MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota has hired an outside legal team to begin a review of the sexual misconduct investigation involving multiple Gophers football players.
A Board of Regents Special Oversight Committee approved the hiring of two attoneys on Thursday morning, who will now begin an extensive review of the University of Minnesota investigation and other actions that led to a team boycott and recommendations for suspension and expulsion, some of which were overturned by a student panel.
“At times, I was confused about the events given the decisions by the criminal justice system, the Title IX process, and the athletic department," said regent Thomas Anderson. "If I'm a board member and I'm confused, others must have that same confusion."
The outside counsel will begin by looking into the investigation and communications surrounding it.
"Our role is not to determine policy, but to provide you with the truth as best as we can determine," said John Marti, one of the two newly appointed outside counsel.
Anderson says the committee hopes to learn from the team boycott, and also review the relationships and balance between many different interests, which includes the University Student Conduct Code, the criminal justice system, Federal Title IX requirements and student privacy laws.
"That would include, in the case of student athletes, how we handle it externally with the media and those parties," said professor Perry Leo, Faculty Athletics Representative for the UofM.
And though athletics play a key role in the review, it's just one aspect looking forward.
"I'm just hopeful that through this process we will learn some things that will be helpful to us campus wide," said Regent Peggy Lucas. "That have nothing to do with athletics but that we have better policies to deal with sexual assault."
The outside counsel plan to begin sharing the results of their review in 30-60 days. The committee will then decide whether or not to recommend changes to the sexual misconduct policy.