The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is investigating whether the University of Michigan failed to promptly respond to an alleged 2009 rape of a student involving a football player, The Detroit News has learned.

The investigation is prompted by two complaints, including one filed last year by Doug Smith, a former U-M pathologist who has been among the loudest voices demanding that the university investigate the alleged rape. Former kicker Brendan Gibbons was arrested in the case but not charged.

Notice of the federal inquiry comes as a demonstration will be held on campus Tuesday by students upset by the administration’s handling of sexual violence cases.

U-M officials said they stand behind their actions.

“We’re very proud of our student sexual misconduct policy, our prevention efforts and our programs to support survivors of sexual misconduct,” said Rick Fitzgerald, U-M spokesman. “We will fully cooperate with the Department of Education and we believe that a review of our policy, programs and investigations will conclude that the University of Michigan is doing what it should in this important area.”

Smith filed a complaint last year with the Office of Civil Rights, saying that U-M refused to investigate the case and that the university’s grievance procedure does not fully comply with Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on gender.

Smith was notified of the investigation, which will be combined with another complaint, via email late Monday.

Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education, confirmed Tuesday morning that the Office for Civil Rights is investigating a Title IX complaint involving U-M.

According to the letter sent to Smith: “(The Office for Civil Rights) has determined it is appropriate to proceed to investigation on the following issue: that the University failed to promptly and equitably respond to complaints, reports and/or incidents of sexual violence of which it had notice, and, as a result, students were subjected to a sexually hostile environment.”