A student government resolution regarding the sexual assault policy for athletes at the University of Minnesota was unanimously passed on Tuesday, pushing for changes in how an athlete’s suspension is handled during a misconduct investigation.
In the most recent sexual misconduct case surrounding Gophers men’s basketball player Reggie Lynch, the athlete was allowed to practice with the team throughout the investigation.
After students in the Minnesota Student Association Sexual Assault Task Force expressed discomfort with how the athlete’s suspension was handled, MSA President Trish Palermo started drafting the resolution in January.
The resolution recommends that the University establish a committee to discuss what should happen to players found responsible for sexual misconduct.
“I think that [the resolution has] very fair asks … it adds in that extra committee that ultimately makes the decision,” Palermo said of the resolution. “It adds in an extra step before it’s decided what happens to the players.”
If the resolution is approved by Mark Coyle, the University’s athletics director, he will no longer be the only one deciding whether an athlete is suspended.
According to the resolution, MSA hopes the committee will be comprised of University stakeholders outside of Gophers athletics.
The resolution also amends the definition of suspension to include “practicing.” Currently, University policy only prohibits competing or traveling with the team during a suspension.
“We think this is necessary because that ensures accountability and equity and keeps the athletics department in-line with the values of the University as a whole,” said Emma Dunn, a Sexual Assault Task Force member.
Dunn said the resolution will be sent to Coyle.
“We hope this sends a message to athletes that it’s not okay to violate the rights of another student and to be able to continue on as if nothing happened,” Sami Rahamim, a Student Legal Service representative, said.
Correction: The resolution has not yet been sent to Coyle and the members of the committee are unknown at this point.