Dear William & Mary Community,
At the beginning of this academic year, I wrote you about creating a task force of faculty, staff and students, charged to scrutinize how William & Mary responds to sexual assault and sexual harassment, with a view to finding ways to do better in our policies, training, protocols, and practices. We must have a campus where people live, learn, and work while being safe, and feeling safe. We have made progress. We will keep making progress. The task force will produce telling results by the end of this academic year.
While we await the task force findings and recommendations:
We will listen and make sure that reports of sexual assault or sexual harassment receive prompt, effective, and sensitive response. William & Mary will support those who have suffered, and we will strengthen our culture of concern and responsibility for one another.
We will pursue the facts with vigor and fairness, ensuring due process for all members of the community. When a person reports a sexual assault or incidence of sexual harassment, it is in the interest of all concerned for our internal process to move as quickly as possible to determine the facts. William & Mary is committed to prompt, thorough and fair investigation of reported assaults.
We will stringently enforce our code of conduct and, while respecting requests for confidentiality and privacy, we will encourage the prosecution of criminal acts. The William & Mary Police Department will conduct timely, thorough investigations. While William & Mary already has good working relationships with local law enforcement and the Commonwealth’s Attorney, we will strengthen these relationships in the interest of prompt criminal investigation and prosecution.
We will insist on more education and training to ensure our community is equipped to respond effectively. All members of our community (students, faculty and staff) will complete training on the nature of sexual violence and sexual harassment, the use of bystander intervention as a means of helping prevent it, and ways to assist those in crisis.
We will lead on this important issue. William & Mary was the first university in Virginia to have a mandatory program about sexual violence as part of freshmen orientation. We will continue to learn and lead.
These principles constitute our promise to one another. They guide the efforts of our task force, and they guide each of us in our relations with other members of our community.