Swimmer’s Death Highlights Campus Safety Risks
The University of Missouri takes center stage today as President Tim Wolfe held a news conference to discuss the possibility of hiring impartial investigators to uncover the hidden truths behind the death of student and swimmer Sasha Menu Courey. Courey committed suicide while residing in a mental health institution in Boston in June of 2011, after allegedly being sexually assaulted by up to three UM football players.
Courey, a native of Toronto, was at the University of Missouri on a swim scholarship. Following the alleged rape, Courey attempted to reach out to campus health and safety personnel, including a rape crisis counselor and campus therapist. In addition to the mental health specialists, Courey also consulted a campus nurse and two doctors. However, these discussions occurred eleven months after the attack that was said to have happened in February of 2010.
Although Courey consulted campus medical officials, because she did not make a formal report, and because her privacy was legally maintained by healthcare laws, her own parents were unaware of the sexual assault until after her suicide. Upon discovering a reference to the assault in an online chat forum with a rape crisis counselor, the University contacted Courey’s parents in an attempt to ascertain their wishes in regard to opening an investigation. The University did not receive a response from the parents, and felt that they had taken the investigation as far as they could. However, in response to an ESPN report on their program, “Outside the Lines”, University President Wolfe has decided to recommend the hiring of independent counsel to investigate the handling of what he calls, “…a tragic situation that’s personal to me.” He adds that “What’s important to us at the University of Missouri is the safety of our students. We take this very seriously.”
Although the sincerity of the university President is no doubt appreciated, many are wondering at the absence of comments from University of Missouri Athletics Department Director Mike Alden. After all, Courey was receiving a scholarship for her participation on the university’s swim team.
The University issued a press release today, attempting to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions concerning the incident at large.
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