Oklahoma State U. Board Will Review Handling of Sexual-Assault Complaints

In November, five male students brought complaints to university officials that a fellow student had assaulted them. By the end of the month, university hearings had determined that four of the complaints were valid, but a police investigation did not begin until December 6, when officers learned about the allegations through the student newspaper. University officials say they urged the students who brought the complaints to contact the police but could not do so themselves because of provisions in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act—a federal law that the Student Press Law Center says colleges abuse as an excuse for concealing information.

Burns Hargis, the university’s president, said in a statement on Thursday that “the seriousness of this matter warrants a focused and full investigation into how it was handled by the university” and that administrators “cannot leave any doubt that we are indeed properly and appropriately handling sexual misconduct allegations.” The review will be conducted by a regents’ task force that was formed in July to review the OSU system’s policies for handling sexual misconduct. The task force was aimed at avoiding situations such as the Penn State University sex scandal.

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