Administration Responds to Reports of Sexual Assaults

On Friday, April 1, Interim Vice President and Dean of the College Mark D. Thompson released a statement to the Colgate community concerning two reports of alleged sexual assault. Thompson released a follow-up statement on Monday, April 3, reinforcing the administration’s commitment to safety on campus and indicating the university’s adherence to efficient and correct investigative processes concerning these two reports. Both statements listed on- and off-campus confidential reporting resources available to members of the Colgate community, and urged anyone possessing information regarding these alleged assaults to notify Campus Safety, New York State Police Campus Sexual Assault Victims Unit, Colgate’s Title IX Coordinator Lynn Rugg or any member of the Equity Grievance Panel (EGP).

Thompson’s two campus advisory emails notified the community of the details of the two alleged assaults that the administration could reveal at this point in the investigation, as the investigation is ongoing.

 “The first [occurred] on Monday, March 27 and the other on Thursday, March 30. Reports indicated that both assaults occurred at 88 Broad Street, the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house. The identities of the alleged perpetrator(s) is not yet known,” Thompson said.

Both statements conveyed the university’s intolerance of any and all forms of violence.

“I join with President Casey in denouncing, in as clear terms as possible, all forms of sexual violence at Colgate. Assault against a member of this community violates our mission, and cuts to the very heart of who we are and who we need to be,” Thompson said.

Thompson provided The Maroon-News with a statement, expressing Colgate’s values and plan for action.

“The recently received allegations regarding sexual assault are deeply troubling. Sexual violence in any form, whether in connection with the reported incidents or otherwise, is abhorrent and in complete opposition to our values and expectations for how members of our community should treat one another. The health and well-being of our students is always our first priority. To date we have received only very limited information about these alleged incidents, and we encourage anyone having information to come forward. We will act on reports that we receive per Colgate’s policies and processes, which are designed to address allegations with fairness to all parties” Thompson said.

Thompson urged community members to reach out to Haven, among other counseling and confidential reporting resources on campus. Haven, Colgate’s sexual assault response center, opened on Friday, October 14, 2016 in response to the 2015 protest and speak-out that occurred around the Center for Women’s Studies in an effort to address and prevent sexual assaults on campus. Haven functions to provide various forms of support for survivors of sexual assault including, but not limited to, individual counseling, consultation, clinical services, prevention, advocacy and education. Additionally, Haven works to connect community members to other on- and off-campus resources including University Chaplains, Student Health Services, Victims of Violence 24-hour hotline and others. Haven is located on the lower level of Curtis Residence Hall.

Haven released a statement on Tuesday, April 4 in response to the two instances of alleged sexual assault. The office reiterated its aim to provide support to all who have experienced any form of violence and continue to work to change the culture that allows this violence to perpetuate. Additionally, Haven acknowledged that there may be members of the Colgate community who prefer to use alternative or external resources. Haven compiled a list of additional resources and included this document in its statement. 

Co-Leader of The Network senior Rachel Drucker expressed her desire for Colgate to be proactive in responding to such instances in the future.

“I just think it’s important for the entire Colgate community to remember that, as much as it breaks my heart to say this, sexual assault happens all the time on this campus. It happened before this weekend and will unfortunately continue to happen after this weekend. I appreciate the sudden mobilization against this issue, but I sincerely hope the momentum will last,” Drucker said. 

Junior and President of the Beta Theta Chapter of Beta Theta Pi at Colgate University Matthew Cutcliffe provided insight into how Beta Theta Pi is responding to the situation as an organization.

“The allegations announced by the university on Saturday came as a surprise to our chapter. Within hours, Beta Theta Pi leadership approached administrators in an effort to gather additional information about the allegations; however, we have not received any new details, and there is still no official report pointing to an incident occurring at the chapter house. Beta will continue to cooperate with the university and local law enforcement in any ensuing investigation.”

Editor’s Note: The second email from Dean Thompson, sent out on April 3, noted that the alleged assaults occurred “at or in association with 88 Broad Street, the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house.”