State News
7:03 am
Mon July 28, 2014

SIU officials discussing how to handle sexual assaults on campus

Southern Illinois University’s President says a report from U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill highlighting sexual assaults on college campuses is prompting additional conversations throughout the SIU system. IPR's Jennifer Fuller reports:

SIU President Randy Dunn says there are mixed messages on how to handle sexual assaults on campus. He says law enforcement agencies have set procedures and policies for investigating, while the U.S. Department of Education has issued a separate guidance letter that schools are expected to follow.

“We’re going to follow what local law enforcement, or the investigative agency, tells us to do.”

Dunn says discrepancies between those policies can cause confusion, something he says all SIU campuses are working to clear up. Interim Carbondale Campus Chancellor Paul Sarvela says they’re starting with education:

“There’s going to be a big fall initiative in training programs, first trying to get the new students trained in a preventive perspective, and then we’ll go back and work with folks who are already here.”

President Dunn says he’s also looking to the Department of Education to make changes to its guidance letter, to better allow campuses to work with their local law enforcers to keep students as safe as possible.