As Boise State gears up to face civil action from two former female athletes over alleged sexual harassment and assault incidents, officials at the university are keeping their lips sealed.
“I am really restricted on what I can say, so I am not going to be able to answer any questions,” said Greg Hahn, associate vice president for Communication and Marketing at Boise State.
Boise State officials did, however, release a written statement regarding the behavior, stating they dealt with the incident as soon as it presented itself.
“Right now we are sticking with that statement and are unable to comment on anything else,” Hahn said.
Whether former track and field coach JW Hardy’s abrupt dismissal by the university last spring was a result of his failure to address sexual assault, Boise State officials won’t say.
The two women suing Boise State claim Hardy was aware of alleged sexual assault and harassment claims against what the suit describes as a male track and field star failing to do anything to prevent further incidents.
The women are being represented by nationally renowned women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred.
While the university remains embroiled in sexual assault litigation, officials have taken steps to update Boise State code regarding reporting sexual assault and discrimination under the Clery Act.
According to Boise State Title IX/504 coordinator Annie Kerrick, the recent changes are a coincidence.
“It’s not related to the lawsuit but it was something a committee of people have been working on for a while to clean up our policy,” Kerrick said.
With the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act by Congress in 2013, Kerrick said changes to policy had been in the works for a while to ensure compliance with federal law.
“There were a lot of changes to the Clery Act and a lot of that was policy changes, so that is where these changes came in,” Kerrick said.
Boise State students like freshman biology major Nate Grant think athletes should not be protected when breaking the law by engaging in harassment and assault.
“I like sports, but just because you are really good at something, that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want without facing any consequences,” Grant said.
Junior Angelica Lopez said she and friends have experienced harassment and felt embarrassed to report the incidents for fear they would not be taken seriously.
“When you are partying and you’re drinking, it’s less likely that anyone will believe you if you tell them you were drunk,” Lopez said. “Even if you are drunk, people shouldn’t be allowed to do things to you without getting charged with a crime.”