Kansas school regents to mull notations for sexual assault

Photo Courtesy: MGN Online

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents is set to discuss a proposal that would require all state universities to add a notation on a student’s transcript if the student is expelled for sexual assault.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Regents Council of Presidents, made up of leaders of the six state universities, will take up the issue at next Wednesday’s meeting.

Regents spokeswoman Breeze Richardson says the presidents have “confidently” agreed that they want such a requirement. She says the next steps include figuring out the details of the policy.

“What does it look like?” Richardson said. “How far does the board feel like it’s appropriate to go?”

She says the proposal will likely go to the Regents Governance Committee in January, and if approved, will be forwarded to the full Board of Regents for a vote.

The draft policy has not yet been made public.

Some schools, such as Kansas University and Kansas State University, already add transcript notations whenever students are expelled for nonacademic misconduct.

“There’s value, I think everybody agrees, in that not wildly differing between universities,” Richardson said.

Discussion of a potential policy change was initiated by students at several state schools.

Emma Halling, a 2015 University of Kansas graduate who served on the university’s Sexual Assault Task Force, said she hopes the Regents’ policy will mirror, or go even further than, a resolution brought forward by her school’s student senate. The senate had suggested nonacademic misconduct transcript notations for expulsions and suspensions due to sexual misconduct.

“I think it should be any finding or responsibility for nonacademic misconduct,” Halling said. “I would encourage Regents to also include some sort of notation if a student left a school while a hearing is pending — a lot of times they don’t stick around for the end result.”

The idea of nonacademic transcript notations has met some resistance. An Inside Higher Ed article published in July cited concerns that notations would turn transcripts into an internal sex offender registry for colleges, which would turn university disciplinary proceedings into fully litigated trials.

Halling also note that there is some concern that criminal justice system issues, like minorities or students who can’t afford lawyers being prosecuted or found responsible at higher rates, may be found in the university process if transcripts have notations added.

“So that’s a problem,” she said. “But I don’t think that’s reason to throw the baby out with the bath water and just not inform anyone.”


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