- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on a federal investigation into the University of New Mexico’s handling of sexual assault reports (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

The University of New Mexico and federal officials will meet soon to determine how to properly address student reports of sexual assaults.

A U.S. Justice Department investigation found the school failed to comply with federal laws aimed at protecting women on campus.

U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and university President Robert Frank said separately that a meeting is the next step to reach an agreement on implementing federal recommendations from the 16-month investigation. The meeting has yet to be scheduled.

The department says it reviewed thousands of documents and conducted more than 50 interviews with students, staff, parents and others before releasing findings Friday.

Frank has criticized how the government approached the investigation but says the school is still reviewing a letter outlining the report’s findings.


2:45 p.m.

The head of the University of New Mexico is criticizing how the U.S. Justice Department approached an investigation that found the school failed to follow federal law in handling sexual assault and harassment claims.

School President Robert Frank says the department report released Friday relied on an unscientific approach to collecting data. He also objected to conclusions that the school has a hostile campus.

Federal officials say the university must do more to address and respond to sexual harassment, which creates a hostile environment.

The department says it found that students, faculty and staff didn’t understand options for reporting assaults or where to turn for help.

Frank says the 16-month investigation didn’t take into consideration “very intense efforts” in recent years to improve how officials respond to sexual assault reports.


10:30 a.m.

The U.S. Justice Department says the University of New Mexico has failed to comply with federal law in its handling of sexual assault and harassment claims.

The department sent a letter Friday to the university’s president with findings from an investigation launched in December 2014, when the federal government urged colleges nationwide to improve the way they respond to allegations of sexual assault.

The agency says it found that University of New Mexico students, faculty and staff didn’t understand options for reporting assaults or where to turn for help.

Federal officials also said students expressed in focus groups and interviews that they were reluctant to report sexual assaults because they lacked confidence in the school’s response.

A spokeswoman says the school is reviewing the report and will respond later Friday.

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