MU's Title IX office talks changes as Menu Courey case closed
COLUMBIA - MU Title IX employees discussed future changes in their office and elsewhere on-campus Thursday following the Columbia Police Department's closing of the Sasha Menu Courey investigation.
Since August 2014, there have been approximately 144 incidents, including sexual misconduct, harassment and discrimination, reported on MU's campus. 135 of those incidents fall under Title IX standards. MU's Title IX campus coordinator, Linda Bennett, said there has been an increase in reported incidents.
"The more we reach out to people in all different venues, whether its print or online or face to face, we're providing that culture of this campus cares about the people and they're willing to then be apart of the process."
MU hired Bennett, as well as Title IX investigator, Salama Gallimore, after the suicide death of former MU swimmer, Sasha Menu Courey.
"I think at any point in time we do the best job we can with the information we have," Bennett said. "And, at that point in time, I wasn't a part of the process, but from what I understand since I've been in it, we learn from prior experiences and there was research and studies done that help inform us of these practices."
Gallimore said she thinks MU did everything it could to help in cases such as Menu Courey's.
"The university has really put a lot of time and resources and thought into making these rules and making sure that, should a situation occur like Sasha's and different from Sasha's case and a university employee does find out, I would get that report and I would then meet with Sasha in my office. I would be able to speak to her or any student in her position," she said.
The Title IX office is planning to expand its department in order to better serve the campus.
Bennett said, "We have put in a budget and put in an organizational chart which goes beyond this office. We already are hiring a second investigator. We're looking at the applications at this time so, within the next couple of months, we will have a second investigator in the Title IX office. Then, we're also looking at the new Title IX administrator will come on-board April 20."
The MU Title IX website has more information on reporting cases.