March 1, 2024

A Message from President Hurley

The following message is from the Office of the President: 

University of Mary Washington President Richard V. Hurley has received the first set of recommendations from a special task force he established fall semester 2014 in the wake of heightened awareness about sexual assaults on college campuses.

Among numerous recommendations from the President’s Task Force on Sexual Assault are two that are already in progress: UMW will hire a full-time sexual assault prevention specialist, and all members of the campus community will take mandatory sexual assault prevention training.

In announcing establishment of the task force, made up of faculty, staff, and students, President Hurley stated that he was “committed to taking a strong preemptive stance” and he charged the task force with “proactively considering issues of campus sexual assault and sexual misconduct and making recommendations to ensure that UMW is appropriately addressing these matters.”

While the task force is finalizing its report, many of the recommendations are already being implemented. Selection is near completion for the sexual assault and prevention specialist. This full-time staff member will centralize education and prevention strategies for staff, students, and faculty. In addition, educational software has been purchased so that the online sexual assault prevention training, required for every student, staff and faculty member, can begin this fall.

Also under way is another task force recommendation: bystander intervention training for all incoming students, as well as separate training for all orientation leaders, resident assistants and athletes.

Dr. Leah Cox, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion and UMW’s Title IX Coordinator, chairs the task force. She is well versed in Title IX and sexual assault issues and was invited to serve on the statewide task force appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to deal with matters of sexual misconduct and sexual assault on college campuses.  Based on a statewide mandate, a campus-wide “climate” survey will be conducted this fall to measure the true incidence of attempted and actual sexual assaults on campus.

Further, task force and other discussions among campus constituencies have led to the following:

  • An on-campus sexual assault support group will be convened this fall.
  • A showing of The Hunting Ground, an exposé of the startling prevalence of sexual assault at bastions of higher learning and of the powerful interests that re-victimize vulnerable students while shielding perpetrators, will take place at the ITCC on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion. This initiative is a partnership of various local agencies, community colleges and foundations.
  • An innovative new mobile safety app has been procured and is now available for the university community beginning with the fall semester. Known as RAVE Guardian, the app can be downloaded free of charge by anyone in the UMW network to their smartphones. Users will have one-touch connection to UMW police or 911, be able to discretely send a text or digital image during an emergency, and have their location tracked when at risk.
  • Title IX Tuesdays will begin in the fall semester. These monthly forums and workshops will include an open dialogue on various issues related to sexual assault, consent, prevention and intimate partner violence.
  • A year-long series on civility will get under way in early September with the first forum  focused on ”Anonymous Speech in the Age of Social Media.” The forum will discuss the ethical, responsible and civil use of apps such as Yik Yak. Other sessions will focus on conflict resolution and on topics such as racism and feminism.