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June 26, 2020

American University takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and is committed to protecting members of our community against sex or gender-based discrimination. This includes sexual assault, harassment, dating and relationship violence, and stalking.

Recently, social media accounts have featured posts about alleged instances of sexual misconduct within the American University community. We encourage anyone who feels that they have been a victim of sexual misconduct to file a complaint with the Title IX office, which is dedicated to creating an inclusive and safe environment for all students and employees. We also ask members of our community to be thoughtful about social media posts and understand their possible impact and unintended consequences. They could negatively affect others, including survivors, who may not wish to have their experiences made public or potentially spread incomplete information. The Title IX process is designed to provide fair and comprehensive investigations. Although not all cases may result in a disciplinary outcome, we understand and respect the bravery it takes for survivors of sexual assault to speak out, and we hear and acknowledge their lived experiences and stories no matter when or how they happened.

As part of our commitment to a safe and welcoming environment, AU requires all incoming students to complete online training on sexual assault prevention, and an in-person workshop led by AU students and created by the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center (HPAC) called EmpowerAU. The workshop covers a wide range of topics related to sexual violence on college campus, including respect and consent, alcohol and risk reduction, bystander intervention skills, and important resources. This fall, EmpowerAU will be presented through virtual workshops in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Finally, AU offers a wide range of resources for anyone needing support in the aftermath of an assault, including the Office of Advocacy Services for Interpersonal and Sexual Violence (OASIS), the Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, and the Kay Spiritual Life Center. OASIS, which is housed in HPAC, provides free and confidential victim advocacy services for students who are impacted by all forms of sexual and interpersonal violence. Victim advocates can guide survivors through emotional and administrative support, connect them with on and off-campus resources, as well as consult with those seeking information on how to support a friend. In addition, the AU Counseling Center offers confidential emotional and counseling support, has daily urgent care hours, and a 24 hour crisis line via AUProtoCall at 202-885-7979.

We all have a part to play in fostering a culture of safety, responsibility, and accountability at American University. We will continue to do the hard work of addressing these critical issues as a community, through dialogue and education. For questions about Title IX, please contact titleix@american.edu. For questions about resources and support, please contact hpac@american.edu.