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In recent weeks, there has been increased discussion about the campus process for responding to reports of sexual assault.

It is important that victims are able to trust that our campus will support them if they choose to report a sexual assault. Victims who report a sexual assault will receive support regardless of whether they pursue campus discipline against the perpetrator. We believe that it is important to share with you two pieces of information. First, statistics showing the types of help victims have received from the campus are available here. In addition, we want to share with you statistics that show how many sexual assaults have been reported and what happened in those cases, including where the assaults occurred. The document, available here, will help us all understand more clearly the disposition of these cases that have been reported to the university.

All students must be able to trust that our process for investigating sexual assaults is fair and thorough and that it will not inflict additional trauma. The standard used in these investigations is referred to as “the preponderance of the evidence,” which simply stated means “Is it more likely than not that a violation occurred?” If the investigator finds that the evidence regarding an allegation of sexual assault is equally balanced, then the allegation has not been proven by a preponderance of the evidence and a student will not be charged with violating the Code of Conduct. Such a finding does not mean that a sexual assault did not occur.

By law, the Title IX coordinator is responsible for ensuring that investigations of sexual assault are conducted thoroughly. I recently referred a case to the Title IX coordinator for independent review and further investigation because of concerns about the thoroughness of the initial investigation. That was the appropriate action based on our interim policy on sexual misconduct. You can read the policy here.

People in multiple offices on our campus are diligently working to respond to reports of sexual assault, support victims, and provide educational programming to prevent sexual assault.

We are committed to moving forward with this work and recognize the legitimate challenges involved in situations that involve real people. Please remain engaged in the conversation and our ongoing efforts.