The University of Idaho recently became aware of a blog post which described possible mishandling of a sexual assault case from 2013 involving two of our student athletes. U of I commends the blog writer in this case for having the courage to come forward and talk about how she has been affected by the incident she describes and for her persistence in insisting the university address the mistakes we made in how we handled the incident.
We are glad the young woman ultimately found the U of I’s Women’s Center and the Dean of Students office where she received help and support while the matter was addressed. That said, the university acknowledges the matter was initially mishandled. The blog author says she did not feel supported by the athletics department and was given incorrect information about her options under U of I policy regarding sexual assault or harassment. For that we must, and do, express our apology and our regret for making worse an already difficult and personally challenging time for her.
It is, and must always remain, a priority of everyone at U of I to provide a safe and supportive environment where our students can actively engage in the university community. We continue to improve in this regard and offer sexual assault prevention training for all students, staff and faculty. The best possible actions the university can take are those that stop sexual assault or harassment before it occurs.
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All incoming U of I students are now required to complete an introductory training that includes information on how the University addresses sexual assault of a student, including information for students to report assaults as well as numerous resources to assist them in dealing with the event. In addition, at the beginning of each year our student athletes are brought together by the Athletic Department to meet with our Dean of Students and Title IX office and these matters are discussed specifically again, including means for student athletes to report issues through the Athletic Department as well as directly to the Dean of Students or the Title IX officer.
Our athletic coaches and athletic staff are all trained in their duty to report instances of sexual assault or harassment to the Dean of Students or the Title IX officer. All student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff participate in Green Dot bystander intervention training. This training is available across campus for all faculty, staff and students.
However, amid these efforts, we must not overlook the human toll that even one of these events can take on our students. That is why recognizing the courage it takes to come forward and supporting that courage is so important. When we see that courage come forward it makes us reflect and vow to do better.