The case was opened Nov. 5. The department also opened a case on April 17 against the college.

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The federal Department of Education (DOE) has started a second investigation into a case of sexual violence at Western Washington University.

According to the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the case was opened Nov. 5. The department also opened a case on April 17 against the college.

Western spokesman Paul Cocke said by email that he couldn’t comment on the nature of the investigation because of privacy reasons.

He said OCR investigators were on campus Nov. 1 through Nov. 3 as part of the investigation of the earlier complaint. Cocke said the investigators “held listening sessions and offered private office hours seeking feedback regarding experiences with reporting sexual harassment and sexual violence” at the college. The investigators also sought feedback on the school’s training, policies, procedures and resources for preventing and responding to sexual harassment, he said.

Western is one of four Washington colleges being investigated by the Education Department’s OCR office. Also on the list is the University of Washington-Seattle, Washington State University(WSU) and Whitman College. Two investigations are ongoing at WSU, one case opened in January 2013 and the other in September of this year.

In all, there are 177 sexual-violence cases under investigation at 147 postsecondary institutions nationwide, the education department says. The schools are being investigated for violating the federal gender discrimination statute, known as Title IX.

College students who believe their schools mishandled their allegations of sexual assault have increasingly used the statute to try to get stronger action. That’s led to a backlog of cases, some of which have been unresolved for years.