Two University of Richmond of students who were accused of sexual assault by two Westhampton College students were identified as Richmond football players by BuzzFeed News Wednesday night.

The Westhampton College students, Cecilia Carreras and Whitney Ralston, published accounts of what they called the university's mishandling of their Title IX investigations on the Huffington Post contributor network more than a week ago.

Ralston's accused assaulter joined the football team after he was put on probation for "rape and stalking," according to BuzzFeed. Carreras previously revealed her accuser to be a student-athlete, but Buzzfeed's story is the first source identifying him as a football player.

Carreras' accused assaulter was given restricted access by the university for violating his no-contact order during an off-campus event in May of 2016, according to her second Huffington Post piece. BuzzFeed reported the accused student was "still allowed to take part in any football-related activity." Carreras' accused student did not respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed.

Carreras has declined to name the accused publicly to avoid retaliation charges from the university, according to Buzzfeed. 

Carreras' Title IX case

BuzzFeed obtained a document denying Carreras' appeal after a hearing board found the accused "not responsible for violating the school's conduct code policy." The letter was sent to her from Steve Bisese, vice president for student development. This is the first mention of Steve Bisese in relation to Carreras' case. 

Last week at a forum following the "It Ends Now" event, Bisese said, "I push the button, and I live with whether or not hopefully we did the right thing."

The letter also revealed that according to the University Hearing Board, witnesses in the case provided inconsistencies in their testimony. Carreras filed her appeal on a second ground of false testimony, as the university allows appeals if any witness lies during a conduct board hearing, according to the University of Richmond's 2015 Clery Report (section E, page 60). 

Carreras' appeal was denied, though, because "even if there had been clear and convincing evidence to support your assertion that these were lies, that finding would not be a basis for granting your appeal," according to the letter from Bisese. 

BuzzFeed also published an email exchange between Carreras and Dan Fabian, associate dean of Richmond College and a deputy Title IX Coordinator. The email is the only published record of Fabian's involvement in Carreras' case. 

In an email sent to Fabian, Carreras wrote that the presence of her accused "at Richmond has significantly impacted my education this semester... ."

Ralston's Title IX case

In Ralston's case, BuzzFeed obtained her email exchanges with Maura Smith, Title IX coordinator and director of compliance, in which Ralston wrote that she "will never feel safe" at Richmond.

In an exchange with Patrick Benner, associate dean of Richmond College, Benner informed her of the sanctions placed upon the accused. The accused student was given a no-contact order with Ralston, which states, "any violation to this order will result in additional charges through the University's judicial process."

In that same letter, which was also sent to the accused, Benner wrote that, "any violation to the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy to include violations to the 'no-contact' order and retaliation policy will result in your immediate suspension from the University without the option to return to the University at a later date (i.e. separation)."

Separation, as defined by the university, is the "immediate and permanent separation from the University. A student who is separated from the University is not eligible for readmission."

In Ralston's Sept. 9 piece, she wrote that the accused violated the no-contact order three times and that she reported at least one of the incidents. 

The university is currently under federal Title IX investigation by the Department of Education.

Contact managing editor Lindsay Schneider at lindsay.schneider@richmond.edu and reporter Claire Comey at claire.comey@richmond.edu.

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