The Education Department under President Donald Trump has been closing Title IX gender-discrimination complaints against universities and colleges at a significantly faster clip than Obama officials, federal data show.
The administration’s desire to more quickly wrap up these investigations, which generally involve alleged sexual assaults on campus, reflects years of protest from universities and some conservative groups that the Democratic administration of former President Barack Obama was using individual assault cases to open broad, yearslong investigations into university practices.
Under Mr. Obama, Title IX complaints that closed between 2010 and 2016 had remained open an average of 150 days. That number stayed fairly constant other than in 2013 when the administration wrapped up cases faster than in other years—an average of 78 days.
In 2017, when Mr. Trump, a Republican, took office, the average length of an open complaint was 88 days. Cases opened in the first four months of this year were resolved after an average of 39 days.
Under Mr. Obama, Title IX complaints ... remained open an average of 150 days. ... Cases opened in the first four months of this year were resolved after an average of 39 days.
Last year, the Education Department under Secretary Betsy DeVos opted to end an Obama-administration practice of broadening individual student’s complaints to look for systemic issues in how schools were handling sexual assault and harassment. Schools often complained the inquiries were excessive or unfair.
That expansive approach meant the department was focusing too much on schools and not enough on students who felt they had been wronged, said Peter McDonough, general counsel of the American Council on Education, which represents university presidents.
Mr. McDonough said the policy under Mr. Obama created a “perception that investigators had to find something…And on campuses, it became seen as a ‘gotcha’ game.”