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EXCLUSIVE: Students protest UW-L sexual misconduct response, Chancellor responds

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – One day after UW-La Crosse announced they’re reopening an investigation into an art professor accused of sexual misconduct, students demanded more.

UW-L student Caycee Bean posted on Facebook Wednesday, demanding University action after filing a sexual misconduct complaint against a former art professor one year ago.

Bean’s demands were heard after going viral, and at News 19’s request, UW-L issued a statement saying an initial investigation turned up no wrong-doing. They went on to say despite that, at Chancellor Joe Gow’s request, the investigation is now re-open.

Original article: Student accuses UW-L professor of sexual misconduct

At Friday night’s welcome week event ‘Chillin’ with the Chancellor’, about a dozen students peacefully protested the University’s reaction, saying they need to do more for survivors.

“We deal with a lot of stuff here at UW-L. Whether that’s racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, we deal with a lot of things and I think that finally, at least in my four years, the students are tired. And we’re tired of waiting and we’re tired of lack of transparency on behalf of the University. We’re tired of waiting to feel safe and waiting for actions to be taken,” student protester Amber West said.

Chancellor Gow stood just steps away during the protest, preparing for his traditional performance during the event. He spoke briefly with the protesters, then spoke exclusively with News 19.

“I know we’ve got this protest right behind us. It’s difficult because I sympathize with the students but they don’t know everything that has happened and I can’t really reveal that,” Chancellor Gow said. “We hear the students loud and clear and we want to make sure that everyone is safe and that we don’t have problems with harassment and sexual assault on our campus.”

Chancellor Gow asked for patience as the investigation develops.

“The challenging thing is, there is an investigation that’s underway, it’s ongoing, we’re learning new information every day. And more people have come forward so we just need to be patient and gather the information and certainly, justice will be served in the end,” Gow said.

Gow told News 19 he met with Bean, her family, and her lawyer Friday morning, discussing the investigation and allegations.

According to Gow, there are currently two UW-L staff members investigating the allegations and more resources are coming from Madison.

When asked if any action has been taken against the accused professor, Gow said he’s not able to say what will happen, citing the fall semester’s start. Gow did tell News 19 to expect an update on UW-L’s course of action in the near future.

Amber Meyer

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