The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

May 3, 2014

WVSOM faces federal investigation

LEWISBURG — The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine was identified on a list released Thursday as one of 55 schools nationwide facing federal probes into allegations they failed to comply with regulations regarding sexual violence and harassment complaints.

WVSOM is the focus of an investigation into allegations that it mishandled a 2012 sexual misconduct report, a school spokesperson confirmed. The alleged incident occurred off-campus, according to Denise Getson, WVSOM’s director of marketing and public relations.

“This is the only Title IX issue of which we are aware,” she said.

“WVSOM conducted a thorough internal investigation at that time (2012) and collaborated with local authorities on their investigation of the alleged incident,” Getson said.

Lewisburg Police Chief Tim Stover said one of his officers investigated the alleged incident and charged the suspect in the case with two counts of harassment but did not pursue an assault charge. Stover said he is not aware of how the harassment charges were resolved.

Greenbrier County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick I. Via did not immediately return a message left at his office Friday seeking information on the status of the criminal case.

“WVSOM takes seriously any allegation of sexual misconduct,” Getson said. “Student safety is of paramount importance to everyone at WVSOM, and we have implemented a number of programs, procedures and security measures to make our campus a safe place.”

WVSOM has no on-campus housing. Students reside off-campus in the Greenbrier County area during their first two years of study and, in the third year, may travel to a statewide campus location to begin clinical rotations.

Schools named on the list that was released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) are being investigated by that agency for possible violations of Title IX. The 1972 law best known for prohibiting gender discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funds also regulates how schools deal with reports of sexual violence and harassment.

This marks the first time the Department of Education has issued a comprehensive list of the campuses that are under review by OCR for possible violations of the law’s requirements regarding sexual violence responses.

“We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said. “We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue.”

Lhamon added that the fact there is an investigation of a particular college or university should not be taken as an indication that the institution is violating or has violated the law.

When an investigation concludes, the Department of Education will disclose — upon request — whether OCR has entered into a resolution agreement to address compliance concerns at a specified school or found insufficient evidence of a Title IX violation there.

Getson said WVSOM officials believe they are in full compliance with federal regulations.

“We are cooperating with the Department of Education and believe the OCR review of our policies, programs and investigations will reveal that WVSOM is fully in compliance with Title IX regulations,” Getson said.

WVSOM conducts annual mandatory Title IX training for all students and employees, Getson said. The procedure and forms for filing a complaint are detailed on the school’s website.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Local News
  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday. The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.


    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.


    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years.  Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day. A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • derby dames Beckley area Derby Dames to host WFTDA team Aug. 9

    The Beckley Area Derby Dames will face off against a WFTDA-certified team, the Harrisonburg, Va., Rocktown Rollers, Aug. 9 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • phil roop Artisans show off skills at String Band Festival

    The Appalachian String Band Festival celebrates the music of the mountains each year.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Calendar — Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

    August 1, 2014

  • VA clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    August 1, 2014

  • Beckley festival seeking vendors

    Taste of Appalachia is seeking restaurants, vendors, organizations and churches to participate in the Aug. 23 event. 

    August 1, 2014

  • 080114 FRI TWV multitalented teen.jpg Only 13, Shady Spring and TWV teen has big resume

    Well-rounded is an understatement for 13-year-old Rachel McNeel. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo