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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Outside firm hired to conduct review of reported sexual-based misconduct at UMass

Friday, October 8, 2021

From Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy 

Dear Campus Community,

As part of our intensified efforts to address the concerns raised by students advocating to prevent sexual assault, support survivors and improve campus culture, the campus has retained the services of Comprehensive Investigations and Consulting (CIC), to conduct a review of reported sexual-based misconduct at UMass, including off-campus at fraternities, going back seven years, the time-frame for records retention mandated by federal Title IX law.

Retaining CIC, a firm that is known for its expertise in conducting impartial and detailed investigations of local and state agencies, represents one aspect of the promise I made at last week’s campus forum to take meaningful steps to thoroughly address issues related to sexual misconduct and develop practices and procedures to more effectively confront this challenge. Additional measures, including our ongoing work with the Student Government Association to adopt a version of the Survivor’s Bill of Rights that is aligned with federal and state law, are in the works and will be announced in the coming weeks.

In its review, CIC will:

  • Organize and review all reports known to be filed with any UMass Amherst office from Sept. 1, 2014 through present that involve sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, or other gender-based offenses pursuant to Title IX or the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Conduct an analysis of known reports and provide legal, investigative and advisory insight on the nature of the allegations or violations, their perpetrators and survivors, locations, any known aggravating factors, known outcomes, and trends relevant to alleged misconduct.
  • Work with campus stakeholders, including student groups and relevant university faculty and staff, to understand current climate around sexual assault.
  • Make comprehensive legal, investigative and advisory recommendations, based on the firm's findings and national best practices, on how to enhance sexual assault prevention efforts, increase reporting of offenses, and promote a culture of transparency, communication and safety for the UMass Amherst community.

Based on the findings of the review, the campus will take specific steps to ensure that our practices and procedures to prevent sexual assault and support survivors are as impactful as possible.

I am grateful to our students for their activism and commitment to preventing sexual violence.

Like you, I am saddened and angry when I hear the stories of survivors. I am hopeful that we can channel our energies and emotions into something positive and together we can make our campus a safer and more welcoming place for all.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy

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