Sex assault investigation at U of I; athletic director put on administrative leave

Sex assault investigation at U of I; athletic director put on administrative leave
Posted at 12:11 PM, Apr 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 14:12:19-04

University of Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear (pictured) has been put on administrative leave for 60 days -- while investigators and University leaders work to better understand process failures in reporting sexual assault complaints in 2012 and 2013, what has been done since then, and what should be done in the future, according to a University of Idaho news release.

Spear has been the target of criticism recently from students for the way he handled accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment against a U of I football player back in 2013. 

In the interim, Associate Athletic Director Pete Isakson will serve as acting athletic director for day-to-day operations. Brian Foisy, Vice President for Finance and Administration, will work with the athletics business office to manage the finance functions of the department.  

“This is a challenging day,” said U of I President Chuck Staben. “But understanding how we’ve handled situations in the past and how we can improve is essential. We have a responsibility to provide our students, and our student-athletes, with the best college experience and the most support possible. We are committed to meeting these expectations.”

During the review period, the news release said, the University will take several actions to address the importance of safety, improved responsiveness and accountability. 

These include:

-Continuing an internal review and engaging an external investigator regarding what’s being termed “behaviors of concern.” 

-Engaging an external consultant to help leadership better understand what has happened and bolster the training and support of sexual assault prevention, reporting and response throughout the university -- with the goal of creating and maintaining an inclusive community where students feel supported for as long as they are part of the local community. 

-Hiring additional help to address the workload in the University’s Office of Civil Rights and Investigations. Another position may be filled in the coming months.

At the end of the 60-day period, the University will have more information on next steps it plans to take.

“The goal is to make sure we better understand this situation and how we can both learn from our mistakes and become a leader in responsiveness and transparency,” Staben said.