University of Toledo creates sexual assault task force

The University of Toledo (UT) is working to fight back against sexual assault. President Sharon Gaber created a task force on sexual assault awareness and prevention. The group aims to compare UT's policies and practices with those at other universities.

"Student safety is a top priority, and we will continue enforcing zero tolerance of any type of abuse," Dr. Gaber said. "We have an outstanding university, and I want to make sure that we are doing all we can to educate, inform, prevent and adjudicate."

The committee will be headed by Dr. Amy Thompson and Valerie Walston. Thompson is a health education professor and the co-director of the UT Center for Health and Successful Education. Walston is the associate vice president for student affairs and director of residence life.

The committee consists of students, faculty and staff. It includes Donald Kamm, who was hired by UT last year as director of Title IX and compliance. Kamm leads the prevention, education and response efforts regarding Title IX matters at UT.

The task force is expected to complete its assessment in fall 2017.

Last year UT also created the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness to strengthen its efforts to prevent sexual violence and help survivors. The University hired a full-time, dedicated counselor and victim advocate funded by the center.

In March, a UT athlete was suspended after another student accused him of raping her at an off-campus apartment.

There were two additional reports of sexual assault involving UT students last last year. In October of 2016, a female student reported being sexually assaulted by a male acquaintance at a UT residence hall. Another female student also reported being sexually assaulted by a male acquaintance in November of 2016.