Legislative Auditor Will Review U of M Handling of Sexual Harassment Cases

Legislative Auditor Will Review U of M Handling of Sexual Harassment Cases Photo: Wikimedia Commons, file

May 19, 2017 06:44 PM

Minnesota's Legislative Auditor has set his sights on the University of Minnesota and how they handle sexual harassment investigations and their policies.

It's fueled in part by a KSTP story last week that broke a top Gopher athletic official violated the school's sexual harassment policy, according to a university investigation.

“I decided to conduct the review in response to clear legislative and public concern about how the University is addressing sexual harassment and, specifically, how the University is handling allegations,” James Nobles, Minnesota’s Legislative Auditor, said.

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The school's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) found on May 3 that Randy Handel, a top Gopher athletic department fundraiser, violated the school's sexual harassment policy involving a female employee.

Handel has not responded to messages for comment. At last check with the University, Handel remained on paid leave.

“Our review will not be a reinvestigation of the allegations against Mr. Handel, although we will review how the University handled that case,” Nobles wrote in an email to KSTP on Friday afternoon. 

It’s the third sexual harassment allegation inside the Gopher's athletic department in the last two years.

Nobles plans to have the review done by the time legislators return to St. Paul next year.

University of Minnesota Director of Public Relations Evan Lapiska issued a statement Friday, which reads:

The University works continuously to improve our policies and tracking related to sexual misconduct. The University is nearing the conclusion of a system wide effort to create a new administrative policy on sexual misconduct. The process engaged students, faculty and staff, and combines sexual assault and sexual harassment into one policy for a stronger, more consistent approach. We welcome the Legislative Auditor's input on this important topic.

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Eric Chaloux

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