Report finds UNM’s sexual assault policies confusing

UNM Climate Assessment Report

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A new report, commissioned by the University of New Mexico, finds the college takes sexual violence seriously, but there is room for improvement.

The 70-page report was released Thursday morning. It’s the result of a 90-day review this past fall by the New York law firm, Pilgrim & Associates, which cost UNM about $60,000.

A UNM spokesperson said the legal arm of the university commissioned the review in response to an anonymous complaint regarding the handling of sexual assault reports.

The review team found as of this fall UNM had too many policies regarding sexual violence, which were, “collectively confusing in structure, {and] dense with legalese.” They recommended streamlining the school’s policies to make them more effective.

The report also found that several policies in place to address sexual violence “fail in significant respects to comply with the dictates” of federal regulations.

While the review team wrote that UNM “should be applauded for being ahead of the curve” when it comes to sexual violence education and training, they also found that most of the training was focused on a small part of UNM’s student population, Lobo athletes.

Jill Pilgrim headed up the review. She said they found that UNM has an equal amount of sexual violence cases as other schools of similar size.

“It seemed like a fairly typical college campus,” Pilgrim said. “What’s going on here is no different from what’s going on everywhere, and it’s very, very difficult to address sexual violence.”

The report comes amid an investigation by the Department of Justice into how UNM handles reports of sexual assaults. It’s unclear what role, if any, this report will play in the federal investigation.

Dean of Students Tomás Aguirre said UNM has already met about 50 percent of the review team’s recommendations.

“We’re definitely going to take the recommendations from the report and start working on those immediately,” Aguirre said.

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