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New policy requires Oklahoma State University officials to notify police of sexual assault reports

by Silas Allen Published: March 1, 2013

Instead, OSU officials held student conduct hearings resulting in a decision to suspend Cochran from the university for three years beginning with the end of the fall 2012 semester.

Stillwater police opened an investigation Dec. 7, after a reporter from the OSU school newspaper contacted the department with questions about the alleged incidents. That investigation began three and a half weeks after OSU officials became aware of the matter.

Report's findings

During the review, the board hired Dallas-based attorney James Sears Bryant to serve as an independent counsel. The board released Bryant's findings Monday, along with the recommendations the task force prepared before the allegations came to light.

The Bryant report concludes OSU officials' response to the allegations was “misguided” and that officials misinterpreted FERPA when they claimed it prohibited them from calling police.

The report also concludes that university officials didn't break any law in not contacting police about the allegations.

Hargis said he appreciated the task force's work and looked forward to implementing the policies the board adopted. Hargis said he expected the new policy would help guide the university's response to similar situations in the future.

“I think the report and the policy that's been adopted brings great clarity to an otherwise fairly unclear portion of the law,” he said.

During the meeting, board Chairman Andy Lester said the task force took into account the needs of every campus the board oversees. The task force included representatives from a number of disciplines at several of the campuses, he said.

“This was not simply an Oklahoma State University task force,” Lester said. “It was a task force for all of the A&M institutions.”

Although the task force review is concluded, Lester said it's important that board members and officials at each of the colleges and universities in the system continue to examine their policies.

“It's an ongoing process, not just for the board, but for everybody at all of our campuses,” he said. “By the time the ink dries ... we'll need to start reviewing these policies again.” has disabled the comments for this article.
by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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