Title IX Investigation Launched on BYU

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PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Students at Brigham Young University know about the Title IX investigation but they believe their university is making the right steps for victims of sexual assault. 
 
The U.S. Department of Education launched the investigation after it received complaints a sexual assault case was mishandled by BYU.
 
The University is 1 of 3 Utah schools being investigated for Title IX infractions. As of July 27, 2016, 260 sexual violence cases are under investigation at 202 post secondary institutions. 
 
Students said they know BYU cares about women and that no sexual assault will go unnoticed. 
 
“Sometimes people don’t realize the resources they have and making sure those are public and well known. It’s something that is important,” said fifth year student Mckell Sundred.
 
One of those resources is the Title IX feed back website the president of BYU had set up.
 
In an interview with the University spokesperson Carri Jenkins, President Kevin J. Worthen of BYU said, “First and foremost our primary concern is the safety and well being of our students. That is particularly true of our students who have been victims of sexual assault.”
 
On the site you can submit anonymous reports, make a Title IX report and give basic feedback on how the university should use the information. 
 
“I think it’s kind of tricky because it’s kind of something that like, not a lot of people, like, want to bring out and make really public. So having something they can fill out online is kind of nice. That way it keeps it confidential,” said Sundred.
 
The website comes after a complaint filed by student Madi Barney. Barney claims the schools Title IX Office used information in a police report to say she broke honor code. 
 
In April, Barney sat down with Good4Utah’s Kim Fischer where she said, “They looked at that, read all these disgusting things then threatened to kick me out of school.”
 
Barney’s classes have been put on hold pending an investigation by the school.
 
“I just think that they should be extremely ashamed that as ‘the lord’s university’ that they’re treating people in such an un-christ-like manner,” she added. “They are being complete hypocrites saying we uphold this standard of honor but what they did is took a police report in retaliation against me.”
 
President Worthen added in his BYU interview there will be a system students can trust on campus and there is zero tolerance for sexual assault at BYU.
 
“We are not perfect,” said the president. “We don’t claim to be perfect. We can be better. This is important enough that we owe it to the community.”
 
BYU is not the only school being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education for Title XI infractions. Westminster College is being investigated for a January 2015 incident and the University of Utah is being investigated for an incident that happened on June 23, 2016.
 
In a statement provided to Good4Utah Westminster College stated:
 
“We are currently awaiting the OCR findings and are committed to having a robust Title IX program. Since the visit, we have continued to ensure our Title IX investigators receive intensive training; We have worked to make our training for students, faculty, and staff more interactive; and we’ve added bystander training to our courses. We have also reviewed and strengthened our Title IX policies and procedures to ensure they are clear and comprehensive,” 
 
Maria O’Mara with the University of Utah provided this statement on its pending investigation. 
 
“The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has notified the university of an investigation into how promptly we respond to reports of sexual assault. We will cooperate fully with this investigation and will welcome investigators to campus this fall. We care deeply about our students and about victims of sexual assault. It is critical to the university that our students feel comfortable reporting sexual assault through the university process, the criminal process, or both. We know sexual assault is underreported, on our campus and around the country, so we are heartsick to learn that any student felt the process was difficult. We will continue to review and evaluate our procedures to make them more efficient and effective.”
 
Good4Utah will continue monitoring each investigation and bring you the latest once it is available.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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