By Kristen Griffith and Brittany Wilson, The Whetstone
Wesley College was reprimanded Oct. 12 by the Department of Education’s (DOE) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for a Title IX violation that was reported after the college’s investigation of several students accused of sexual misconduct in the spring of 2015.
Four male students were expelled after college administrators discovered a female student had been unknowingly recorded having sex with one of the male students.
One of the expelled students, who claimed he was not involved, filed a complaint to the OCR claiming Wesley did not properly investigate the situation.
“OCR found that Wesley College violated Title IX by failing to provide accused students with essential procedural protections and also by not adhering to its safeguards provided for in its own disciplinary policies and procedures,” DOE’s press release said.
The accused student did not have the opportunity to defend himself OCR said. He was never interviewed, Wesley provided him the wrong policies and procedures, he never received a copy of the incident report and all students were not given the opportunity to provide witnesses and evidence at the hearing.
Sophomore Hakeem Sansbury said the College shouldn’t rush to judge the accused so quickly.
“Being a male at Wesley and hearing that makes me look at Wesley way differently,” he said. “What if that was me and I wasn’t involved? This could have happened to me.”
The OCR also found that the college violated Title IX in several cases from 2013 to 2015 when it “provided no evidence that accused students were interviewed before receiving interim suspensions, some on the same day.”
Wesley agreed to follow the steps necessary to remedy the violations.
A few of those steps include properly completing the investigation of the 2015 incident, publishing an anti-harassment statement, revising their Title IX grievance procedures, providing Title IX training to college community and enhance outreach and feedback for students.
“They should have informed the students about this,” Kenya Gorham said. “They’re quick to hand out a citation but can’t follow procedures. It’s hypocritical and unprofessional.”
Following the public announcement, the college acknowledged its mistakes.
“Wesley College appreciates the insights and recommendations provided by the Office of Civil Rights, and will incorporate them into our ongoing efforts of providing our students and community an educational environment that is second to none,” Wesley College said in a statement.
Kabrea Tyler contributed to the reporting of this story.