Source: Rachel Axon / USA Today
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation of Florida State University into whether its handling of the Jameis Winston rape allegations violated Title IX laws, according to a letter confirming the decision that was obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
An FSU student said she was raped by Winston on Dec. 7, 2012. Deadspin reported Thursday that school officials met with Winston in late January to discuss the alleged assault. But as it attempts to comply with Title IX, the school might have further violated the law. Both a lengthy delay in conducting the investigation and a meeting only with Winston contradict guidance given to schools in 2011 by OCR.
Sexual harassment and violence are considered forms of sex discrimination under the 1972 federal law, which requires colleges and universities that receive federal funds to investigate claims of sexual assault and provide a timely and impartial grievance procedure to resolve those claims. Non-compliance with the law can result in the department revoking federal funding, although that has never happened.
Florida authorities announced on Dec. 5 that Winston would not face criminal charges, but an OCR investigation will put the case back in the spotlight. The woman filed her complaint with OCR in early March, 16 months after she reported the incident.
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