The University of Minnesota has hired two outside attorneys to review its handling of sexual assault allegations against 10 Gophers football players last fall.
John Marti, a former federal prosecutor, and Jillian Kornblatt, a specialist in labor law, were named Thursday to assist a special oversight committee of the U’s Board of Regents.
Regent Thomas Anderson, who chairs the committee, said the goal is to determine if the university followed its own rules in pursuing the case and whether changes should be made in the future.
The case drew headlines after a female student alleged that she was sexually assaulted by multiple men in September, and 10 student athletes were suspended from the team even though no criminal charges were filed.
The football team threatened to boycott a December bowl game to protest the suspensions, setting off a public debate about whether the accused students — as well as the accuser — had been treated fairly.
Eventually, five football players were disciplined by the university for sexual misconduct, while the other five were cleared.
A university spokesman said the review will not focus on the sexual assault allegations, but on how the university responded to them. “This isn’t meant to rehash the investigation,” said spokesman Evan Lapiska. “It’s a review of the surrounding events and how they transpired.”
U officials said the two attorneys, who are from the Dorsey & Whitney law firm, would act as independent fact-finders to reconstruct how the case was handled by the university.
“Our job, I think, is to learn from our experience,” said Douglas Peterson, the university’s general counsel, who is heading the review.
He said the attorneys are expected to complete their work and report back to the committee in 30 to 60 days.