The institution has affirmed its commitment to victims of sexual assault, collected resources online, updated its procedures, hired new staff members, held a forum, and promoted awareness. Title IX compliance has taken “an extraordinary amount of time and institutional resources,” the university counsel, Madelyn F. Wessel, told its board, estimating the cost at $1 million.
A federal Title IX investigation of VCU not classified as involving alleged sexual violence was resolved in April 2014. It was based on two complaints that the university had responded inadequately to reports of sex discrimination, and VCU agreed to revise its policies and procedures, expand training programs, and review past cases.
A state task force in Virginia issued several recommendations in the spring of 2015, including to require public and private colleges to create sexual-assault-response teams, to conduct climate surveys at public colleges every two years, and to develop a state grant program to support research on gender-based-violence prevention. The state legislature also passed two laws, one requiring campus police officers to immediately notify local law-enforcement authorities after opening an investigation into felony sexual assault, and another requiring college employees to report any sexual assault disclosed to them to the campus Title IX coordinator.
After a yearlong effort to bring its Title IX policies into compliance at a cost of about $1 million, Virginia Commonwealth University is again under federal scrutiny for how it addresses sexual violence.
Beginning next week, a student organization will administer a campus climate survey in conjunction with the Wellness Resource Center to gauge how VCU students are affected by sexual assault, how to prevent it and how to respond when it does occur.