UMass Amherst students discuss school’s efforts on recent sexual assault reports

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass Amherst has hired an outside firm to conduct a review of reported sexual-based misconduct at the university. 22News spoke with students about the administration’s new efforts, and students are happy that the school has hired outside help, but they wish it had happened sooner.

“It’s crazy because I expected my school to respond to the needs of students, not at the need of publicity,” said UMass Amherst student Olunshola George.

Student protesting outside the Theta Chi Fraternity last month, accusing members of sexual assault, has led UMass Amherst to hire an outside firm to investigate reports of sexual misconduct.

In a statement, the Chancellor said the hiring of the firm, “represents one aspect of the promise I made at last week’s campus forum to take meaningful steps to thoroughly address issues related to sexual misconduct…”

UMass Amherst student Alissa Lomax told 22News, “I think they’re responding a little late if you want my honest opinion. It’s been a little while, but I think it’s good they’re finally hiring people to look into it, though I think they should have been a little more active in their response.”

This is the second outside firm to be hired by the university in recent weeks. The other investigation involves racist emails sent to black student organizations on the UMass Campus.

Students say the response time to handle that situation was also too slow. “As a BMCP, one of the black orgs, I feel like they should have communicated more, early on. It took too long for them to communicate, honestly,” said George.

That firm will be investigating sexual-based misconduct going back seven years, which is the amount of time Title IX mandates records be kept.

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