After rape allegations at Appalachian State University last year highlighted flaws in the university’s handling of sexual assault cases, administrators say reforms will improve the process and better protect students.
In 2011, two women filed sexual assault allegations against the same two football players. They presented their claims to the university’s Student Conduct Board, which included undergraduate students. The board suspended both players.
The players returned to campus, and one was reinstated on the 2012 football roster, said Annie Hegar, a student who protested the handling of the sexual assault cases.
After more than 150 students gathered at ASU last spring to silently protest the university’s handling of the cases, Hegar — along with ASU students Frank Byrne and John Secrest — proposed the formation of an Interpersonal Violence Task Force to review the university’s sexual assault policies.
The task force, which is composed of students, faculty and staff is currently conducting research about the university’s policies and the climate on campus.