LEWISTON, NY-- Niagara University announced Tuesday an independent investigation into allegations of Title IX violations has concluded, and the findings indicate the university, and its personnel, fully complied with the law.
The investigation was prompted after a student, Sarah Joslin, posted an online petition calling for the removal of the dean of students, Carrie McLaughlin, claiming a sexual assault complaint was mishandled.
The complaint was against a member of the school's men's basketball team.
The petition says, quote: "Carrie [McLaughlin] told this young woman that by coming forward with the fact that she had been assaulted, she was trying to ruin his career."
Buffalo law firm Lipsitz, Green, Scime, Cambria, LLP conducted the investigation, concluding Niagara University provided the correct support, counsel and resources were appropriate, releasing the statement below:
“Niagara University provided the investigation team unimpeded access to all of the information requested, including access to the relevant individuals, documents, files, and electronic evidence,” said Barry N. Covert, senior partner of Lipsitz Green. “After carefully reviewing all of the relevant information over a two-month period, our investigation team determined that the university fully investigated each of the sexual assault matters raised in the petition and its accompanying comments."
“The procedures for handling sexual assault cases at Niagara University and in connection with the university’s programs or activities, including the strict confidentiality requirements, are carefully regulated by Title IX, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and New York State’s ‘Enough Is Enough’ legislation,” said Covert. “Notably, those laws strictly prohibit the university from disclosing or discussing particular allegations or the individuals affected.”
“The university’s primary concern is always the safety and well-being of our students and the entire campus community,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “We consider all student allegations and concerns seriously, and we remain committed to our Title IX obligations. We abide by and exceed guidelines presented by New York State’s ‘Enough is Enough’ legislation and we will continue to work with our students and the campus community, as well as with our external partner agencies, to educate our community in an effort to provide a safe living, learning and working environment.”
The university also announced that McLaughlin, who had been on administrative leave over the course of the investigation, will not return to her previous position.