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Panel wants graduation rates of athletes

3/23/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- The independent panel investigating
athletic recruiting at the University of Colorado on Tuesday
pressed for details of attitudes in the athletic department, while
sex assault experts schooled the panel on victims, perpetrators and
prevention.

Meanwhile, some commissioners asked for more time to wade
through thousands of pages of documents before reporting on what
they have learned on recruiting and misconduct.

On Tuesday, panel members asked university officials for
graduation rates and admissions test scores for football players,
along with copies of performance evaluations for coaches,
Chancellor Richard Byyny and Athletic Director Dick Tharp.

Provost Phil DiStefano and Ron Stump, vice chancellor for
student affairs, said they would get the information.

Commissioner Jacqueline St. Joan questioned whether
administrators had a "hands off" policy for the athletic
department, which she said seemed to have more autonomy than other
parts of the university.

Stump said university administrators and athletics officials
talk to each other, but the athletic department ultimately decides
how to spend its money.

The Board of Regents appointed the panel and asked it to report
by April 30 on whether sex and alcohol are used as recruiting tools
and to make recommendations.

Seven women since 1997 have accused football players or recruits
of sexual assault, though no charges have been filed. The state
attorney general is heading a separate investigation that could
result in criminal charges.

DiStefano and Stump left before two sex assault experts invited
by the panel spoke Tuesday. Three other university officials
stayed.

Teresa Wroe of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault
said men -- not just women -- need to be involved in assault
prevention programs and not just one-time presentations.

Although alcohol can contribute to rapes, prevailing attitudes
such as pressures for men to have sex are a greater factor, she
said. Having the support of male campus leaders for prevention and
awareness programs is crucial, she said.

"If male leadership hasn't bought into that this is an
important issue, the effort is not going to have a big impact,"
she said.

She said sexual assault should be tackled in much the same way
as drinking and driving, which has become a social taboo.

Anne Munch of the Colorado District Attorney's Council played
for the panel a 911 tape of a woman reporting she was raped by a
man she met at a bar. Munch said some might ask whether the woman
was to blame by inviting the man home, but no one would question an
allegation of theft if a friend gave Munch $50 and then Munch took
$50 more without the friend's consent.