Dear members of the Barnard community,As you may recall, this past spring it was reported that a group of twenty-three students filed a federal complaint alleging that Columbia University and Barnard College failed to promptly and adequately respond to complaints and reports of sexual violence, in violation of Title IX. Earlier this week, we received official notice from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that it will proceed with an investigation related to the one Barnard student named in the complaint. As is common practice, we will not be given details of the complaint.The OCR is currently investigating a total of 94 colleges and universities for similar allegations of violations of Title IX. Our understanding is that OCR's current practice with complaints of this type is to conduct a broad review of the institution's prevention programs, policies and procedures, and education and training initiatives, as well as its handling of specific cases. We are cooperating fully with this review.At Barnard, our policy is, and always will be, zero tolerance for violence or discrimination of any kind. We are deeply committed to maintaining a campus environment that is safe for everyone at Barnard, and work very hard each year to improve existing procedures, resources, and support for members of our community.In recent years, Associate Dean for Equity and Title IX Coordinator Amy Zavadil has been managing the College's many efforts in this regard. Among them, Dean Zavadil has been working with a subcommittee of the Student Government Association to expand education and outreach. Prior to orientation in August 2014, all incoming students were asked to complete an online module about sexual violence and healthy relationships, and during orientation, they participated in a Step Up bystander intervention workshop, along with incoming Columbia students. In addition, last April, students participated in our third campus climate survey, the results of which are forthcoming.As much as Dean Zavadil and others have accomplished, there is always more that can be done. In this spirit, we believe that a review by the OCR can only help our existing efforts. We welcome the opportunity to utilize their expertise and proceed with any suggestions for improvement.At all times, current information about our policies, procedures, and resources related to sexual and gender-based misconduct is available at Please be in touch with Dean Zavadil if you have questions or concerns.Sincerely,Debora Spar