FILE – In this Dec. 15, 2016, file photo, University of Minnesota wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky, flanked by quarterback Mitch Leidner, left, and tight end Duke Anyanwu is in the presence of the other members of the team as he reads a statement on behalf of the players in Nagurski Football Complex in Minneapolis, Minn.
(Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP, File)
ST. PAUL, Minn. University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler says that his school should do a better job of training the student-athletes on sexual assault and sexual harassment issues, because there’s something not getting through.
In an interview published Saturday in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the wake of the football team of the sexual abuse scandal, Kaler said student-athletes are already strong orientation toward dealing with those problems.
“I think we clearly have to do more and different (training), because our student-athletes get an exceptional amount of training on sexual abuse and sexual harassment problems, and yet we don’t seem to make the point,” Kaler said.
All of the University of Minnesota students go through sexual abuse awareness education after the subscription includes an online assessment, and interactive presentations. The school is approximately 750 student-athletes are also exposed to additional training and refresher courses internally and through the visit of the presenters, of each year. All programs include bystander education and intervention program, developed by assistant athletics director Peyton Owens III.
Players threatened last month to boycott the Holiday Bowl after expressing doubts about the university’s internal research that led to the suspension of 10 players over an alleged sexual assault in an apartment near the campus. Some of the players suspended were accused of under the pressure of a woman in sex during a party after the team in the season-opening win over Oregon State. Prosecutors twice declined to file charges, but the school’s investigation found that the 10 players have been violated conduct code and could face penalties up to and including exclusion. The appeal procedure is still pending.
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Athletic director Mark Coyle fired head coach Tracy Claeys to the middle of the consequences of the boycott. Claeys had publicly behind the players, put him at odds with Kaler and Coyle.
Sexual harassment training for the student-athletes was supported in the wake of 2015, a letter by Kim Hewitt, then director of the university Office of Equal Opportunity and affirmative Action, the athletics department on what Hewitt called a potential pattern of inappropriate behavior toward women among the players.
“I know that they responded to it with some extra training, but . if these findings are supported during the appeal procedure, then we do not have the necessary training or we do not have enough supervision,” Kaler said.