Eye On Boise

Nellis: 'We must learn from tragedy and prevent from ever happening again'

University of Idaho President Duane Nellis is seen at a news conference announcing the release of former assistant professor Enesto Bustamante's personnel records on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011, in Moscow, Idaho.  (AP)
University of Idaho President Duane Nellis is seen at a news conference announcing the release of former assistant professor Enesto Bustamante's personnel records on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011, in Moscow, Idaho. (AP)

"We must learn from this tragedy and do all that we can to prevent it from ever happening again," UI President Duane Nellis said today. "I believe that that the university's response to Katy's concerns ... speaks for itself. The university responded immediately and decisively to protect Katy and to remove Bustamante from our community. We communicated and coordinated with Katy and the Moscow Police Department and counseled Katy repeatedly to seek protection and to use violence protection resources available to her. We still, however, suffered an unthinkable tragedy. We must learn from this and empower our community to take the best possible care of each other."

Nellis said UI policies already prohibited relationships between a faculty member and a student they supervise or have influence over, but he has asked the Faculty Senate to strengthen its rules about consensual relationships between faculty and students. "We're trying to put stronger wording into that part of the policy," he said. "Clearly our policies prohibited the situation that evolved here, and Bustamante was advised of that directly." He said he also wants to implement "criminal background checks on faculty before they're hired," and on any university staff. "In this particular case, that wouldn't have led to" not hiring Bustamante, he said. "But I think it's just good general practice as we move forward." In addition, he said the UI will  "redouble our training and education efforts in the area of sexual harassment to include additional mandatory courses for supervisors, faculty and staff."

The university is releasing Bustamante's employment records today, sending them by overnight delivery to media outlets that filed public requests for them; there are more than 4200 files, aabout half a gigabyte of data.
 




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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