Officials at the University of Montana are worried that the spotlight on the rash of sexual assault cases on campus will have an adverse effect on their enrollment numbers.
This morning's Missoulian reports that prospective UM students have asked to talk to admissions officers about how the university is handling the issue of sexual assaults.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Justice Department launched its own investigation into the incident, citing more than 80 reported rapes in only three years. The Justice Department said its investigation will focus on complaints that local law enforcement failed to properly investigate and prosecute sexual assaults on women in Missoula because of gender discrimination.
Two members of the UM Grizzlies football team - Big Sky Conference champions - have been accused of rape, leading to the recent dismissal of the football coach and the school's athletic director.
"The allegations that the University of Montana, the local police department and the county attorney's office failed to adequately address sexual assaults are very disturbing," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
UM is coming off several years of record fall enrollment, with 2011 seeing 15,669 total students at the main campus and College of Technology combined.
Starting next fall, new students will be required to take a 30- to 40-minute online course on appropriate intimate relations, sexual assault and aggressive dating. The point of the mandatory course is to help students make healthy choices and avoid problematic situations.