MOSCOW MURDER: Read The New Press Release From The U Of Idaho - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

MOSCOW MURDER: Read The New Press Release From The U Of Idaho

Here is a statement from the University of Idaho concerning questions related to the death of Kathryn Benoit:

We're committed to the safety of our University community. We're saddened by recent events, but we are obligated to protect student and employee rights.

As the Moscow Police Department has confirmed there is no court record of a restraining order ever sought or obtained relating to Kathryn Benoit.

We are committed to the release of all university records for which we have the legal ability to release.  In the meantime we can share with you an understanding of the university processes and policies that govern any situation in which allegations are made.

The Moscow Police Department indicated in its statements to the press that there may have been a relationship between former professor Ernesto Bustamante and our deceased student Kathryn Benoit. 

Like other universities, the University of Idaho is generally prohibited by federal law from discussing the specifics of our student records, and by state statute, from discussing the specifics of personnel actions relating to our employees.  University policy honors these privacy rights and expectations. 

Consequently, at this time, the university cannot provide any further information about either the existence of a relationship or actions the university may have taken with respect to these two individuals. However, we can tell you about the policies which guide us in these matters.

 The university discourages consensual romantic or sexual relationships between faculty and students. (See www.uidaho.edu/facultysecretary/assemesterbegins) It is a violation of the university's ethics and conflicts policies if the relationship involves a faculty member and a student for whom the faculty has an academic relationship, such as having the student in a class or serving as the student's academic advisor. (FSH 3170A-1 & B-3a; FSH 6240) These relationships are prohibited. 

When we are notified of a relationship between a faculty member and a student and there is an indication of inappropriate behavior by the faculty member, or when there is a complaint of sexual misconduct, we address it as a matter of potential sexual harassment under the university's sexual harassment policy (FSH3220).

The university's Office of Human Rights, Access and Inclusion conducts a thorough investigation, interviewing all parties and examining all relevant evidence.  A copy of the investigation procedure can be found at www.uidaho.edu/diversityandhumanrights/hrai/policyandprocedure/discrimination

 

If, during the course of an investigation, or otherwise, there is indication of a credible threat to persons or property, the university conducts a threat assessment utilizing a team of experienced professionals within and outside the university to assess the threat and direct appropriate actions.

Persons who are determined to be at risk are contacted, apprised of the risk and counseled in ways to avoid or minimize the risk. Where appropriate, law enforcement is engaged and persons at risk are also encouraged to make their own contacts with law enforcement. When appropriate, if there is evidence indicating that employees or students may be at risk of crisis, they are counseled to seek assistance. The university maintains an Employee Assistance Program for this purpose and operates the Counseling and Testing Center for our students.  

This investigation process results in a University determination whether an action against the employee, including possible dismissal, would be appropriate. If so, the process for discipline is engaged. These are seldom trivial matters. They have direct and significant impact on the lives of the involved students and faculty. They are treated with the utmost seriousness.

Throughout the process the University remains cognizant and respectful of the individual rights of all persons involved. The university's confidentiality policies with respect to student information, personnel records and ongoing investigations are followed, within the bounds of safety. 

The safety of our campus community is paramount. We do not ignore or shortchange safety concerns once aware of them. We endeavor to support our community members to the fullest extent they are willing to be guided. This includes helping them gain assistance from campus and off-campus professionals to include legal, protective and police services as appropriate. 

We are committed to protecting our faculty, staff and students to the fullest extent possible. This is an unchanging constant, even if each investigation may otherwise be unique.

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