Stu­dents drop call for fee in­crease af­ter re­view vowed

Baltimore Sun - - AROUND THE REGION - By Tim Pru­dente tpru­dente@balt­

Stu­dent lead­ers have dropped their de­mand that the Univer­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park raise fees to shore up the univer­sity’s of­fice of sex­ual mis­con­duct af­ter ad­min­is­tra­tors pledged to hire staff and con­duct a re­view of in­ves­tiga­tive pro­ce­dures.

The Of­fice of Civil Rights and Sex­ual Mis­con­duct had drawn scru­tiny af­ter it was re­vealed that in­ves­ti­ga­tions of re­ports of sex­ual mis­con­duct on cam­pus took more than twice as long as rec­om­mended by the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“It’s re­ally a win for stu­dent ac­tivism,” said se­nior Kather­ine Swan­son, pres­i­dent of the stu­dent gov­ern­ment. “I don’t want to use the word ‘threaten,’ but we found a way to call at­ten­tion to some­thing that was needed.”

The stu­dents, whose pro­posal gained na­tional at­ten­tion, agreed to drop their de­mand af­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions over the week­end with univer­sity Pres­i­dent Wal­lace Loh.

A Univer­sity of Mary­land spokes­woman said the univer­sity sup­ported the stu­dents’ ef­forts.

“We have the same goal: to prop­erly fund the Of­fice of Civil Rights and Sex­ual Mis­con­duct and en­sure that the nec­es­sary re­sources are pro­vided to ex­e­cute the im­por­tant work of this of­fice,” univer­sity spokes­woman Crys­tal Brown said in a state­ment.

The Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion had called on ad­min­is­tra­tors to raise stu­dent fees by $17 per se­mes­ter to hire more staff and pro­vide more train­ing.

The ex­tra rev­enue would have dou­bled the of­fice’s bud­get by about $1 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

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