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UConn Makes Changes in Wake of Sexual Assaults

Chion Wolf

University of Connecticut president Susan Herbst said the school has made significant changes to better prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus.

In an email sent on Thursday to the university community, Herbst announced the formation of a Title IX investigative team to focus exclusively on investigating complaints of sexual harassment. She said the school's police department also has formed a special victim's unit to respond to all reports of sexual violence.

From the email:

The UConn Police Department is another essential partner in our efforts to prevent sexual violence and to respond effectively when incidents occur. In the last year, our UConn Police Chief Barbara O’Connor created a Special Victims Unit (SVU) to respond to all reports of sexual violence that take place on campus. An officer from the Special Victims Unit is assigned as the primary contact throughout the investigation. While all officers have received training on responding to and investigating these serious crimes, our SVU officers have received additional trauma-informed investigative training.

UConn also announced the hiring of a new dean of students and an assistant dean for victim support services, and added counseling and mental health staff.

During the summer, UConn agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit by five women who alleged the university did not take seriously their claims of sexual assaults on campus.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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