The University of Illinois submitted the following op-ed in response to stories by CU-CitizenAccess and The Daily Illini about sexual assault on campus. CU-CitizenAccess is confident in the reporting on the issue. We will address the points made by the university in its letter in subsequent stories.
The op-ed, from University police chief Jeff Christensen and Title IX Director Danielle Morrison, is published in full:
University officials neglected to forward student reports of sex offenses to university police for months, despite the requirement that all sex crimes be reported immediately, according to a CU-CitizenAccess and The Daily Illini analysis and interviews with the police department.
Officials have long said that sex offenses are underreported to authorities on campus, just as they are nationwide. But it has not been apparent that University officials are unable to track the number of sex-related crimes reported to them.
For three years, the University of Illinois campus police failed to send out mass email alerts on sex-related crimes, despite requirements to do so by the U.S. Department of Education, according to a CU-CitizenAccess and The Daily Illini analysis of police records.
Top Champaign officials had met with concerned citizens about the conduct of former police officer Matt Rush as far back as 2012 – well before four incidents that led to excessive force lawsuits, new documents filed in court Wednesday show.
On April 17, Jeremy Irons of Urbana was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aggravated domestic battery and intimidation. He had smashed his girlfriend’s head against the interior of her car until she passed out and then later choked her and threatened her by saying he might go to get a gun.
Johnathan Hettinger/For CU-CitizenAccess.org –Despite hundreds of domestic violence arrests each year in Champaign and Urbana, a task force formed to address the issue has stopped meeting. The Central Illinois Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force is “on hiatus but not gone,” said task force co-chair Lisa Little, who is also a court advocate at Courage Connection. “on hiatus but not gone,”
When the task force originally met in May 2013, it received much media attention. But after two meetings, Nancy Hiatt left her job as the executive director of domestic violence service agency, the Center for Women in Transition. The Center is now known as Courage Connection.
By Klaudia Dukala/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — When consultant Alan Kalmanoff was conducting his assessment on the Champaign County jails, he noticed inmates with mental health problems were “decomposing” because of the lack of medications available to them. Now, Kalmanoff, executive director of the Institute for Law & Policy Planning, based in Berkeley, Calif., said first steps have been taken to combat the problem. Kalmanoff, a consultant hired by Champaign County to assess the county’s criminal justice system, presented a 272-page report to County Board members in September 2013. In his report, Kalmanoff criticized the county for its treatment of mental health inmates at both the downtown jail, at 204 E. Main St., and the satellite jail, at 502 S. Lierman Ave., in Urbana. The report stated the jails didn’t have the proper “… resources to house, and sometimes segregate, [the mental health] population as necessary to provide for their care.”