The University of Idaho Athletics Department inadequately responded to a 2013 sexual assault case involving a football player. That’s the conclusion of an external review released Tuesday evening.
Earlier this year, a former U of I student diver wrote a blog post detailing her own #metoo story when she said a football player sexually assaulted her at an off-campus nightclub in 2013.
At the time of the assault, she to
ld several athletics officials and Athletic Director Rob Spear – none of whom reported the incident to the school’s Title IX coordinator and dean of students as required by federal law. They say they weren’t aware of the new rule at the time.
The authors of the report found that the notice of the policy change was buried in a routine email sent to faculty and staff. They say U of I should’ve highlighted the new policy and should've offered employees training on the change.
"In addition, the lack of training contributed to insensitivity of the Athletics Director; however, he must shoulder some of the responsibility for the manner in which he responded inadequately."
They also say Spear should’ve been more supportive of the victim. Spear was defensive when the victim’s parents questioned him about his response. "...taking an approach that problems resulted from University shortcomings, as if the he or she is separate from the institution, is unacceptable."
The victim eventually found a counselor on-campus and was linked up with other support services a few days after her initial complaint, which could have been more immediate had administrators properly reported the incident.
"Nonetheless, the lack of training and knowledge, as well as the tone taken by Dr. Spears [sic] towards a traumatized student and her family, resulted in the matter being raised five years later and this inquiry."
Spear has been on paid leave since April.
The report found that U of I has since greatly improved their response to sexual assault reports. The university now pledges to hire a new investigator and conduct a campus-wide survey this fall.
The State Board of Education has the report, but hasn’t made a decision on whether Spear will keep his job.
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