Legal Momentum’s Department of Education complaint against Brown University is currently being featured in a New York Times “Op-Doc” “Brown's 'Rape List,' Revisited.” The short documentary film was made by filmmakers Julia Liu and Alison Klayman, both 2006 Brown graduates. It illuminates how devastating sexual violence can be for the victim, how difficult it is to change the culture of sexual violence on college campuses, and how today’s activism by feminists of all ages may finally result in the changes we need to see.
The film recounts a furor created in 1991, when women at Brown, frustrated by the University’s lack of response to complaints about sexual violence, began writing the names of campus rapists on the walls of a bathroom in the library in order to warn other women away. The film asks whether anything has changed today, as demonstrated by the case of Lena Sclove, Legal Momentum’s client in a federal discrimination charge against Brown, who was sexually assaulted by another student. A Brown student misconduct panel found the student respondent responsible for four counts of misconduct – including sexual misconduct involving physical penetration, violent force, or injury and actions that result in or can be reasonably expected to result in physical harm to a person – and recommended that he be suspended for two years, which would have given Ms. Sclove time to graduate, but a dean who had not attended the disciplinary hearing overruled the recommendation and suspended him for effectively less than an academic year.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced on July 10 that it would open an investigation into Brown University’s handling of sexual violence complaints, adding it to a growing list of more than 70 institutions that are the focus of open OCR investigations. The Title IX and Clery Act complaints, filed by Legal Momentum in May, requested that OCR examine Brown University’s handling of complaints and reports of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, to determine whether Brown has responded promptly and effectively, with particular emphasis on complaints of sexual assault.
About Legal Momentum’s Educational Equity Project:
All students have the right to learn free of gender-based harassment and sexual violence. Legal Momentum’s Educational Equity Program works to protect that right by
educating young women about their rights,
consulting with students and student groups about campus climate and policies,
representing victims of sexual violence in administrative tribunals and courts,
providing technical assistance to schools about campus climate and policies,
training schools and judges to understand sexual violence, and
working with Congress and federal administrators about how to safeguard women at school.
The full text of the complaints can be accessed on Legal Momentum’s web site at: http://www.legalmomentum.org/resources/title-ix-administrative-complaint-against-brown-university and http://www.legalmomentum.org/resources/clery-administrative-complaint-against-brown-university.