Department of Education Concludes that San Francisco Conservatory Mishandled Sexual Assault Investigation

By Francisco Salazar

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has concluded that the San Francisco Conservatory of Music mishandled a sexual assault investigation and violated its Title IX obligations to prevent gender discrimination on its campus.

The conclusions were made after the OCR investigated the university’s handling of a 2022 incident in which a female student accused a male student of sexually assaulting her twice, stalking her, and then violating an Active Avoidance Order.

OCR investigators determined that the university failed to preserve the accuser’s equal access to classes, performances, and educational programs. It also said that the university “failed to notify the involved parties in writing of the Title IX grievance process or the full scope of the allegations being investigated” and “failed to offer the parties an opportunity to review the evidence included in the investigative report at least 10 days prior to its completion”

Following the investigation, the university and the Department of Education reached a resolution agreement that requires SFCM to review its Title IX grievance processes and issue new guidance to staff who respond to complaints of sexual assault and harassment. SFCM will also reimburse the student for up to $5,000 in counseling and medical expenses and will also allow the student to retake any classes in which her grades were negatively impacted by the incidents.

In a statement, SFMC said, “The Conservatory is committed to maintaining a safe and secure learning, teaching, and performing environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member of its community.”