UMass hires private firm to investigate sexual-based misconduct reports | News
AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — UMass Amherst is now hiring an outside firm to conduct a review of multiple reports of sexual-based misconduct involving university students, including off-campus fraternities.
This comes in the wake of recent protests by students outside the Theta Chi fraternity house after allegations spread on social media about sexual misconduct involving the frat.
“I think it’s important everyone is held accountable for their actions,” senior Julie D’Augusta said.
UMass Amherst hired an outside firm, Comprehensive Investigations, and Consulting, to investigate reported sexual misconduct at the university over the last seven years. CIC has worked with local and state agencies on detailed investigations.
This comes after hundreds of students took part in several protests outside the Theta Chi fraternity calling for the frat to be disbanded after allegations spread on social media alleging the frat was involved in a sexual assault.
“I think the student protests were great for demanding action,” D’Augusta said.
UMass Amherst officials had said no witnesses or victims had come forward to back up the allegations.
Students say it’s not just about one alleged incident; other sexual misconduct allegations also involving Greek life organizations have been spreading for years.
“This has been an issue for a long time, and it’s about time the university has really taken a closer look at things,” D’Augusta added.
The university says the outside firm will not only review all reports dating back to September 1, 2014 but will also work with current student groups to understand the climate around sexual assault on campus.
“It might make people feel a little more secure that it’s not internal so they can’t think people are changing things,” sophomore Gabriella Goldin said.
Students say they are pleased with the university’s response and hope this investigation will hold people accountable.
“I feel like everyone is kind of together on this one kind of in agreement that something needs to be done, and I think it’s nice that there’s some kind of move in that direction,” Goldin explained.
The outside firm will also provide recommendations on how to enhance sexual assault prevention efforts and increase reports of offenses.