GW faced 24 federal civil rights investigations over three years: report

The Department of Education has investigated GW for possible civil rights violations 24 times over the past three years, according to a ProPublica report released Thursday.

Four of the investigations were resolved last academic year, while just one of the 24 inquiries remains open – a probe into GW’s handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints. The investigation launched in August and is the first time the University has been under a federal Title IX investigation since 2011.

Only one investigation over the past three years resulted in corrective changes – a probe examining the accessibility of GW’s websites that concluded in March. Officials launched a task force inspecting the University’s online resources during the course of the investigation and said earlier this month that they are devising new strategies to ensure online content is accessible.

Officials reached an agreement with the Department of Education to make the changes before the federal investigation ended, according to the report.

The ProPublica report is the first comprehensive collection of federal civil rights investigations of colleges and universities after the education department began making ongoing race, age and disability discrimination inquiries public in January. Information about the resolved cases was obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, the report states.

Only three of GW’s 12 peer institutions tallied more than 24 investigations. Georgetown and New York universities were the subject of 25 and 35 probes over the past three years, respectively. The University of Southern California has resolved 46 federal inquiries over the past three years, while five allegations remain open, according to the report.

Northeastern University and the University of Rochester are currently subjects of eight ongoing civil rights investigations each – the highest of all of GW’s peers, the report states.

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