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Eye On Boise

Benoit settlement of $375,000 all will go to charity

In addition to a series of changes on the University of Idaho campus, the settlement of a $3 million tort claim that the family of slain grad student Katy Benoit reached with the university calls for the university to pay the family $375,000 in exchange for the family dropping all legal claims. “The Benoit Family has chosen to donate all settlement proceeds to charitable causes,” the family and university said in a joint statement yesterday, “primarily via the Katy Benoit Memorial Fund, which has been established through the Idaho Community Foundation.”

The dollar amount was revealed today pursuant to a public records request; the state Board of Education unanimously approved the settlement yesterday at its meeting in Moscow. The settlement also calls for stepped-up communications between the university and the Moscow Police Department; a new system for anonymous complaints by students or faculty; improved sexual harassment training for students, staff and faculty; and an annual on-campus safety event named for Katy.

The young woman was shot to death by former professor Ernesto Bustamante, who then killed himself. “Katy’s life and the events pertaining to her death have provided an abundance of lessons that the Benoit Family and the University of Idaho are fully committed to learning from and helping others learn from,” the family and university said in their statement. “It is our hope that these lessons can help create a perpetually safer and wiser culture not just at the U of I, but on other campuses throughout the nation.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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