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Release: Dec. 16, 2002

Boyd appoints two groups to review aspects of Pierce case

University of Iowa Interim President Willard L. "Sandy" Boyd today announced the appointment of two groups to look into different aspects of the Pierre Pierce case. One team will investigate the university's involvement with the resolution of criminal charges against Pierce. Another committee will assess campus climate issues regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Boyd previously asked the Board in Control of Athletics for input. "On Nov. 6, I asked the University Board in Control of Athletics to recommend changes it deems advisable in order to assure that any future criminal cases involving student athletes are resolved in the interests of the entire university," Boyd said, "and to ensure that the same policies and procedures regarding violence, sexual harassment, and student conduct that apply to all other aspects of the university are fully applied in the Department of Athletics. This review is under way, and a report is expected by February 2003.

"Today, I am taking two additional steps." Boyd continued. "First, I am appointing a team of faculty and staff to investigate the university's involvement, if any, with the resolution of criminal charges. This investigation will include the actions of university officials and the decisions they made regarding, specifically, Mr. Pierce's status with the Athletics Department and the university. It will also include how the university can best handle these matters in the future."

The team will consist of Margaret Raymond and John Allen, UI professors of law; Madgetta Dungy, assistant dean in the UI College of Medicine; and Phillip Kutzko, UI professor of mathematics.

"I am grateful to the members of the team for agreeing to serve," Boyd said. "They are to conduct their investigation with the full authority of the President's Office, but independent of it. I have asked them to complete their investigation in a thorough and timely fashion, to prepare a report on what happened, and to offer recommendations to address any problems that they identify. Once their report is complete, I will consult with the Attorney General's office to get their legal counsel before I decide what steps should be taken."

Boyd said that he appointed the independent team instead of pursuing the investigation himself because many of the university's internal administrative discipline and employment procedures put him in the appeals process. "The team's independence is critical to a full and objective investigation," he said.

"The second step we take today is to announce the formation of an ad hoc committee to assess the campus climate regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault," Boyd said. "This incident makes it mandatory that we examine a number of serious concerns, including whether victims are fully supported, whether faculty and staff are properly trained, and whether students and staff of color are disproportionately affected."

The ad hoc committee will include faculty, staff and students. The committee's specific charge and its membership will be announced shortly.

"It is important to remember that our review of the Pierre Pierce matter involves important issues of long lasting significance with complex legal and policy dimensions," Boyd said. "It must be done carefully and dispassionately, and cannot be rushed."