U of M’s Kaler: Faculty and staff must report sexual assault

In the wake of the sexual assault allegations at Penn State University, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has sent a strongly worded memo saying any university employee who “witnesses a sexual assault on campus, or a sexual assault involving our employees on or off campus, is expected to report the assault to law enforcement immediately.”

He says the failures at Penn State “should make all of us in higher education stop and think about our actions if confronted by similar circumstances.”

Some high points in Kaler’s memo:

  • “I write to remind you, emphatically, that any University of Minnesota employee who witnesses a sexual assault on campus, or a sexual assault involving our employees on or off campus, is expected to report the assault to law enforcement immediately.”
  • “Reporting to a University supervisor is not enough.”
  • “You should know that I will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who makes such a report in good faith. It should go without saying that no University program or official is more important than the safety of individuals on our campuses, especially children. The University will support any employee who reports a suspected crime in good faith, no matter how powerful any opposing forces might appear to be.”

And he concluded:

“None of us think that we would ever fail to report knowledge about child sexual abuse, but bright lines sometimes become dim when facts are unclear, countervailing influence is strong, or it just seems impossible to believe. Sadly, the lesson imparted by these events is that it is necessary to act, to report in good faith, and to let law enforcement authorities handle allegations of criminal activity.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Jim Roth on 11/28/2011 - 11:19 am.

    Duh! It’s a sad commentary that people need to be instructed on this.

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