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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - University of Missouri athletics director Mike Alden says the school's initial response to news reports of a former swimmer's suicide could have been handled better.

Alden told reporters in interviews late Thursday that he expects Missouri to learn from Sasha Menu Courey's death and use it to bolster its student mental health services rather than "trying to defend" its actions.

The interviews mark Alden's first public comments on the case. Missouri curators voted Wednesday to approve an independent legal investigation.

Menu Courey killed herself in June 2011 in a Boston psychiatric hospital soon after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and two months after an earlier suicide attempt while still at Missouri. Her reports of a 2010 rape by several school football players are now under investigation by Columbia police.

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