St. Norbert College is tackling its Title IX program after several reports the school has mishandled cases of sex assault.
The college hired a private investigator to look into the school’s Title IX program and several claims that faculty had dismissed students’ stories of sex assault.
Thursday St. Norbert talked about the findings of the report.
In October St. Norbert students protested the school’s Title IX policies with a demonstration.
In April more than 200 current students signed a petition with nine requests of the school’s Title IX program including continued Title IX training for faculty and staff, clarification for the roles of the Title IX office and transparency.
President Brian Bruess now says though they are not releasing the report of an internal investigation, he feels the college is being transparent enough.
“I think with what the college has done by way of transparency is exceptionally important and I think it’s been a really strong response,” says Bruess. “And I do believe that the way we’re handling this report is consistent with their own expectations for transparency.”
In a separate October petition nearly 300 alumni of Norbert’s stated they wanted to see an investigation into Father Jay Fostner who they say quote “had witnessed fail vulnerable members of the St. Norbert College community”.
The petition was accompanied by a Facebook post from a former student who claimed Father Jay was often dismissive of sex assault survivors’ stories.
Local 5 asked if Fostner’s behavior was addressed during the investigation.
“I’m not in a position to talk about the personnel details in this report, but I can tell you that nothing in the report will result in the suspension or termination of any of the employees or any of the staff or faculty that were identified in the report,” says Bruess. “He is continuously employed in his current role.”
The full report of the investigation are not being disclosed by the university leaving the findings only to their eyes for reasons the college says will protect the individuals who shared their stories.
“This is an investigative report that has a lot of stories of individual experiences and people and it’s my estimation that it would be virtually impossible to redact the names,” says Bruess. “In fact there’s very few names, but there’s a lot of detail about cases and I’m reluctant to take that risk to violate a student privacy and confidentiality.”
The college says it is working on improvements to its Title IX program including modifying the team reporting structure, creating an online campus security incident report and establishing a support group for sexual assault survivors.
Stay with Local 5 as we continue to follow this story.