Arizona State University is among 55 universities and colleges being investigated by the Department of Education over how it has handled sexual abuse reports.

Under pressure from civil rights activists, the department acknowledged the schools face allegations of mismanaging sexual violence cases on their campuses, and are being looked into under a federal act known as Title IX.

Title IX mandates schools to investigate sexual discrimination, including assault. If they don't, they risk losing federal funding.

Jasmine Lester, founder of Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault, said Title IX violations have been filed against ASU since 2003.

She said she hopes "(with) all of this attention...there will be stronger enforcement to hold schools accountable...and to realize that if they're concerned about protecting their reputation, it's best for them to say, 'We're trying everything we can to protect our students.'"

DOE said none of the schools under investigation has yet been found to be in violation of Title IX.

ASU officials issued a statement on the pending investigation.

"Arizona State University takes all Title IX sexual misconduct complaints very seriously, thoroughly investigates them and if violations are found, delivers swift and appropriate punishment," the statement said. "The underlying mater leading to the university's appearance on this list was handled consistent with these standards. As the Department of Education makes clear in its release, a college or university's appearance on this list and being subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates that the college or university is violating the law."