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Oklahoma State University wins Black Hole Award for handling of alleged campus sexual assaults

by Silas Allen Published: March 23, 2013
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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.

OSU has heard criticism from a number of quarters for its handling of the case, including from an independent investigator hired by the Board of Regents for Oklahoma State University and the A&M Colleges to look into the case.

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's response to the allegations was “misguided” and that officials misinterpreted FERPA when they claimed it prohibited them from calling police. The report also concludes university officials didn't break any law in not contacting police.

OSU was nominated for the title by the Virginia-based nonprofit Student Press Law Center. Frank LoMonte, executive director, said it's fairly common for colleges and universities to withhold information with little legal justification for doing so. But in most cases, the information the schools withhold doesn't involve a possible sexual predator.

“It's really, really egregious when the withholding actually puts people in physical danger,” he said. “That was the case at Oklahoma State.”

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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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