UT announces changes to sexual misconduct procedure

UT announces changes to sexual misconduct procedure
Protesters hold up mattresses that say "Stand with survivors"
Protesters hold up mattresses that say "Stand with survivors"

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The University of Toledo announced Monday that students will no longer serve on the Student Code of Conduct panel for any cases involving sexual misconduct.

The announcement came after recommendations from the White House.

In the past, if a case of sexual misconduct went through a hearing at the school, both students and staff sat on the panel to determine whether students were found responsible for misconduct. Students will no longer be a part of that panel.

Instead, a single panel of specially-trained faculty and staff will hear all cases involving Title IX. UT's Student Senate recently passed a measure also calling for students to no longer be included on the panel.

Approximately a dozen UT employees took part in a Title IX training in September, organized by the Ohio Attorney General's office.

“Based on these sessions, it is clear that many of the best practices across the nation are already part of current UT processes, including strong partnerships with external organizations and law enforcement,” said UT Interim President Nagi Naganathan. “However, no process is perfect, and we are always striving to improve.”

UT also announced they have hired a third party to review the university's response to sexual misconduct on campus, and its current policies and procedures.

“I believe this overview is consistent with The University of Toledo's commitment to creating a culture of sexual assault prevention as well as a culture where survivors are encouraged to come forward and are well-supported through medical, academic, counseling, law enforcement and other resources,” said Naganathan.

In September, a UT

with the US Department of Education for how UT handled her sexual assault case.

Students, employees and alumni upset with the way UT has handled sexual assault cases on campus held a protest Monday at University Hall. They say they are not happy with the information and services UT offers to victims. They want to see immediate expulsion to those found guilty of a sexual assault crime on campus, more funding for sexual assault education and prevention programs and an independent investigation on how these situations are handled.

UT alum Lauren Merrell says it is horrible to see that victims don't have the resources they need.

"It's been an incredibly overwhelming sad feeling to know, it also makes you angry because there is no reason why a student on campus should not know where to go or not have the resource," said Lauren.

The group says they have been trying to bring changes for two years now and they are hoping those changes are now here and that this protest will raise awareness.

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