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EXAM: How Title IX changes could help address sexual assualt on campus

Jason Hoffman
Senator Claire McCaskill listens to students, administrators and law enforcement talk about sexual violence on MU's campus.

  Title IX and the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses have been national concerns over the past year. We'll take a look at what inspired lawmakers and school administrators take action against sexual assault on campus and hear how their efforts may not be what's best for students.

Last January, ESPN’s Outside the Lines published a report criticizing the University of Missouri for not reporting the alleged sexual assault of Sasha Menu Courey, a student athlete who committed suicide in June 2011.

Mizzou Athletics called the story “skewed and unfair” but the university board of curators almost immediately took action and approved an independent law inquiry to investigate whether MU had violated Title IX regulations.

Title IX is a federal law originally passed in 1972. It is best known for requiring gender equity in all educational programs that receive government funding. But the law also requires schools to investigate all reports of sexual assault.

Shortly after the investigation was announced, Sasha Menu Courey’s father, Mike Menu, told KBIA he was happy the ESPN report inspired changes.

“It's not our intention to be pointing fingers or bringing anybody down but we're firm in the belief that changes must be done because the system didn't work for Sasha… As a result of the ESPN investigation, all of these investigations have started, and we can only think that these things will be helpful for students in the future.”

Although the independent investigation found that MU did not legally violate Title IX, the university has worked over the past year to better comply with Title IX regulations. This includes the creation of the Title IX coordinator position as well as better informing faculty and staff of their obligation to report sexual harassment and assault.

There is also action at higher levels to address the issue of sexual violence on college campuses. US Senator Claire McCaskillintroduced legislation this summer that would strengthen accountability for faculty and staff as well as better protect students at college and universities.


She visited MU last week to talk with students, administrators and law enforcement officials about the biggest issues regarding sexual violence on campus and ways to improve the reporting process for students.
While university administrators and federal lawmakers say they are trying to do what they think is best for victims of sexual assault, some feel that's not always the case.
KBIA's Jason Hoffman sat down with Kelsey Burns, presentation coordinator for MU's Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center.Burns says she was assaulted her first year at MU but did not report the incident. Now she works to better educate the MU community about sexual violence.

Hope Kirwan left KBIA in September 2015.
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