The University of Minnesota plans to step up efforts to prevent sexual assault by mandating training for faculty and staff and creating a presidential advisory committee on sexual misconduct.

The moves were announced Thursday by President Eric Kaler at his annual State of the University speech.

The changes were recommended by an ad hoc committee following the recent campus uproar over an alleged sexual assault involving multiple Gophers football players.

"Recently, our Twin Cities campus — like too many across the nation — has been at the center of sexual assault news," Kaler said.

In December, the U suspended 10 players from the football team after an internal investigation of the allegations.

Six of the players are now facing possible expulsion or suspension from the university.

In the wake of that case, Kaler convened a working group to conduct "a high-level assessment" of the university's response to sexual assault. "The university has a strong and comprehensive approach to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct," he said Thursday.

But he said he was putting into place several changes at the suggestion of the working group.

Among them: mandatory training for faculty and staff, enhanced training for students, a public awareness campaign and plans to conduct a "campus climate" survey every three years to assess the campaign against sexual misconduct. Kaler also said a new advisory committee on sexual assault will report directly to him.

"We all know that even with these actions, we will not eliminate sexual misconduct on campus," he said.

"But what we can do is stand firm on our values and effectively articulate the behaviors we expect and the culture we want to create."

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384