University to review its handling of sexual violence reports

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Administrators say they will be reviewing policies and procedures for investigating sexual violence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — action that students and staffers have been seeking for months.

Administrators will be forming the Title IX Collaborative, a working group that will include members from 25 campus organizations. It will work in an advisory role to UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green.

Wednesday’s announcement that an advisory committee will be formed was called a good first step by members of Dear UNL, a campus group that includes students and staffers. But some members also said the university plans don’t reflect the group’s recommendations.

According to Dear UNL, on June 10, 2019, the group met with Chancellor Ronnie Green and Chief of Staff Mike Zeleny, to discuss ways in which the University’s current sexual misconduct responses and practices may violate Title IX law and could retraumatize survivors of campus sexual assault.

Dear UNL created and shared a list of “demands,” as the group called their recommendations, to the University of Nebraska. These points outline specific action items that UNL’s central administration can take to structurally and culturally reform the Title IX office in order to fulfill Title IX guidelines and ensure every member of the UNL community is safe.

Demand One: ACCOUNTABILITY

Accountability in the form of creating an Oversight Committee for the reporting process that prioritizes student and survivor feedback about how UNL addresses and responds to sexual misconduct cases and to provide a set of checks and balances for the Title IX office.

Demand Two: TRANSPARENCY

More transparency in the execution of Title IX processes, along with the processes of all other relevant campus departments, including but not limited to University Health Center, University Police Department, Residential Life, and Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Demand Three: STAFFING

Additional staff must be hired in order to handle cases of sexual misconduct and expand current resources for survivors.

Demand Four: SURVIVOR SUPPORT

A stronger investment is needed into the support of survivors of sexual misconduct at UNL, including the expansion of survivor accommodations/modifications and support resources.

Demand Five: TRAINING

A more comprehensive, trauma-informed training program for all persons involved in the Title IX process so that they have an adequate understanding of the dynamics of sexual misconduct, the effects of trauma, and how to appropriately interact with survivors of sexual misconduct.

The group has complained to administrators and the university Board of Regents that the university’s Title IX office inadequately addressed their complaints of sexual assault or harassment. (The Title IX office investigates allegations of sexual abuse on campus.)

You can learn more about Dear UNL on their website.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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