Pitt State adopts sexual abuse reporting policy

CAITLIN TAYLOR | Collegio Reporter

The sex abuse scandal at Penn State last November
led the Kansas Board of Regents to review
and revise the policy for handling such incidents at
Kansas universities.
Jamie Brooksher, general counsel for PSU, sent
out a notice to PSU offi cials and campus employees
on Jan. 23 stating that the policy had already
been received and implemented.
According to Kansas House Bill No. 2533, each
university must specifi cally address and adopt procedures
for the mandatory reporting to appropriate
law enforcement agencies, of any child abuse witnessed
by staff or faculty. In this House bill, there
will be revisions made and material added to make
it concrete and complete.
“I can’t really speak to the rationale of the
purpose to the new policy because I was not part
of the decision making in either the Legislature or
the Board of Regents,” Brooksher said. “However,
I can imagine they are reacting because the Penn
State situation is so unfortunate. I think people everywhere
feel for those victims and their families.”
Brooksher, in her memo to the PSU staff, states
that it is mandatory for an employee who witnesses
the sexual abuse of a child/minor, while on campus
or at a university sponsored event, to report the
incident to the PSU police, or if off campus, to the
appropriate local law enforcement.
“This is not a policy that PSU would be
required to enforce,” Brooksher said. “If passed,
this would be a state law, and violating it would be
punishable by the court system.”
Mike McCracken, chief of police at PSU, is
happy to see the Board of Regents put this policy
in place.
“I hope it will help people report
any questionable incidents so they
can be fully investigated,” McCracken
said. “And while each incident is
unique, enforcement of this policy
will most likely come from the PSU
administration.”
McCracken says that the role of
the police is to investigate any reports
of abuse made under the policy
and determine if a crime has been
committed.
In the event of a reported abuse,
McCracken says that the process will
be the same as any other investigation.
“We will take the initial report,
conduct a thorough investigation and
determine the facts,” McCracken
said. “Based upon the facts gathered
in the investigation, criminal charges
may be fi led with the prosecutor.
The PSU administration will also
be advised of the facts and make
any decisions relative to necessary
internal actions.”
Brooksher says that other regent
universities have also adopted the
policy, but some in their own versions.
For example, Kansas State
University implemented the policy
by adding on to their current policy.
“K-State just chose a different
way of compliance,” Brooksher said.
“Either way is suffi cient as long as
we have a policy that makes it mandatory
to report.”

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