UF sets example for universities handling sexual assaults

In the news recently, all you seem to hear about is domestic battery among NFL players and how universities are mishandling sexual assault allegations. 

Finally, however, faith has been restored in the world after one university has actually taken a rape allegation seriously. 

On Monday, University of Florida football coach Will Muschamp canceled his weekly news conference and later that day the university president made a public statement about allegations of sexual battery brought against freshman quarterback Treon Harris over the weekend, according to an article by the Tampa Bay Times. 

While no charges have been filed and the case is currently under investigation by UF police with the help of the Gainesville Police Department, Harris was suspended indefinitely from the team because of the allegation. 

Conversely, when Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of sexual assault in January 2013, the case wasn’t even made public until November. It wasn’t until a year later that university administrators questioned Winston, and Winston wasn’t pulled off the field until last month — a single game suspension caused by something unrelated to the allegations. 

In two days, UF has shown more commitment to taking sexual assault allegations seriously than FSU has in almost two years. 

UF is showing the kind of zero tolerance and leadership that all universities should strive for when handling sexual assaults. 

In two years, FSU has been dancing around the topic of sexual assaults through due process and bureaucratic nonsense and trying to sweep the discussion under the rug. 

Whether Harris and Winston are guilty or innocent, they should not be treated as though they are above the law, regardless of the team they play for. Accusations of rape should be taken seriously, and investigations into the matter should not be waived due to athletics. 

Though the incidents at UF and FSU are perfect examples of right and wrong in handling sexual assault allegations, they are just two examples of a problem that occurs nationwide. 

The federal government is investigating over 70 colleges around the country for Title IX violations, and the White House stepped in earlier this year to create a task force to address the issue of sexual assaults on college campuses. 

The issue is a complex one, but only when universities, such as UF, begin to face sexual assaults head on, openly and with full seriousness, can the problem start to be resolved. 

Alex Rosenthal is a senior majoring in mass communications.