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March 7 Message from Sidney Evans Addressing Recent Incidents of Sexual Assault Communication to W&L students, faculty and staff.

As you may be aware, in recent months there have been criminal charges of sexual assault filed against two former W&L students. I can state unequivocally that sexual misconduct has no place at Washington and Lee, and the University takes each report of such behavior very seriously. At the same time, all of our students have federally protected due process rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) and privacy rights pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Thus, the University cannot comment on individual student conduct matters.

Sexual misconduct cases are the most complex, challenging and emotionally charged conduct matters that we face. The toll they take on the students involved and their potential impact on our overall community cannot be understated. Our response is grounded in three core principles: treating all parties involved with fundamental fairness and sensitivity, respecting the wishes of the complainant (the person making the report) when they choose not to move forward with a formal complaint to the extent that we are able, and addressing each case appropriately, according to its unique circumstances and in compliance with all applicable policies and laws.

The Title IX Office conducts training and education sessions for all students to help them understand the processes and resources available, and our Office of Health Promotion offers additional programming and resources to help each member of our community understand their role in helping to keep our community safe. We continually evaluate these programs and resources in response to student feedback and evolving regulations.

We care deeply about the safety and well-being of our students, and we are fortunate to have staff with the expertise to help our students navigate the reporting and conduct process and work with them to promote a safer campus environment. I hope that every member of our community will take an active role in supporting this effort.

You will soon receive a message from Lauren Kozak, our Title IX Coordinator, reiterating important elements of our approach and providing information on additional educational sessions and other sexual misconduct resources. I encourage you to read her message carefully and learn more about this important issue. If at any time you feel unsafe or have concerns about an individual’s behavior, please contact Public Safety at 540-458-8999 or via the LiveSafe app, or contact your class dean. If it is an emergency or you believe you or someone else is in imminent danger, call 911.