An independent review of Liberty University’s Title IX policies and procedures is reportedly finished. But the university has not released the findings or revealed who conducted the review—despite widespread criticism and several lawsuits alleging Liberty mishandled Title IX matters.
Last November, the Liberty board of trustees approved a third-party review. It was to make recommendations for improving its policies and processes related to Title IX—a federal statute that forbids sex-based discrimination in educational settings.
The university recently told local TV station WSET that the review had been completed, and its results shared with Liberty’s board of trustees. But the station reported Wednesday that the university wouldn’t share who conducted the review or its full findings.
A Liberty spokesman didn’t respond when The Roys Report (TRR) reached out.
The university indicated in a statement to WSET that its Title IX program was “generally in compliance,” but the review recommended improvements “beyond what the law requires.” All recommendations were accepted, Liberty’s statement indicated.
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Changes included revisions to Liberty’s sexual misconduct policy; reorganization of the Title IX department and a bigger budget for it; and relocation of the Title IX department to Liberty’s Montview Student Union, according to Liberty’s statement.
Liberty’s Office of Equity and Compliance website shows it published new sexual misconduct and nondiscrimination policies effective October 1. They apparently replaced a single discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct policy that had been in effect since August 2020. New Title IX-related training for investigators was also posted in August this year, too. The university reported providing at least 49 staff or student training sessions in 2021 which covered Title IX or the Violence Against Women Act.
Liberty has faced multiple lawsuits over its handling of sexual assaults. Plaintiffs argued that sex offenses can be considered sex-based discrimination under Title IX.
One of the lawsuits was a class-action filing with 22 plaintiffs who alleged Liberty had created an unsafe environment that enabled on-campus rapes. All but two of the women settled with Liberty earlier this year, TRR reported.
After that suit was filed, the university announced it would spend $8.5 million to install blue light emergency call boxes and nearly 1,000 security cameras on campus—safety measures that students had advocated for years. Thirteen call boxes went online the day before residents halls opened this past August for the fall semester, according to a university press release. WSET reported almost a third of the cameras have been installed.
Two other lawsuits are ongoing, federal court records show. Both were brought by rape survivors who say Liberty habitually weaponizes its student code of conduct, “The Liberty Way,” against students who have been sexually assaulted.
Two former administrators have also sued Liberty, claiming the institution fired them after they reported potential Title IX violations.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education is investigating Liberty for possible mishandling of sexual assaults in violation of the Clery Act, which regulates how sex offense reports are disclosed.
Liberty has more than 15,000 residential students, according to its latest Annual Campus Security Report mandated by the Clery Act. Reports of crimes on the 7,000-acre campus, including sex offenses, are handled by the Liberty University Police Department.
Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.
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