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More schools from NYS added to campus assault probe

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Eight more colleges in New York State have been added to the federal list of schools being investigated for sexual abuse complaints.  WBFO'S Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says this involves a recent complaint filed against Canisius College in Buffalo. 

This latest complaint, field on December 11, 2014, has been added to on-going investigation launched last spring by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.  The probe has listed more than 80-schools under review for potential Title IX violations.  

WBFO News reached out to Canisius for comment.  The college issued a written response saying the complaint stems from  a 'single, off-campus incident' that actually occurred out of the country involving two-students. Canisius said it has been fully investigated by the college's disciplinary processes.   
WBFO News spoke with UB's Title IX coordinator Sharon Nolan-Weiss who puts this latest round of complaints in perspective.

"Part of this maybe because there has been so much publicity and attention on issues of sexual assault, including from the White House and, of course, Governor Cuomo. I think students are more aware of their rights and the Office of Civil Rights," said Nolan Weiss.    

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
UB students at the North Campus in Amherst, NY.

Nolan Weiss  stressed so far no wrongdoing has been found. "So, at this point, there has been no finding  of wrongdoing against the colleges on the list," stated Nolan Weiss. "The rules are constantly changing and evolving. There's a lot of legislation right now, including the Violence Against Women Act, including new interpretations of Title IX, and including pending legislation as well."
This past fall the SUNY Board of trustees adopted a new policy for dealing with cases and a new state law also requires schools to report violent crimes. 

Canisius stated it 'is satisfied that it has followed proper procedures in all cases, including this latest complaint being investigated. But has no further comment on this matter.   
 The following is the full written statement issued on the complaint against Canisius:

"The investigation of Canisius College by the Office for Civil Rights arises out of a single off-campus incident that occurred out of the country involving two students that has already been fully investigated and adjudicated through the college’s disciplinary processes. A party to that proceeding initiated the complaint with the OCR after the college’s adjudication. Canisius has very stringent student conduct codes and processes for investigating and adjudicating all claims of student misconduct. The college’s processes have been developed in consultation with legal counsel and fully meet the requirements of federal and state law. The college is satisfied that it has followed its procedures in all cases, including the incident that is the subject of this investigation. As this investigation arises out of student conduct and involves legal issues, the college will have no further comment on this matter."       

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