In light of the recent frenzy of media attention surrounding the sexual abuse scandals at Penn State and Syracuse universities, UR President Joel Seligman asked four lawyers in UR’s Office of Counsel to conduct a review of the University’s system in place to guard against similar occurrences.
According to leading attorney for UR and head of the Office of Counsel Sue Stewart, 32 people were chosen who were in a position “to know about past allegations of serious sexual misconduct.”
The Office defined serious sexual misconduct as nonconsensual touching of an overtly sexual nature.
Stewart said the Office contacted people in Security, the Intercessor’s Office, the Offices of the Deans of Students, Human Resources and the Athletic Department, and also reviewed records of complaints to Human Resources and Security from 1990 to the present.
“[Seligman] and I wanted to be satisfied that each allegation had been properly investigated and any actual incidents promptly and seriously addressed,” Steward said of the motivation for the review.
As a result of the review, Seligman issued a statement to the UR community stating that it had assured him that UR has “in place systems and people who will effectively address situations when they are brought to our attention.”
Seligman stressed that the key to the effectiveness of such systems is bringing problems to the attention of those who can investigate and take action.
“We have a clear University policy against harassment and discrimination that governs how investigations of allegations are conducted and who decides whether the incident actually occurred,” Stewart said, adding that the perpetrator will be punished if the abuse is found to have occurred, typically with expulsion.
Both Stewart and Seligman, however, emphasized the need for the UR community to take responsibility in reporting any incidents, either by contacting Security, calling UR’s hotline or speaking with a UR official.
“We do not tolerate or look away from situations of abuse,” Seligman wrote. “We are committed to being the best place to work and study.”
Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.