- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri System plans to vote soon on how it investigates sexual discrimination, assault and harassment.

The Board of Curators is expected to decide during its Oct. 2 and 3 meetings on new rules that system President Tim Wolfe proposed earlier this week, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported (https://ow.ly/BQkSq ).

The pending changes would set a tentative 60-day period for the school to investigate sexual harassment or discrimination cases.

Sexual assault, stalking and dating violence are federally prohibited under Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law more commonly known for ensuring equal gender participation in college sports.

Missouri’s athletics department has been involved in the Title IX controversy. Former running back Derrick Washington in 2011 was sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting a former athletic department tutor, and others made assault allegations against him before the legal proceedings.

And an outside review ordered by the school into the alleged off-campus rape of a former swimmer by several football players in February 2010 faulted the university’s response and determined that the school’s Title IX coordinator and local police should have been alerted to Sasha Menu Courey’s claims in November 2012 after a public records request by her parents produced documents alluded to a possible attack.

Wolfe 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 excluded from the order.

The proposed rule changes would require employees to promptly report Title IX violations to the campus coordinator, though university system spokesman John Fougere said the details of what constitutes prompt reporting are still being worked out.

Those who violate Title IX could face penalties ranging from a reprimand to expulsion if found guilty during an investigation. 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.

Faculty council chairman Craig Roberts said faculty members understand the urgency of approving the proposed rules but would still like time to discuss the changes. He said they have taken the university’s current rules “very seriously and have contemplated them over years and years.”

Roberts said if the proposed rules are approved, faculty will still want to closely examine them.

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