currently under investigation for possibly mishandling reports of sexual violence. Westminster College, The University of Utah and Brigham Young University are also included on that list.
In response to this uptick, early this year the Utah System of Higher Education reassessed student safety policies statewide.
“An investigation essentially is an opportunity to have another set of eyes come in and to identify areas of concern that need to be addressed and we think that’s a good thing," says Geoffrey Landward, assistant commissioner over policy and law for Utah’s Board of Regents.
Landward says changes have been made to improve training for Title IX officers at Utah colleges to ensure a better response to reports of sexual violence. Schools are also encouraged to be much more proactive in educating their students about consent and appropriate boundaries.
Landward says the goal of a safe campus climate at every state institution will take time and a lot of feedback. And he says every school is on board to make that happen.