Utah education news

BYU president defends new hires in school's sexual-assault overhaul

Brigham Young University President Kevin Worthen is defending recent hires made by the school to improve its handling of sexual assault complaints, saying the women are prepared for the work, will receive continued training and will be joined by a new colleague from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS. Last week, BYU announced the hiring of two university employees — Tiffany Turley and Lisa Leavitt — as its new Title IX coordinator and victim advocate, respectively. A group of sexu...

Shadow of Trump inauguration looms over U. speech by author Ta-Nehisi Coates

The keynote speaker for the University of Utah’s weeklong celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. began his remarks Wednesday by commenting on a Twitter scuffle between a celebrity and a congressman. Award-winning author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates referred to comedian Rob Schneider, who took to the social media platform on Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — to critique a statement by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, that Donald Trump is not a “legitimate” president. “Rep. Lewis. You are a...

Utah school board to hear feedback on new transfer rules for high school athletes

Opponents of a new transfer policy for high school student athletes will have another chance to make their case before the Utah Board of Education. The board announced Tuesday that a hearing will be held Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to receive feedback on the policy, which allows students to switch schools — and school teams — at will if they compete at the sub-varsity level. Varsity athletes can switch schools freely if they also switch sports, the policy states, and can compete in the same sport if... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

BYU sexual-assault survivors, alumni upset with Title IX, victim advocate choices

When Hailey Allen heard last week that Tiffany Turley was named Brigham Young University’s new Title IX coordinator, she began to sob. Her anxiety skyrocketed, she said, and the post-traumatic stress disorder she said she suffers as a result of being raped as a student at the university was triggered. “I felt they had lied to us,” Allen said. “Given us hope that they would change their ways and then didn’t.” Allen and about 30 other alumni and sexual assault survivors are concerned that Turley ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

There's a big gap between Utah's richest and poorest schools. Lawmaker hopes to close it.

Utah has long ranked last in the nation for the amount it spends, on a per-student basis, to support public schools. But there’s another set of disparities in state school funding, because school districts supplement their budgets with revenues from local property taxes. An area such as Park City, with a comparably small student population and high property values, can generate more than three times as much tax revenue per student as Jordan School District, despite similar property tax rates. ...

School board member: program for failing schools is $8 million in the red

In 2015, Utah lawmakers set aside $7 million in annual funding to establish a new turnaround program for struggling public schools. That money is gone, state school board member Joel Wright said Friday, and the program is facing a negative balance as new schools are added to the turnaround list each year. “We have exceeded that by about $8 million,” said Wright, who is vice-chairman of the board’s Finance Committee. “Nobody knew what they were doing entirely when they made these contracts with... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

BYU appoints new Title IX coordinator, victim advocate

Tiffany Turley’s main goal as Brigham Young University’s new Title IX coordinator is simple: create an environment where students feel able to report sexual assaults. “The safety and well-being of students is definitely my primary concern,” said Turley, 35, who previously served as the university’s Women’s Services and Resources manager. On Friday, BYU announced that Turley would oversee the school’s Title IX office, tasked with implementing the federal law that requires university’s to swifty r...

Utah State denies it knew about multiple reported sex assaults, asks for lawsuit to be dismissed

Utah State University is asking for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a former student who accuses school officials of not taking action to prevent her sexual assault. Victoria Hewlett sued the Logan school in November, claiming that when she was raped in July 2015 by Jason Relopez at the Sigma Chi fraternity house, school officials knew that five other women had already reported being sexually assaulted by him. The university is asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed with prejudice, denying b...

USU's Torrey Green sex-assault investigation records could be made public

Utah’s Records Committee will take until February to determine if a 2-inch stack of documents prepared by a Utah State University attorney should be made public. The documents, generated during an internal investigation into a series of sexual assault allegations against former USU student Torrey Green, were sought by The Salt Lake Tribune under the state’s Government Records Access Management Act. But while committee members voted to postpone that decision Thursday morning, they indicated that...

After School Satan Club launches at Vista Elementary School in Taylorsville

Taylorsville • Utah’s first After School Satan Club kicked off with an open house Wednesday at Vista Elementary School. The club, for children between the ages of 5 and 12, encourages students to think critically and have a scientific understanding of the world around them, according to Chalice Blythe, Utah chapter head for The Satanic Temple. “Kids naturally have that ability to be curious and question things,” Blythe said. “We’re basically just saying we should bolster that.” The Salem, Mass...

