The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is satisfied with how the Maurice Washington situation has been handled, but the faculty senate president wants to examine the matter.

"As far as faculty senate, we're looking into it," said Kevin Hanrahan, head of the UNL Faculty Senate. "I'm reserving judgment" on the issue.

Washington, a Husker football player, was charged in California in December with felony distribution of child pornography and a related misdemeanor. The charges allege that Washington sent an ex-girlfriend a video of the girl performing a sex act at 15 years of age.

Deb Fiddelke, UNL's chief communication and marketing officer, said the university's administration is satisfied with the way the athletic department has handled the situation.

Fiddelke said UNL's Title IX office will not look into the matter. Title IX pertains broadly to discrimination on the basis of sex. Title IX often comes into play in college sexual assault and harassment cases.

"Title IX applies to students, faculty and staff," Fiddelke said. "Maurice Washington was not a (UNL) student in March of 2018." That is allegedly when Washington sent the incriminating video to his ex-girlfriend.

Andrew Miltenberg, a Title IX attorney in New York, said universities have different views on whether a college Title IX office should look into situations  that happened before the accused person was a university student.

Many colleges take the view that regardless of when and where the alleged incident took place, if the person is a student when the university finds out about the situation, the Title IX office has a duty to investigate for the sake of the college community, he said.

Federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed new rules affecting Title IX. "Hopefully the new rules add a little clarity to this," Miltenberg said.

Meanwhile, the UNL Faculty Senate is interested in aspects of the case. One is how former Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning came to represent Washington for a while before Lincoln attorney John Ball took over.

Scott Fuess, chairman of the faculty senate intercollegiate athletics committee, said he has no opinion yet. "We're in process, and I think it would be premature to say anything until I know what we're talking about," Fuess said. "We will proceed as judiciously and appropriately as we can."   

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rick.ruggles@owh.com, 402-444-1123

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