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University disputes description of investigation

July 15th, 2019

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A press release issued by a public relations firm and the attorney of former swimming coach Greg Rhodenbaugh is inaccurate and mischaracterized the university’s Title IX investigation and conclusion, University of Missouri officials said.

On Monday, a press release claimed that Rhodenbaugh was “cleared of all Title IX charges.” This was inaccurate; the university did not issue a finding. Gregory A. Anderson, Rhodenbaugh’s attorney, also indicated the former coach did not have an opportunity to defend himself against numerous complaints. Rhodenbaugh was provided detailed information throughout the process and met with university officials on several occasions with the assistance of his attorney.

Last fall, the university suspended Rhodenbaugh from coaching over concerns about his team management practices, and the university initiated a Title IX investigation. Recently, the investigation was closed because the university exercised its right in Rhodenbaugh’s contract to terminate his employment. Therefore, due to the fact that he would no longer be an employee of the university, no final Title IX report would be issued.

“If an individual’s employment status ends and a Title IX investigation is currently ongoing, the investigation is typically closed,” said Andrea Hayes, assistant vice chancellor for Civil Rights and Title IX. “This does not indicate that there was a finding that an individual was cleared.

MU’s Title IX process is viewed by many as a model among higher education institutions around the country. The current process was developed after input from students, faculty and staff and dozens of university and outside law experts — including two, independent consultants. The process clearly allows any respondents to know the specific concerns and present evidence.

“We make sure that anyone involved in the investigation has an opportunity to review information we uncover as well as represent themselves before any decision is made,” Hayes said. “We also have an extensive appeals process that can be utilized when needed.”

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