The Associated Press reports that President Obama on Wednesday will launch a initiative aimed at combating sexual assault on college campuses, three months after several UConn students filed a federal discrimination complaint that accuses the school of inadequately investigating and responding to reported rapes and sexual assaults.
The president is creating a task force that will study how universities can take measures to prevent and respond to sexual assault. The administrative panel also will focus on how each institution has addressed the issue in the past, and develop ways the federal government can hold schools accountable for their track record.
The Title IX complaint filed against UConn last October includes allegations that perpetrators’ sanctions were lifted and that university police shrugged off complaints and questioned the credibility of victims of sexual assault. A fifth student since has joined the plaintiffs. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for the plaintiffs who suffered as a result of UConn’s “deliberate indifference” to the issue, and asks the court to order UConn to revise its policies and procedures.
Sen. Blumenthal praised the president’s action on the issue, and said in a statement, “sexual violence is not a women’s issue; it is a societal issue. Particularly significant in this call to action is engaging men as ‘influencers’ of other men – role models leading by example to discourage and deter sexual assault and violence.”
At the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees meeting this morning, chairman Larry McHugh stood behind University President Susan Herbst and promised a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding sexual harassment on campus:
The university will re-evaluate policies and procedures, McHugh said, promising to repair weaknesses. “We have great confidence in the important steps that have been undertaken by President Herbst:”
Herbst said her previous comments about the women who have come forward with complaints were “misunderstood:”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Thursday that he “absolutely” supports a request from Republican lawmakers to hold a public hearing on sexual assault prevention and response at the University of Connecticut.
The governor also expressed empathy for a group of women who filed a federal discrimination complaint that accuses the school of inadequately investigating and responding to reported rapes and other sexual assaults on campus.
“As a parent and someone whose wife spent years working with victims of sexual assault, my heart goes out to the women that came forward this week,” Malloy said. “One of the most basic responsibilities of our institutions of higher learning is to keep our young people safe. If they have failed in that responsibility in any way, or if any victim of sexual assault has been treated with anything but the utmost respect, I will be outraged.”
In the wake of controversy over salaries and compensation at the University of Connecticut, the school’s board of trustees commissioned a careful look at what people make at the state’s flagship school.
The Special Committee on Compensation’s report, which includes recommendations from Sibson Consulting. Kathleen Megan will have more later, but here’s an important finding:
Seeking to close a growing budget deficit in a sluggish economy, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered $170 million in cuts Wednesday that will reach virtually all major state agencies.
Those cuts will reduce the state budget deficit by $123 million because the other $47 million in reductions had already been planned as part of the overall budget.
While agencies from the Department of Social Services to the University of Connecticut are being affected, the cuts Wednesday represent only the first round of reductions. They also represent the traditionally easiest items to cut. The pain, lawmakers say, is down the road as Malloy and the legislature try to close the full $365 million gap in the current fiscal year and nearly $1.2 billion in the fiscal year that starts on July 1.
The cuts Wednesday hit more than 275 different programs in a wide variety of services, including $2 million from magnet schools and $1 million from priority school districts that have been underperforming. The overall education cuts at the elementary and high school level is $8.426 million, including $1.1 million from the regional vocational technical school system.
Malloy is sensitive about cuts to education because he pushed for reforms of the public schools. Some of those reforms were heavily watered down to the point that some Republican Senators voted against them. The overall votes, however, were overwhelmingly in favor of the final bill. It passed unanimously in the House and by 28 to 7 in the state Senate.
The cuts are necessary because state tax revenues are coming in slower than expected. Malloy says that the Christmas shopping season will be an important barometer of the state economy and the state budget. If Christmas sales are better than expected, the state will be collecting more money from the 6.35 percent sales tax. If the stubbornly high unemployment rate continues, more workers will be out of jobs and they might spend less money on Christmas presents. Those questions will not be fully answered for about a month.
The cuts also include about $1.5 million for the board and care of foster children to $55,000 for family violence outreach and counseling. Continue reading →