Subscribe for 17¢ / day

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom and his top administrators will meet with the Missoula community Tuesday evening to discuss the ongoing investigation into sexual assaults on and off campus.

Engstrom will make a statement, then will open the floor to questions from the public, UM vice president Jim Foley said Sunday.

“This will be a community forum on the investigation,” Foley said. “We won’t get into specific details or names involved, but we might be able to clarify some things.”

“The president will answer questions and will have members of the cabinet available to answer questions and do follow up as needed,” he said.

In December, UM commissioned an investigation by former Montana Supreme Court Justice Diane Barz after allegations surfaced that two female students had been drugged and gang-raped by male students. Her report was originally expected within two weeks, but the investigation was expanded to include other alleged incidents.

Barz gave university officials a preliminary report at the end of December and indicated that the full investigation could take two months. Her work continues, Foley said Sunday.

In her preliminary report, Barz said “there is evidence of nonconsensual sex that is not being reported in the university system” — and that UM “appears to have a gap in reporting sexual assaults.”

“There is evidence that there has been a sexual assault that has not been appropriately reported and investigated,” she said.

Since UM hired Barz, several female students and former students have come forward to report alleged rapes that were not part of the original scope of the investigation. Some of the allegations involve UM football players, while others involve nonathletes.

UM football player Beau Donaldson has been arrested and charged with sexual intercourse without consent for an incident that allegedly occurred in September 2010. UM and Missoula police have refused to say whether that arrest was prompted by the university’s investigation.

Barz has said the investigative team has interviewed “students, coaches, student-athletes, administrators and members of the public” about incidents that allegedly occurred both on and off campus.

Federal Title IX regulations, under the Office of Civil Rights, mandate that universities receiving federal funds investigate allegations of sexual assault on campus or at university programs.

The community forum Tuesday is open to all and begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 200 S. Pattee St., in parlors C and D. Foley said Tuesday night’s community forum likely will last one hour.

He said it’s unlikely that Barz will be at the meeting, because her investigation is not yet complete.

 

0
0
0
0
0