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University of Montana on Track in Meeting Requirements for Department of Justice Agreement [AUDIO]

UM Campus from the M
photo by Natalie Roubitchek

In May of 2012, the University of Montana and the City of Missoula entered into a three-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division over the issue of sexual assaults on campus and in the community.

On Wednesday, November 6, UM’s chief legal counsel Lucy France said the university is on track in complying with that agreement.

“The preliminary report from the independent reviewer who is working with the Missoula city police and the University of Montana gave us a preliminary report, showing that we’ve done a lot of the training, and we’re compliant in a lot of areas,” France said. “We are working on checking off the items that we’re supposed to achieve under the agreement.”

France provided more detail into some of those justice department requirements.

“We have new policies and procedures that are clear and effective, and have widely disseminated them to the campus community, ” France said. “We’ve done extensive training with our employees and are continuing that effort. We’ve launched a survey among the students to assess the campus climate and make sure we serve the student population.”

On May 9, 2012, the Department of Justice and its Civil Rights Division released the results of a lengthy investigation into sexual assaults on campus and in the community. One of the chief items pointed out in the investigation was that the Office of Public Safety on campus discriminated against women in its response to sexual assault. The report also stated that the office of public safety’s response to sexual assault was compromised by deficiencies in policy, training and practice.

France said the results gleaned from the new student survey will help to determine how successful the university’s efforts have been over the first year of the agreement.

“When we get the results from the climate survey by the students and have that analyzed, we’ll look at some of the recommendations on improving our campus climate,” France said. “For me, that will be really helpful.”

The investigation rocked both the city and the university and drew intense negative publicity from media around the country. The far reaching effects of the investigation have even been partially blamed for a reduction in student enrollment.

University of Montana Chief Legal Counsel Lucy France:

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