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Education

KU Students Pressure School To Improve Sexual Assault Response

University of Kansas students are pressuring the school to improve its response to sexual assault reports.

More than 200 people attended a forum on the subject yesterday, hours after a student group called September Siblings posted a video telling people that the school is not safe.

The group's effort is in response to recent reports from a university student who said she was raped in 2013 and that her assailant was given a lenient punishment. University officials have declined to comment on the case, which Douglas County District Attorney Charles Bronson is reviewing.

Speakers at Tuesday's forum criticized the university's current approach of emphasizing education about sexual-assault awareness.

September Siblings is circulating petitions asking the school to change its response to sexual assault allegations.

The petition asks KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little's administration to investigate the offices of Institutional Opportunity & Access and Student Affairs, which handles sexual assault allegations. It also demands mandatory sexual-assault training for all students and the removal of all references to "non-consensual sex." And it urges investigations of professors, administrators and students who remained at the school after they were accused of sexual assault and harassment.

Gray-Little and Provost Jeff Vitter met with several student leaders last week to discuss the issue. The chancellor says the school is open to recommendations but that students should watch out for each other.

Kansas, Kansas State University and Washburn University are among 76 schools nationwide being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education for their handling of sexual-assault cases.

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Read the original story published in the Lawrence Journal World.