JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Members of the Missouri House Special Committee on Urban Issues held a hearing on Wednesday to discuss safety on the both the University of Missouri's and Lincoln University's campuses.
During the hearing, a sexual assault that happened on LU's campus was brought up. Rep. Courtney Curtis said he was made aware of a sexual assault that happened on LU's campus and he wants to make sure students are safe.
Lincoln University Police Chief Gary Hill confirmed the suspect connected to the sexual assault has been arrested and is waiting to go through the judicial process in Cole County.
Lincoln University police said that the number of sexual assaults reports have increased by four from 2015 to 2016 but officers believe the numbers have increased because more people are coming forward.
Rep. Brandon Ellington said he believes that a lot of the assaults are not being reported and asked LU what steps they take after a possible assault. The question came after it was revealed that there was no rape kit used in a recent sexual assault investigation.
Rep. Curtis also was upset that UM System President Mun Choi and MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright were not at the hearing to represent the University of Missouri and the UM System. Curtis said he had questions about campus climate and security that he wanted to ask the president. He also said the system failed to prevent a reported rape on the UMKC campus in February. MU Police Chief R. Douglas Schwandt was sent on behalf of MU and the UM System.
"We wanted to make sure we had individuals at the hearing who knew the most about the topics that we were told would be addressed," an MU spokesperson said in response. "Additionally, President Choi and Chancellor Cartwright had prior engagements that could not be rescheduled."
Budgets are tight at both universities, but Rep. Curtis said the state has a responsibility to protect Missouri students.
"No matter what the budget cuts or fiscal situation is we cannot put students in harms way. Period," he said.