- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri Board of Curators has ratified changes to how sexual misconduct and discrimination allegations will be handled on the university system’s four campuses.

In a meeting in Kansas City, the curators voted Thursday to approve changes suggested last month by President Tim Wolfe, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1viusTN ). Sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and harassment are prohibited under Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law.

The changes would set a tentative 60-day period for the school to investigate sexual harassment or discrimination cases. The new rules also implement new ways to handle students or organizations accused of discrimination.

Wolfe has said he wants the University of Missouri system to become a leader in preventing sexual misconduct on campus. He signed an executive order in April that requires most employees to report violations, though workers with a legal obligation or privilege of confidentiality - such as health care providers, counselors and lawyers - were exempt.

The changes approved Thursday would require most employees to promptly report Title IX violations to the campus coordinator.

The Missouri system has spent more than $1 million to address the issue, including $495,000 for a consultant and $515,000 for the four campuses to begin implementing the changes, university officials said.

Those who violate Title IX could face penalties ranging from a reprimand to expulsion if found guilty. Throughout the process, the victim and accused would each be allowed to have one adviser with them, which could be a parent, attorney or a trained adviser provided by the university.

Wolfe told the curators more than 100 people have received training across the UM system, including Title IX coordinators, deputy coordinators and investigators. Other mandated reporters will be trained in the future.

Wolfe said he has been criticized for moving too fast on the policy changes.

“I will gladly take the criticism if we can save one more person from being sexually assaulted,” Wolfe told the curators.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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