OSU failed the test in assault case
BY World's Editorials Writers
Thursday, December 20, 2012
12/20/12 at 3:01 AM
The handling of the alleged sexual assaults at Oklahoma State University has been far from acceptable.
An OSU student has been charged with three counts of sexual battery and police are investigating other possible violations. The guilt or innocence of the suspect will be left up to a jury. OSU, however, has its own questions to answer.
According to Tulsa World news stories, the OSU administration was informed of alleged incidents by victims. OSU says it encouraged five alleged victims to go to the police with their stories. OSU officials, however, did not inform the police.
When asked why the information was not passed on to the police, OSU spokesmen said that the university's hands were tied by the Federal Educational Rights Privacy Act, which protects students' privacy.
The university did suspend the suspect, Nathan Michael Cochran, for three years and ordered him not to contact the accusers.
The investigation by the Stillwater Police Department was begun after a reporter from the school's O'Collegian told them about the alleged assaults.
It wasn't school officials, but a reporter from the school's newspaper.
OSU officials insist that they repeatedly urged the accusers to contact police, but they refused. The university continues to claim that it couldn't identify either suspect or accusers because of FERPA. Other experts have insisted that turning over that information would not have violated FERPA.
We're not suggesting any wrongdoing on the university's part. However, we do question the judgment of those university officials involved.
We also respect the privacy of OSU's students and understand that many of them are 18 and older. Still, in the face of a possible felony it is hard to understand how the university could not have placed the welfare of its students above a possible infraction of the privacy act.
Parents send their kids off to college with the understanding or at least the hope that they will be safe. In this case, OSU failed that test.
Original Print Headline: Test failed