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UT Austin pledges to evaluate handling of sexual misconduct reports

A letter sent to the UT community on Thursday said the school will soon hire an external team to examine how it handles allegations of sexual misconduct.

AUSTIN, Texas — A letter sent to students and other members of the University of Texas at Austin community on Thursday said the school plans to hire a team to evaluate how UT handles allegations of sexual misconduct. 

The letter from President Gregory Fenves references how students have recently called on UT to evaluate its policies surrounding sexual misconduct. 

RELATED: UT students stage sit-in protest on campus

That team of outside experts will examine the school's procedures and add clarity to the process of reporting sexual misconduct, according to the letter. 

Fenves also said in the letter the school will call on the UT community to provide feedback about the process. 

"To supplement this review and strengthen our evaluation efforts, the university is also assembling a working group of faculty members, staff members and students – including those who participated in last week’s meeting – to provide internal perspectives and analysis," Fenves said. 

Fenves also said the university recently approved hiring three more investigators in the Office for Inclusion and Equity, which will double the investigators responsible for looking into complaints against faculty and staff members. 

RELATED: UT Austin investigating after professor accused of sexually harassing students

The letter comes in response to another note sent last week after students protested outside Fenves' office to express frustration over how the school handles sexual misconduct among faculty. 

"The University of Texas at Austin is committed to protecting the safety of all students and community members," Fenves said in the letter. "When we receive allegations of misconduct, investigators review all the information they receive, and the university strives for an equitable outcome that respects due process and the safety of our community."

RELATED: Austin American-Statesman sues UT for refusing to release sexual misconduct records


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