June 18, 2024

President Responds to Club Sport Conduct Code Violation

I would like to provide additional information related to the email I sent yesterday.

At an off-campus party at the close of the fall 2014 semester, several members of the UMW men’s rugby club engaged in a chant that contained sexually explicit, derogatory, and violent language. Some students have now been exposed to those offensive and lurid lyrics due to posting by others on social media.

No student on this campus should feel unsafe, ostracized, or threatened. Understanding that the offensive chant is antithetical to UMW values, and will not be tolerated, the University pursued action against the men’s rugby club.  At the beginning of the current semester, sanctions were imposed on the rugby club for willful violations of UMW’s code of conduct for club sports.

After an appeal by the accused, the disciplinary process concluded on March 18 with this ruling: All rugby club activities have been suspended indefinitely. Further, each member of the men’s rugby club is required to participate in education and training sessions regarding sexual assault and violence.  UMW’s Statement of Community Values informed the process and response to this situation.

As I stated yesterday, the University will not stand for such behavior. It not only violates our community values, it is not how members of this collegial campus live, and it is not reflective of the Mary Washington we all know and love.

University policies prohibit discrimination, harassment, threats, and derogatory statements of any form. We pride ourselves on being a diverse, accepting, caring community, and we must live up to that ideal.

I urge anyone on campus who feels unsafe, ostracized or threatened to immediately contact campus police or Dr. Leah Cox, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion. She may be reached at lcox@umw.edu or 540-654-2119.

Richard V. Hurley
President

 

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