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OCR Notification

Published August 10, 2016

The University at Buffalo takes its responsibilities on the issue of sexual assaults on campus very seriously.  Nothing is more important than the safety and welfare of our students.

On May 12, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) notified UB that it is investigating a complaint of discrimination related to an on-campus sexual violence allegation. We’ve also received notice that UB has been added to a list, published regularly by the OCR, which includes more than 195 higher education institutions throughout the nation that have been placed under similar review. 

For the privacy of our students, the University at Buffalo and the Office for Civil Rights will not disclose case-specific facts or details about any ongoing investigation. The OCR also makes it clear that a college or university’s appearance on this list does not indicate that the institution is violating or has violated the law.  

Under federal law, a student who has reported sexual assault and a student accused of a sexual assault both have the right to file a discrimination complaint with the OCR if either party disagrees with the outcome of a hearing, the process by which the complaint was investigated, or any decisions regarding interim measures and accommodations.  

UB provides students with information about how to file an OCR complaint as part of our “Notice of Non-Discrimination” and other policies. The university strongly supports the right of students to have our decisions reviewed by the OCR when either party to an accusation disagrees with a determination.  

We have pledged our full cooperation during the OCR review. The university is deeply committed to providing an exceptional educational experience for our students and a safe environment for the entire university community, and to fair processes for investigating, resolving and adjudicating any claims of sexual assault. Regardless of the outcome of this review, we’ll continue to look for ways to improve existing procedures and resources in order to fulfill that commitment.

FAQ

What does it mean to be on the OCR list?

Being on the Office for Civil Rights' "Higher Education Institutions with Open Title IX Sexual Violence Investigations" list means that an individual believes that a hearing process or outcome did not comply with Title IX.  A college or university’s appearance on this list does not indicate that the institution is violating or has violated the law. Placement on OCR’s list only means that a complaint was filed with the agency, and not that the school was found out of compliance with Title IX.

What is the university’s response to being on the list?

The OCR review will involve an investigation into a student-specific allegation in order to determine if there was a Title XI violation and we have pledged our full cooperation during this review. For the privacy of our students, the University at Buffalo and the Office for Civil Rights will not disclose case-specific facts or details about any ongoing investigation.

UB will remain steadfast in preventing and quickly responding to instances of sexual violence or harassment, and we’ll continue to look for ways to improve existing procedures and resources in order to fulfill that commitment.

What type of policies and programs does the university have in place?

For many years, UB has had sexual misconduct prevention and response programs, policies and practices in place to protect and support survivors of sexual misconduct and to educate our students.  UB’s current policy, "Sexual Violence Response Policy,” along with our “Sexual Violence Victim/Survivor Bill of Rights” and “Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence” is available online at www.buffalo.edu/equity.html.  A list of training programs can be found online at http://www.buffalo.edu/news/key-issues/sexual-assault-prevention.html#AWARENESSPROGRAMMING