UM Board of Curators update on sexual assault, mental health

COLUMBIA, Mo. - On Thursday, the University of Missouri task force on sexual assault and mental health said phase one is complete and phase two is almost complete, but there's more work ahead.

The task force was put together in February. The group was formed on the heels of accusations Mizzou didn't do enough to address a rape claim by former student-athlete Sasha Menu Courey.

"Our limited action today is let's fix what is necessary, let's consider giving the president some executive authority beyond what he already has," John Phillips, an MU Board of Curators member from Kansas City, said.

This past January, an independent investigation said the school didn't adequately handle a sexual assault and mental health case from three years ago.

On Thursday, a school leader said they are making progress.

"As we continue our work, it is important to continue to remember why we are putting our time, talent and resources on matters of sexual assault and mental misconduct. We will continue to promote the university as a place of safety and confidentiality," said Deborah Noble-Triplett, UM System and task force chair.

The resources for handling mental health problems and sexual assault were completed in March. Next is to finish phase two - a review of the effectiveness of those resources.

The school says it continues its effort in becoming a model and example in higher education.

"The next step will be to take a deeper dig at some of the broader issues that may not be clear but still need to be dealt with making this a safe environment in reducing sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual violence here on campus," Phillips said.

Work still needs to be done regarding recommendations of resources, policies and practices for the system and campus - all set to be completed in phase two and three.

The board says this is all a work in progress and it may be only a quarter of the way through.

Board members voted to give MU System President Tim Wolfe temporary authority in this matter till their next meetings on Oct. 2 and 3.

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