Utah State University announced changes today following a sexual misconduct investigation into the school’s piano department. Speaking at a press conference on Friday, USU President Noelle Cockett did not shy away from taking responsibility.
“We at Utah State made mistakes in the way we handled issues of abuse of mistreatment of students and even of instances of sexual assault," Cockett said.
Over the past few months a number of former USU piano students have spoken up about sexual misconduct and harassment by faculty, even one instance involving rape. Those accounts spurred the university into action and resulted in an outside investigation.
The results of that investigation are now becoming policy changes. The Title IX office, which handles sexual discrimination, will hire more staff and increase prevention training. There will also be a task force created to examine gender inequality on campus. And Cockett said the man at the head of the piano program, Gary Amano, has resigned.
Cockett said none of this would have been possible without these first-hand accounts.
"I just have to thank those people," Cockett said. "It took incredible strength to bring these things forward.”
This could just be the beginning. Cockett encouraged other students to come forward and said more action is still to come.
Dani Hayes of Utah Public Radio contributed to this story.