NORTON, Mass. — The U.S. Department of Justice has started an investigation and compliance review of Wheaton’s policies and practices in responding to sexual misconduct, the college’s president said Wednesday.

President Dennis Hanno said in a letter to students, faculty and parents that the department indicated the review is in response to a complaint, but he provided no details.

Wheaton spokesman Michael Graca said that in the past three years, Wheaton has seen a significant increase in the number of reports of sexual misconduct, which includes stalking, sexual harassment, unwanted touching and sexual assault.

Hanno said the first stage of the department’s investigation calls for Wheaton to collect documents on its policies, procedures and alleged incidents for the past three years. He said he is confident the practices of the private liberal arts college meet legal requirements and reflect its dedication to maintaining a safe and secure environment.

“However, we intend to use this review to look for new opportunities to improve the programs and processes we have for creating and sustaining a safe and welcoming environment for all students, faculty and staff,” Hanno said in the letter.

Graca said the college has developed many initiatives using a $300,000 Justice Department grant it received in 2012, including training programs for faculty and students.

Sexual harassment and assault on college campuses have received increased attention in recent years. Hanno said the Department of Education has opened investigations of more than 130 institutions in the past 18 months.

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