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Niagara University places Dean of Students on administrative leave

WBFO News file photo

Niagara University placed its Dean of Students on administrative leave Monday. The action followed an online petition claiming she mishandled an allegation of rape on the campus. 

The college has hired a law firm to investigate whether the assault was mishandled. 

The issue surfaced over the weekend when student, Sarah Joslin, posted an online petition on the change.org website calling for the school ouster of Marjean "Carrie" McLaughlin, Dean of Students at the school.  

In the petition, Joslin stated “a young woman was raped on our campus by a basketball player, and Carrie [McLaughlin] told this young woman that by coming forward with the fact that she had been assaulted, she was trying to ruin his career.” It also stated the unnamed player continues to attend the university on a basketball scholarship.

As of Monday evening, the petition had more than 1,300 signatures. 

On Sunday the college released the following statement from Executive Vice President Debra Colley:

“The first priority of Niagara University is always the safety and well-being of our campus community, including all students and employees.

When a sexual assault is reported to us, it is our policy to investigate the incident to the fullest extent, and we meet and exceed the obligations of our Title IX obligations, as guided by New York State's “Enough is Enough” legislation.

The university takes matters of sexual violence and sexual assault very seriously and uses all available resources, including local law enforcement, when appropriate and with the permission of alleged victims, to fully investigate and adjudicate allegations.

Today, members of the administration, including myself and the Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs met with the student who posted the online petition.  We are committed to continued conversation and will continue to do our best to protect all our students from assault and also from the misinformation that may arise from allegations.

Finally, we evaluate all matters of employee conduct and we will be reviewing the matters in question in partnership with our staff and students.”

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