Campus safety concerns need reforms with teeth


Attorney General Andy Beshear announced that his office would seek to intervene in the lawsuit between UK and The Kentucky Kernel, Wednesday, Sept. 7. 

By the Editorial Board

National media have recently been reporting on UK’s recent sexual misconduct debacle, but the university has only addressed the issue many find with its lack of transparency surrounding its investigations and the discipline process for people charged with policy violations. 

Its stance has been against letting the Attorney General or any members of the public review how it performs these investigations. 

But until Sept. 21 the university had not acknowledged how it continues to make settlements with sex offenders to get them to accept sanctions, and ultimately leave UK without any mention of the investigation reaching their future employers, universities or the public. 

“Together, as faculty, staff and administrators, we have a window of opportunity to enact reforms to our system that will better protect our students, staff, faculty and visitors,” Capilouto wrote in an email to campus. “In doing so, we can help lead on a critical issue confronting institutions of higher learning across the country.”

Capilouto still has not talked about the issue of letting people with charges from Title IX leave without telling other universities about the investigations, which survivors talked about in their letters to the Board of Trustees. But the reforms he proposed in his email are meant to address the issues they met with him in person to fix. 

Capilouto met with the Faculty Senate on Sept. 16 and brought up the idea of requiring faculty to sign FERPA forms so UK can receive any investigations before they are hired. In his email to campus a few days later he said the university would require “a questionnaire regarding their past relating to sexual misconduct and research misconduct.”

But because they would still not require the investigations from their past employers and universities, there is no way for the university to check the accuracy of these questionnaires. 

In addition, Capilouto has not addressed the issue of allowing these settlements between the university and the charged to continue. 

In every case where there are charges against a student or employee, the investigation needs to move to a Sexual Misconduct Hearing. If the hearing panel concludes that the accused is guilty of the sexual misconduct charges Title IX has found them responsible for, the only acceptable options for that employee or student is termination or expulsion. 

In addition, these conclusions and the reasons for them need to appear in their files that their next employers and universities ask for. 

This is the only fair option for the survivors and the accused. Settlements require privacy for the offenders and a lack of real justice for the survivors.

Since Capilouto mentioned in his email that the university would be establishing a way to prevent the lengthy and costly tenure revocation process from getting in the way of terminating tenured faculty who abuse the system, the university should have no problem paying for the proper judicial process. 

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