Letter to the Editor: UWL did not protect me and did not protect those who the offender will hurt in the future

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Letter to the Editor: UWL did not protect me and did not protect those who the offender will hurt in the future

Photo by Carly Rundle-Borchert

Photo by Carly Rundle-Borchert

Photo by Carly Rundle-Borchert

Photo by Carly Rundle-Borchert

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TW: The following letter to the editor gives an account of the legal process following an anonymous UWL student’s experience with sexual misconduct.

In light of recent university events, I would like to interject a personal anecdote about UW-L not supporting the needs of students in regards to Title IX investigations. It highlights its lack of timeliness, lack of transparency, and lack of appropriate representation.

The timeline is as follows:

Fall 2016-Spring 2018:

Chapters regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, and dangerous conduct are violated. These are UWS Chapter 17.09 (2), conduct defined in s.940.225; UWS Chapter 17.09 (18), conduct defined in ss 813.2 (1)(am) and 968.075; and UWS Chapter 17.09 (1) respectively.

November 30, 2018:

I report the offender to Student Life and the University Police.

March 15, 2019:

Report writing begins

April 2, 2019:

The investigation is finished and the report finalized.

June 19, 2019:

7-hour appeal hearing

July 2, 2019:

Results of hearing announced

July 17, 2019:

Notified of the perpetrator’s request for an appeal to the appeal hearing

August 9, 2019:

Notified the perpetrator will no longer be pursuing an appeal Despite being found guilty of these horrible actions committed against me, the offender was let off with the following sanctions: – Complete the STARRSA program online in order to release the offenders degree from suspension – No contact between the offender and I The University Police stopped contacting me after the first interview in early December 2018.

Aftermath

This is due to Kara Ostlund taking leave from Dec 7 – Dec 27 and the school telling the police to wait for the university to continue investigating. The university never informed police when the investigation was to move forward and thus they never contacted me again. I did not know this. Thus, the offender has no criminal record, only what the university may or may not put on record (I am unsure what happens). I was not informed that I could seek an attorney. The offender hired an attorney who is an expert at overturning Title IX investigations.

I was represented by Ingrid Peterson who has no legal knowledge and spoke out of turn in the hearing. This led to potentially viable evidence being excluded from the rest of the hearing due to procedural policies. Greg Phlegar, Ingrid Peterson, and Kara Ostlund were very slow in communicating with me. I only received notification of when the hearing would be.

It is clear from their emails (many of which I deleted, regretfully), that they were in frequent communication with the offender and the offender’s attorney. The offender called the shots is what I am saying. The offender is now living in Japan and I am worried for those around that person. UW-L did not protect me and did not protect those who the offender will hurt in the future.

My voice was not heard (even in the 7-hour hearing I only spoke for 15-20 minutes total). Transparency, timeliness, representation: these are the things the university did not provide for me.

Editors Note: The student who submitted this letter chose to remain anonymous.

If you are anyone you know has been impacted by sexual misconduct at UWL please reach out to the Violence Prevention Specialist Ingrid Peterson, or one of the many confidential reporters UWL provides.

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