In the Media

George Washington University’s first annual Title IX Office report reveals rising reporting rates, office director says (The GW Hatchet)

Title IX Office releases first annual report
The report details 380 cases of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, pregnancy and parental support and domestic violence.

Extract:

The Title IX Office released its first annual report late last month, detailing a year of reporting rates that the office’s director said took a “notable increase” last academic year.

The Title IX Office registered 380 reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, pregnancy and parental support and domestic violence in the 2021-22 academic year, the majority of which were filed by designated reporters and impacted undergraduate students, according to the report. Asha Reynolds, the director and coordinator of the Title IX Office, said the report – which also highlights victim resources – reveals a rise in overall reports and an increase in community engagement with the office’s reporting mechanisms during the past academic year.

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Ann Olivarius – the chair of the executive committee and an attorney at the McAllister Olivarius law firm who is widely recognized for her work on the foundational Alexander v. Yale Title IX case, the first to find illegal inaction against sexual harassment cases among universities – said GW was “late to the table” in their release of an annual report. She said “perhaps half” of higher education institutions like Vanderbilt and Yale universities and the University of San Antonio already release reports like GW’s.

She said despite allowing for greater transparency, reports that institutions like the University release don’t change the “course of the problem” because they don’t serve as a call to action as much as they protect the reputations of GW and other institutions. Olivarius said until universities are held civilly liable – which requires a party to pay for damages in a lawsuit – they won’t be on the same side of the survivors.

“When institutions have to pay money, the whole world changes,” Olivarius said.