Rich School District classes and meetings canceled

Rich School District has canceled all classes and school meetings for Wednesday. An announcement from the district — which has been hit by a snowstorm — says college classes will continue and that “if parents choose to send their kids, the building and programming will be available.” <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Mountain climber Conrad Anker to speak at U. commencement

Renowned mountaineer and University of Utah alumnus Conrad Anker will address graduates at the school’s commencement ceremony on May 4. Anker was a founding member of The North Face Climbing Team and was part of the first successful ascent of the Shark’s Fin route of Meru Peak in Northern India. Anker and his Shark’s Film team were featured in the 2015 documentary film “Meru,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His work with The North Face began while Anker was a student at the Uni...

'Don't waste his money': Utah high school assignment on dating draws accusations of gender bias

For many teenagers, getting a date is hard enough — let alone if your high school grades depend on it. School administrators in Salt Lake City went into damage control mode Tuesday after a parent’s complaint about her daughter’s assignment gained attention through social media. Jenn Oxborrow posted a photo of two handouts — one for girls, another for boys — that instructed students at Highland High School to go on a date that costs no more than $5. The handouts included suggestions for appropria... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

WSU receives $50K grant to create LGBT violence prevention workshop

A team at Weber State University is working on new sexual violence prevention training with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Utah Department of Health, school officials announced Tuesday. Funding was awarded to the [email protected] program, a division of the university’s Women’s Center, to develop a violence prevention curriculum aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Women’s Center Director Stephanie McClure said LGBT individuals are at higher risk for experiencing sexual an... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

School funding proponents moving forward with tax-increase initiative as Utah lawmakers prepare to convene

Mary Bailey’s career in public education can be split nearly in half: 20 years as a teacher and 21 years as an administrator. That career ended in July, when Bailey retired after three years as the inaugural principal of Draper’s Corner Canyon High School. After more than four decades as an educator, Bailey is quick to respond when asked what can be done to boost student learning. “You can solve every problem with schools with just one thing, and that’s enough good teachers,” Bailey said. “The... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Education funding from Utah's trust lands expected to grow despite Bears Ears designation

By creating the Bears Ears National Monument on Wednesday, President Barack Obama put in limbo roughly 109,000 acres of land held in trust for Utah’s public schools. Revenue from trust lands is invested in the Permanent State School Fund, which awarded roughly $50 million to Utah’s public education system in 2016. In a prepared statement, Utah State Treasurer David Damschen said he was “appalled” by Obama’s actions, and concerned about the effect it would have on a growing revenue stream for sc... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

'I don't take lunch': New USU president has hard-working history at school

Noelle Cockett’s formative education years were spent at a small parochial school in rural eastern Montana. Grades one through 12 were housed in the same building, Cockett said, and students were expected to work to the best of their ability. “The nuns were very serious about academics, and there was no distinction of gender,” she said. That egalitarian mindset stuck with Cockett, who next month will become the first female president of Utah State University. And within the Utah System of Higher... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Education department: Stevens-Henager College isn't a nonprofit, and that's final

Federal education officials are sticking with their decision that Stevens-Henager College and its sister schools are for-profit institutions. The colleges’ parent company, Center for Excellence in Higher Education (CEHE), had requested reconsideration after being denied nonprofit status in August. But in a letter to the company’s CEO Eric Juhlin, dated Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education’s Ron Bennett said he found no basis to reverse or modify the status of the schools. “This is a final... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Uintah district superintendent to keep his job; school board approves $7K for conduct investigation

Mark Dockins will remain superintendent of Uintah School District through the current school year, members of the district’s school board announced Wednesday, ending speculation about a lame-duck firing of the popular administrator. The board scheduled a review of Dockins’ contract during its meeting this week, the final meeting of 2016 before a majority of the board is replaced by new members next month. Reading from a prepared statement, board president Mark Caldwell said Dockins’ contract ...

Audit: Utah State mismanaged conflicts with private company it created

A private company created by Utah State University was rife with conflicts of interest and inconsistent financial reporting, according to an audit released Wednesday. Utah State University Archaeological Services, created in 2009, was formed through the school’s Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology Department, with faculty members as owners of the company. That led to instances of USU faculty receiving grants, which were then spent contracting with their own business, according to a report ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>