Editorial: Fort Collins falls short of its standards by not reporting sexual harassment data

Fort Collins Coloradoan: Fort Collins officials take considerable pride in how they conduct the public’s business, yet they fall short of their typical standards when it comes to tracking and reporting sexual harassment complaints among city employees.

Fort Collins refused to release any information about sexual harassment complaints within its organization to Coloradoan reporters Saja Hindi and Pat Ferrier, who conducted a four-month investigation into the number of complaints filed with local public entities, the results of which were published in the Coloradoan’s May 20 edition.

The investigation and subsequent stories were fueled by public interest in the national #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and growing awareness of a serious workplace issue. The reporters filed Colorado Open Records Act, or CORA, requests for information from nine entities related to complaints a five-year period.

Fort Collins officials said they do not maintain records that discuss or reference sexual harassment investigations. They would not divulge how many complaints have been filed or how many were founded.

The Coloradoan was not looking for names or personnel records — just statistics and findings of substantiated claims. Yet city officials cited CORA — the very law that is intended to shine light on the doings of government — for not providing information.

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