- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Two Michigan universities are among 55 listed by the U.S. Department of Education as facing Title IX sexual abuse investigations.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Michigan State University in East Lansing are included on the list, which the department released for the first time Thursday. Details about the cases were not released.

A school’s presence on the list does not mean that it has violated the law but that an investigation of complaints is underway, Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary of education for civil rights, said in a statement.

Title IX prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds. It guarantees girls and women equal access to sports, but also regulates how schools handle sexual violence.

It’s being used more often by victims who say their school failed to protect them.

At least part of the investigation at the University of Michigan stems from complaints related to the expulsion of former kicker Brendan Gibbons from the football team for a violation of the school’s sexual misconduct policy. Gibbons hasn’t been charged.

Michigan has been “fully cooperating” with the investigation, university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Thursday.

“They were on campus a week or so ago doing some interviews with faculty, staff and students,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve had information related to the investigation posted on our website since they informed us about the investigation toward the end of February. This is well-known on campus.”

A student government group examined the school’s student sexual misconduct policy and last month determined the university failed to explain a yearslong delay between the alleged incident and Gibbons’ expulsion in December.

Michigan State University’s response to sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints involving students on campus are being investigated by the Education Department. School spokesman Kent Cassella said in a statement in February that the university was cooperating and “responded fully and appropriately to the incidents under investigation.”

The Associated Press left messages Thursday seeking comment from officials at Michigan State University.

Ohio State University, Harvard, Arizona State University and Florida State University are among the other schools on the Education Department’s list.

Some investigations were prompted by complaints directly to the federal department; others were initiated by the department following compliance reviews triggered by other factors, such as news stories, the department said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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