Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

Feb. 20, 2014 Volume 35, No. 20

Missouri law firm to investigate Courey case

A task force has also formed to look at policies and practices at each campus

The Board of Curators on Feb. 14 selected an independent law firm to examine whether MU employees acted consistently with university rules regarding the alleged 2010 sexual assault of freshman Sasha Menu Courey.

Also, the University of Missouri System announced that each campus chancellor has appointed an administrator at his university to examine the policies and procedures of students’ reporting of mental health and sexual assualt issues.

 Dowd Bennett, a Clayton, Mo., law firm, will conduct the investigation and is scheduled to report its findings to curators at their meeting in Rolla April 11.

“Our task from the Board of Curators is to do a complete investigation, get all the facts and report our findings promptly,” said attorney Edward Dowd.

The investigative team includes two former attorneys for the United States government. Another member served as the head of a sex crimes unit and inspector for the United States Postal Service.

Meanwhile, a task force has formed that will lead a comprehensive review of the four campuses’ respective policies, training and procedures concerning the prevention and reporting of sexual assaults and the availability of mental health services. 

“Our priority is to create and support a culture of respect, safety and security for students, faculty and staff,” UM System President Tim Wolfe said Feb. 14 in his weekly email message. 

“To do that, we must ensure that each of our campuses has the necessary resources to educate the campus community about sexual assault and prevention, as well as an effective process for reporting such incidents, plus adequate capacity to address mental health issues among our students, faculty and staff,” Wolfe said.

The task force will be led by Deborah Noble-Triplett, UM System assistant vice president for academic affairs. 

Each chancellor has appointed a campus administrator to lead an investigation. Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton has been appointed to examine MU’s relevant rules and practices, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said Feb. 14 at a news conference. Middleton’s investigation includes dozens of interviews with employees, Loftin said.

Middleton’s deadline for his report is Feb. 28, MU spokesperson Christian Basi said. 

The task force will inventory all policies, programs and resources currently available to students in a report to Wolfe in March. Additional work of the task force will include an assessment of the effectiveness of current policies and practices and final recommendations, which is anticipated in late April.

“Once we have done a complete examination of our training, support centers, hotlines, policies and procedures on our campuses and identified any areas of need, I am pledging to make available additional resources, including funding from the UM System budget, to our campuses to ensure that we are addressing this issue in the appropriate manner,” Wolfe said.