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Sex harassment complaints under Title IX greatly increase at colleges

Complaints filed under Title IX at U.S. colleges increased nearly five times over 20 years, a new study shows.

Title IX is the a gender-equity law used to prevent discrimination at American colleges that receive federal financial assistance. From 1994 to 2014, the number of complaints filed increased by around 1,100 or so, according to an analysis of the Yale study conducted by Inside Higher Ed.

RELATED: Ohio colleges facing new scrutiny for handling of sexual abuse allegations

Kate Van Fossen counts signatures as she and other members of Women Against Violence and Sexual Assault try to get signatures on an umbrella to raise awareness for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) during RAINN Day 2012 Thursday, Sept. 27, on the Miami University campus in Oxford. Staff photo by Nick Graham.
Photo: Staff Writer

Complaints related to college admissions and classes are the most common but reports related to athletics and sexual harassment increased dramatically over the 20 year period the study examined.

The study attributes the increase to a widening understanding of discrimination. Greater access to Title IX information is also thought to be a factor that local colleges have often cited.

Gov. John Kasich in February asked the Ohio Department of Higher Education to review Title IX practices on college campuses after the Larry Nassar case came to light at Michigan State University. The department conducted a survey of all colleges with athletics programs and is compiling the results for future use, officials have said.

RELATED: Local college took on #MeToo decades before a movement went mainstream

There are 18 federal Title IX investigations currently active at Ohio colleges, including seven at Dayton area schools.

With three ongoing probes, Miami University and the College of Wooster had the most active investigations in the state, according to records from the U.S. Department of Education. Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati which each have two active probes.

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