May 29, 2023

Message from President Hurley Regarding UMW’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures

October 31, 2014

Dear Members of the UMW Community:

I am writing to you today about a subject that has continued to be in the news and that is very important to me and the UMW community.

Sadly, sexual harassment and sexual assault occur on every college campus across the country. Any such behavior violates our university’s core mission of honor, integrity, and upholding of the civil rights of all individuals. The federal government has directed attention to this issue by the application of Title IX, along with the Campus SAVE Act, which guarantees an educational environment free from gender based discrimination of any kind. This legislation recognizes that campuses should be places where every student can feel safe and understand that sexual harassment and sexual violence will not be tolerated.

I am proud of the fact that UMW was one of the first institutions in the Commonwealth to name a Title IX coordinator, create a comprehensive sexual assault policy, and launch a public educational campaign. UMW has a strong record of encouraging reporting of any incidents of sexual misconduct and dealing effectively with concerns when they arise.  We offer victims official and unofficial reporting options, counseling, and many types of institutional support.

We continue to take actions to further ensure supportive policies and procedures.  These include:

  • Leadership – UMW’s Title IX Coordinator is Dr. Leah Cox, a member of my President’s Cabinet. She is an important resource for students, faculty and staff, and our Board of Visitors.  Dr. Cox is leading efforts to ensure that UMW has a supportive and safe environment for individuals who report sexual assault or misconduct, has a broad range of educational initiatives and programs, and has up-to-date policies and practices that are consistent with federal and state laws. Dr. Ray Tuttle serves as the Director of Judicial Affairs and Title IX Deputy Coordinator and works to ensure that our judicial system performs as it should.
  • Policies – UMW has adopted a policy that requires most employees to report an instance of student sexual misconduct if it is disclosed to them. Each faculty and staff member is now considered either a “Responsible Employee” or a “Confidential Employee” for reporting purposes. Most employees are considered “Responsible Employees” and are now required to report any information learned about an incident of sexual misconduct to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. Employees in health care or the Talley Counseling Center are considered “Confidential Employees” and are not required to report to the Title IX Coordinator. These first conversations with students are important and students may prefer to talk with or report an incident to a more confidential source.
  • Education – All incoming students receive important information at orientation, as well as at other programs throughout the academic year. In September, we began the Consent Campaign, “Yes is the Key,” to begin bringing awareness to students regarding the issue of consensual sex along with obtaining a clear and sober yes when seeking intimate relationships. The week of November 10th will launch a week of consent awareness activities with a t-shirt pledge campaign, a white ribbon campaign, and other scheduled activities. Additionally, the university will launch an online training module for all employees. This will provide a required training program focused on preventing sexual harassment, sexual assault, and understanding the responsibilities of mandated reporting.  In January, the University will launch a new initiative around “bystander training.” This program is designed to motivate bystanders to prevent situations that may lead to sexual assault.
  • Assessment – Every university in the Commonwealth will be tasked with conducting a campus climate survey. We are currently in the process of working with the Governor’s Task Force on Sexual Assault (of which our Title IX coordinator is a member), to develop a survey that will be distributed to all students. The survey will be distributed in early 2015. Based on that feedback UMW will be able to identify areas that need additional support and guidance.
  • Law enforcement cooperation – UMW continues to maintain a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Fredericksburg City Police Department. Cooperation is essential in our efforts to prevent sexual violence and responding effectively when it occurs.

This month, I will invite selected members of the UMW community to be a part of a task force to focus on the issues of sexual assault and  sexual misconduct. I anticipate that this group, with the guidance of Governor McAuliffe’s task force, will advance an agenda for our university that rises to the challenge of this critical issue.

I recognize that no institution is exempt from incidents of sexual assault, even UMW. However, it is essential that as a community we stand together to send a message that these behaviors will not be tolerated. I assure you that the University of Mary Washington is intent in its efforts to prevent sexual violence and misconduct on our campus. It is the obligation of all of us to support one another to keep our campus safe.



Richard V. Hurley