SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) – The University of Utah is under federal investigation for how it handled sexual assault cases in the past so they are making changes.
University Associate General Counsel and Co-Chair of the Campus Safety Task Force Michele Ballantyne says the steps are being implemented and it’s already having an effect.
“We’ve seen overall an increase in the rate of reporting which we see as a positive thing,” Ballantyne told ABC4 Utah News. “We don’t necessarily think that means the rate has gone up but instead people are more comfortable reporting to our Office of Equal Opportunity and having those complaints fully investigated and resolved.”
Now the University is hiring Victim Advocates to work in various departments including Housing and the Women’s Resource Center.
“We also made recommendations for a new website that would really be a central place where people could go in one place and find resources available for victims of sexual assault, for trainings, for general campus safety, sort of a one-stop shopping,” Ballantyne said.
Another change: a new online sexual assault awareness training session.
“We’ll have the training available for students this fall with strong encouragement for all students to take it,” Ballantyne said. “We think its really in their interest to take this training in terms of just the campus climate , and for their own safety and for them to understand what the rules are and what boundaries are appropriate.”
The online training will be available this fall and the University plans to make it mandatory for incoming students and newly hired faculty and staff in the Fall of 2018.