MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The University of Minnesota is creating a special board of students, faculty members and staff to decide whether students accused of sexual assault should be punished.

University officials say they plan to train a group of 35 volunteers to preside over hearings in an effort to manage a surge of complaints about sexual misconduct on campus.

Kimberly Hewitt, director of the university's equal opportunity and affirmative action office, which investigates sexual assault complaints, says the changes could make the overall process faster.

In the past, students who were unhappy about the outcomes of the office's investigations could request a hearing with the Campus Committee on Student Behaviors, which also handles complaints about plagiarism and cheating.

Hewitt says there was increasing concern that the committee members needed more training to handle sexual assault allegations.