Murkowski Condemns UAF Negligence in Sexual Assault Cases

“Students Should Be Assured of Fairness, Justice, and Security on Their Campus”

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski reacted to the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ announcement that it failed to follow the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Title IX guidance in how to handle sexual assault allegations.

“The failure of UAF to follow the federal guidelines regarding allegations of sexual assault has risked students' security and undermined students' confidence that very serious accusations will be addressed as they have a right to expect. I am gravely concerned that these cases were not addressed properly ‎when they first were known, and I strongly condemn such practices,” said Senator Murkowski. “The University has recognized that what has been allowed to happen is not acceptable. I have asked for an update from the University of Alaska system on what has been done to change the process and protocols to ensure the safety of all, and I expect that a fair and full review will bring justice to all of those affected and prevent such failures in the future. This situation will certainly inform my work on the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act."

Background: From 2011-2014, UAF investigated reports of rape, and often took informal action like removing the accused from dorms or campus. Until recently, students were not being suspended or expelled for sexual assault as required in the University’s own student discipline policies, as well as federal guidelines.

In April, Senator Murkowski hosted a roundtable forum with students at the University of Alaska Anchorage to discuss issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, and harassment on campus.