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Woman on panel that would review complaints aided lobbyist

A member of a state panel that would have heard appeals of college sex-discrimination cases such as her son’s sent her lobbyist husband related background information as he worked to change Missouri law in favor of the accused, emails obtained by The Associated Press show.

The emails, obtained through an open-records request, show Audrey Hanson McIntosh sent examples of other state discrimination laws and Supreme Court case law to her husband Richard McIntosh around the same time he was pitching a change in Missouri law to state lawmakers.

The McIntosh family’s role in proposed legislation to change how colleges and universities handle complaints of sex-based discrimination came under scrutiny after The Kansas City Star first reported that Hanson McIntosh’s son was expelled from Washington University in St. Louis for a Title IX complaint.

A bill sponsor confirmed to the AP that McIntosh told him that his son was expelled for a Title IX complaint.

The allegations against the son are not public. Title IX complaints can include accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault or other infractions.

Lobbyist McIntosh pushed lawmakers to adopt changes that would give the state Administrative Hearing Commission the authority to hear appeals of sex-discrimination cases. Hanson McIntosh serves on that commission, meaning the bill would have enabled McIntosh’s son to appeal his expulsion to a state panel on which his mother sits.

The proposals, which appear unlikely to pass before lawmakers’ upcoming Friday deadline, have been slammed by one critic as “revenge legislation.”

Hanson McIntosh in April 2018 sent McIntosh information on how Missouri public and private colleges are defined in state law. Washington University is a private school.

In October, she sent him a copy of Oregon’s law banning sex-based discrimination in higher education when the “program, service, school or activity is financed in whole or in part by moneys appropriated by the Legislative Assembly.”

Missouri lawmakers later introduced legislation that would apply changes to the Title IX process to any Missouri college that “receives state funds or any public benefit.”

Hanson McIntosh in another October email to her husband also sent a list of U.S. Supreme Court cases on legal penalties related to Title IX cases, including a link to a 1999 high court ruling that said schools can be held responsible for student-on-student sexual harassment.

Missouri bills would give any student who “fails to receive due process” the right to sue colleges.

Hanson McIntosh did not return AP requests for comment Tuesday. McIntosh has previously declined to comment when asked by AP about his son’s expulsion and also did not return requests for comment Tuesday.

McIntosh’s emails, previously obtained by AP, also indicate that his wife played a role in the legislative effort.

He suggested in November that House staff add the “AHC language that I sent you from Audrey yesterday.” He listed both his and his wife’s personal contact information in an October email to the House bill sponsor and staffers.

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