AUSTIN, Texas — Students at the University of Texas at Austin are calling on the school to change the way it handles sexual misconduct.
Recently, the KVUE Defenders found that several university employees violated sexual misconduct policy but kept their jobs. Students have been protesting for months, saying those employees should've been fired.
Monday night, campus leaders saw and heard firsthand what students think about the university's policies.
"Why are faculty who are found in violation of sexual misconduct policies still allowed to teach at this university?" one student asked.
At the forum, students silently held up signs that read "no" when they didn't like what the university's panel had to say. Eventually, they brought back a chant they first used during protests: "Fire the abusers."
UT President Greg Fenves said he truly wants to hear what the students have to say.
"It will take some time to – to make those changes. But listening to you and your fellow students here has been very meaningful and very important to me," Fenves said.
UT leaders said they're going to take comments from Monday's meeting and consider policy changes. They have also hired a law firm to work on issues surrounding sexual misconduct.
After the forum, Fenves released the following:
"Last night, UT students hosted a forum to discuss sexual misconduct within our community. Many of you showed great courage in sharing your personal stories and asking difficult questions about how the university addresses, and communicates about, instances of misconduct.
Several students said they are concerned about delays in Title IX investigations. I have authorized the Dean of Students’ Title IX Training and Investigations Office to hire two additional investigators to supplement the six that are currently on staff. This will allow the office to investigate complaints more quickly.
I also recognize that we need to move promptly to address the issues discussed last night. Today, I have asked Husch Blackwell, the outside firm that is reviewing UT’s sexual misconduct policies, to expedite its work and provide recommendations by Friday, February 28. The university will review those recommendations, hear feedback and use them to inform our policy decisions.
Thank you to all those who participated in the forum. It was an important conversation, and the actions today are a beginning. We will continue to listen, communicate and work together."
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