Firm Selected to Audit Texas A&M's Sex Assault Process

Texas A&M University selected a Missouri-based firm to conduct an audit of its Title IX sexual assault processes after receiving criticism for its handling of allegations.

University president Michael Young announced Thursday that Husch Blackwell LLP will review how the school investigates sexual assault allegations and shows sensitivity to trauma, The Eagle reported.

The review will "test every step of our processes for safety, support, sensitivity, timeliness and fairness to all involved that meets the highest standards," the university said.

Several current and former female students came forward this month after student Hannah Shaw publicly accused the university of not doing enough to punish her alleged assaulter. The Associated Press typically does not name victims of sexual assault, but Shaw has come forward publicly to several media outlets.

Shaw had posted on Twitter on June 7 that her alleged attacker was allowed to rejoin the university's swim team since being found responsible for sexual abuse in a 2016 Title IX ruling.

He was suspended for one semester. No criminal charges were filed against him.

"It just seems like the school did very little," Shaw had said. "He basically took a semester off and there was no real punishment."

In the wake of the criticism, the university sought input from students, faculty and sexual assault survivors on how to improve its process for handling assault allegations. Suggestions included providing help with navigating the investigative process and more distributed information of available resources.

The university is also meeting with a group of current and former student survivors, called the Twelfth Woman, to discuss policy changes.

"We want victims to be treated with dignity and respect during the most vulnerable moments of their lives," the group said in a statement. "Texas A&M is not doing that when they excuse away the behavior of predators. They're not doing that when they make victims go through the humiliating process of reporting their assaults, only to be blamed, ignored, or outright silenced."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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