The Department of Public Safety is investigating a reported fourth degree assault occurring at Truman State University March 20.
Public Safety Director Sara Holzmeier said DPS received a report of fourth degree assault last Wednesday afternoon. She said they responded by going to the Title IX office in Violette Hall and talking to the reporting party.
After completing the investigation, Holzmeier said DPS will forward any charges with probable cause statements to the Adair County prosecuting attorney for consideration.
The Title IX office on campus is also investigating the incident.
Lauri Millot, institutional compliance officer and Title IX coordinator, said she is not at liberty to discuss the case while her office also conducts an investigation. If there is an allegation of discrimination based on sex that is also a criminal act, then DPS and Title IX can run concurrent but separate investigations. She said the two investigations can share information, but they are separate with different standards of evidence and different processes.
“I’m not going to disclose anything because I have humans involved,” Millot said. “The last thing I want to do is talk about humans in a way that breaches confidentiality, whether they’re employees or they’re students.”
Any time an investigation is conducted, it affects the complainant, the respondent, the workplace and the learning environment, but to what degree, she said, varies. Millot said unless some limitations have been put in place for safety, which are rarely shared publicly, everyone should be going about as usual.
She said the Title IX investigation is a neutral process based on facts from their investigation. She said some investigations take longer than others depending on what is alleged, but the University policy states it should be completed within 60 days. After the investigation, the parties have the opportunity to review the evidence and the investigative report is created. This report then goes to an administrative review panel appointed by the University President, who ultimately makes a decision on whether the non-discrimination policy has been violated.
Millot said in any Title IX case, the confidentiality of the parties involved and the process should be respected. If a student complainant or respondent felt unsafe on campus, Millot said, the law ensures that the University will protect those individuals by implementing interim measures to allow them to continue receiving their education. The process is slightly different for University faculty and staff.
“If it is a staff or faculty member, then absolutely we’re concerned for their safety,” Millot said. “Having said that, they have an obligation to perform the essential functions of their position. In the event that they can’t do that, then we do what we can to work with them, and or if they’re causing the unsafe situation then — and this would be in the most egregious situations — they would be put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”