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UW-Madison Athletic Department reviews safety after misconduct at fellow Big Ten school

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- UW-Madison athletic officials want to stop abuse before it happens.

A health and safety report was presented to the UW Board of Regents on Thursday.

The review wasn't launched after a complaint or concern from a Badger athlete or staff member, but rather after sexual misconduct at other universities in the country made headlines.

Athlete safety was a big topic of conversation during the meeting.

"We're trying to do what we can to prevent any harm coming to our student athletes, our staff, and the reputation of our great university," said Athletic Director Barry Alvarez.

The safety review of UW-Madison's Athletic Department was requested by the department itself after witnessing what happened with Doctor Larry Nassar who was convicted of sexual misconduct involving athletes at fellow Big Ten school Michigan State.

"It reminds us of the world in which we live and causes us to commit to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our staff and student athletes."

An external review surveyed more than 500 and interviewed more than 150 UW student athletes and staff, asking students things like if they felt safe and their concerns.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank says while the report was positive, it shows there's much more they can do to improve safety.

"I think the most important thing was that there was no big finding here, no Michigan State type of event," Blank said. 

The safety report recommends the university updates security in and around their buildings, improves mental health care, and ensures two people are in the room when student-athletes get medical care both at home and on the road.

"I can never stop someone from doing something they shouldn't be doing," Blank said. "But it is very important that we have in place the policies, the procedures, the structures, the best practices that minimize the likelihood that anyone is going to do something they shouldn't or if that does happen, that it immediately gets reported."

To read the full report, see below. 

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