Myers alleges errors in Title IX media reporting, university refuses to elaborate

President Richard Myers and K-State administration refuse to comment any further after releasing a statement Wednesday criticizing media reporting on the ongoing Title IX lawsuits. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

Kansas State administration released a statement Wednesday accusing the media of inaccuracies in their reporting of the university’s sexual assault policies but then refused to say what the inaccuracies were when the Collegian asked for specifics.

The statement came two days after a former student joined one of two existing Title IX lawsuits against the university.

Crystal Stroup alleged in the lawsuit that the university’s policy of not investigating off-campus rape at fraternity houses resulted in the university not removing another student’s assaulter from campus, which could have prevented the assault on Stroup by the same person.

In the statement, President Gen. Richard Myers said, “Some of the media claims being made recently are inaccurate, and we want to clear up any misinformation about our policies.”

The Collegian called the president’s office to ask him to elaborate on what claims were inaccurate and what the correct information is. Neither Myers nor anyone in his office returned the call. After the reporter went to the president’s office, an assistant referred him to the Division of Communications and Marketing.

Steve Logback, associate vice president of communications and marketing, said he would not go into specifics when asked about Myers’ quote.

“If you could look back at that first paragraph (of the press release) — and again there has been a lot of different media accounts of this — but take a look at that first paragraph, I mean I can tell you that we’re not going to have any additional comment,” Logback said.

The last sentence of the first paragraph says, “Blanket statements that K-State does not investigate incidents that happen off campus are simply not true.”

The lawsuit by Stroup and Sara Weckhorst, senior in social work, contradicts K-State’s statement.

“K-State refused to investigate (Weckhorst’s rape) because the assaults took place ‘off campus,'” the lawsuit states.

The federal government filed a “statement of interest” in the case in July, which was signed by several government attorneys. It states K-State had a “Title IX duty to investigate,” even though the assault took place at a fraternity house located off campus.

When asked if K-State’s statement is consistent with the K-State policy and if the university does in fact investigate off-campus incidents, Logback said the university will not comment.

“We are not going to have any comment on that,” Logback said. “We’re going to let that play out through the (courts). That’s been our policy here at K-State, is things of a legal nature and something that’s pending litigation, we don’t provide comments specifically on any of that.”

He did, however, say the answers will become available through court proceedings.

“I think a lot of the answers of which you’re referring to, I believe it will be answered in those court proceedings, which will all be publicly available,” Logback said.

Logback was asked if Myers, Pat Bosco, vice president of student life and dean of students, and Scott Jones, acting Title IX coordinator and director of the Office of Institutional Equity, would be permitted to speak to the Collegian and answer questions.

“Not regarding the lawsuits,” Logback said.

He said they could possibly answer questions about K-State policies, but not if they are related to the lawsuits. That includes the university policies on the requirements for an investigation to be initiated.

“I hope you understand that when things are pending in a legal nature, we’re just not able to provide comment on that,” Logback said. “But if there are other policy issues that aren’t related back to the lawsuits — again, I would have to see the questions — but I wouldn’t say that may not be a possibility.”

Jason Tidd graduated from Kansas State University's Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2017. He was the spring 2017 editor-in-chief, fall 2016 news editor and spring 2016 assistant news editor. While at K-State, Jason played baritone in the Pride of Wildcat Land marching band.