UMN Administration Overlooking Sexual Assault?

University of Minnesota Investigates Leak about Sexual Assault Proceedings

MINNEAPOLIS- The University of Minnesota Board of Regents discussed looking into the source of the leak to KSTP that an investigation is currently being performed against athletics department fundraiser, Randy Handel, for sexual harassment.   

KSTP broke the story that the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) was investigating, when it had been leaked in an internal email to the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. The email indicated that Handel had violated the UMN’s sexual harassment policy. KSTP also showed that a report done by the EOAA which alleges that Handel inappropriately touched a female colleague and made repeated remarks to this women which could be perceived to have been sexual in nature. The report also indicates that Handel, who has been placed on paid leave by the university, denied this interpretation.

It is expected that whomever leaked the information to KSTP was a member of the board of regents, as each member of the board of regents is now being given an affidavit by which to affirm that they were not the one who leaked the information.

“We strive to uphold tremendous fiduciary responsibilities that require us always to act professionally and ethically, and to maintain privacy and other legal expectations,”Regents Chair Dean Johnson said in a public statement, “So it is greatly disappointing that we are faced with the potential that a member of the university community may have betrayed the public’s trust. That’s why members of the Board believe strongly that we need to investigate any potential leaks of private and confidential information.”

The board of regents caught a fair bit of outrage from members of the state legislator, who believed that the regents were putting greater emphasis on the leaks rather than the sexual assault itself. Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) authored a bill which would give greater transparency into the sexual assault proceedings done by the university. Specifically, the bill would provide a special auditor to review current and relevant past sexual assault proceedings in order to determine the effectiveness of the university in these matters.

This is not the first time a member of the University of Minnesota’s athletics department’s staff have been accused of sexual harassment. In 2015, the athletic director of the university, Norwood Teague, stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment of a non-student employee.

Henry Carras