BERKELEY, Calif.—Federal officials are investigating how the University of California, Berkeley responds to reports of campus sexual assaults.
The investigation began after dozens of UC Berkeley students and alumni filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging the university mishandled campus disciplinary cases involving sexual violence, according to the Oakland Tribune.
The U.S. Department of Education on Friday confirmed the investigation by its Office for Civil Rights.
“This is an important issue,” said Janet Gilmore, a UC Berkeley spokeswoman. “We certainly understand their interest and concern, and we’ll cooperate fully with their investigation.”
In February, six women spoke publicly about the attacks on them and their dealings with the campus disciplinary system. They said they were kept in the dark about the disciplinary proceedings and the university failed to adequately punish the accused.
Across the country, victims of sexual violence are calling on colleges and universities to deal swiftly and fairly with a problem that, according to a White House task force report, affects one in five college women.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating sexual violence complaints at 53 colleges nationally, up from 35 in January.
California’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee is also investigating UC Berkeley’s sexual assault policies.