UNM Working To Speed Up Sexual Assault Investigations

Nov 12, 2015

People who’ve reported sexual assaults to the University of New Mexico have said lengthy investigations leave them in limbo for months while anxiety interferes with their studies. But UNM is making some changes to try to speed things up.

Federal law recommends that sexual assault investigations at schools that get federal money should take about 60 days. But at UNM, they often take longer.

The Office of Equal Opportunity, which investigates sexual assaults at the university, was without a permanent director for six months this year. Francie Cordova took the post at OEO in August. She said she’s reviewing procedures to try to address the problem of prolonged investigations. "We want to standardize and streamline and make clear what the process is for both our investigators and for the public when they’re coming to us," Cordova said.

OEO has been coping with a high turnover of investigators. Now the office has four: Two of them have been there about a year, and two were just hired last month. They handle all civil rights complaints—not just sexual assaults.