University of Richmond President Ronald Crutcher turned to students and staff for suggestions on how to address and end sexual violence in addition to promising updates of the issue by Fall Break, in a university-wide email sent today.
The email marks the first time Crutcher has addressed the university community since two students came forward with accusations of the university's mishandling of Title IX proceedings.
In the email, Crutcher addressed the university's email sent earlier in the week, which called Westhampton College's Cecilia Carreras' accusations "inaccurate" as well as the current vacancy for the coordinator of campus education, awareness and prevention efforts position, which was previously held by Beth Curry.
Regarding the 'It ends now' forum held Thursday night, which began as a presentation on sexual assault prevention and ended in a passionate questioning of university administrators and a massive audience walk-out, Crutcher wrote, "We know that it is our job and responsibility to help students, to care for them, and to contribute to the well-being of each individual and our community as a whole."
Mia Reinoso Genoni, dean of Westhampton College; Joe Boehman, dean of Richmond College; Maura Smith, Title IX coordinator and director of compliance; and Steve Bisese, vice president for student development all spoke at the forum and according to Crutcher's email, they "conveyed their sincere regret and apology that their e-mail message earlier this week has caused pain."
Crutcher did not apologize on behalf of the university for calling Carreras' assertions "inaccurate," rather apologizing for the pain students on campus now feel. In a separate email to Westhampton College sent within the hour of Crutcher's, Genoni similarly apologized to students saying, "I would like to start by saying that I am truly and deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you."
In the email, Crutcher also committed to funding a permanent position dedicated to assault prevention and education. "We are already in the process of filling that temporarily vacant position and when grant funding expires, institutional resources will sustain the position," he wrote.
Though Crutcher referred to the university's current prevention and education programs as "extensive and comprehensive," he concluded his email with a request that any member of the community who had ideas or suggestions as to how to better combat the problems of sexual assault on Richmond's campus to do so through a link to a sexual misconduct input form on the university's website.
Crutcher promised updates on the progress by Fall Break, which begins Oct. 7.
Read his full email here.
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