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OSU announces steps, new office to address sexual misconduct

Posted at 9:41 PM, Aug 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 17:13:03-04

Ohio State University announced steps to address sexual misconduct at the school on Tuesday.

A new, centralized report-and-response office will respond to sexual- and gender-based harassment, violence and other forms of discrimination and harassment, according to the university. The office's resources are available to students, faculty and staff impacted by discrimination and harassment.

"The office provides a dedicated system to assist members of the university community who have experienced, witnessed or are aware of sexual misconduct, have questions about the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy or are seeking more information about resources or reporting options," the university wrote in its announcement.

OSU said the office has an immediate focus on improving the university's Title IX resources. The official structure and nomenclature of the office will be finalized over the fall semester as students, faculty and staff utilize it and its resources and give feedback.

The university is also adding programs and procedures to address sexual misconduct that will begin with the start of the academic year. These include:

  • An online course, now in pilot mode, to provide students, faculty and staff with education in prevention and tools to challenge and report inappropriate and harmful behavior.
  • Opportunities for student engagement in combating sexual misconduct and relationship violence
  • An enhanced sexual- and gender-based harassment and violence website to provide detailed information about comprehensive support services

The university also has a confidential phone line available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at 614-688-3956.

The changes and additions to the sexual misconduct policy come as the university plans to publicize the findings of the weeks-long investigation into football head coach Urban Meyer for mishandling domestic abuse allegations made against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

RELATED: OSU Board of Trustees to meet Wednesday about Urban Meyer investigation