On Monday, October 31 at approximately 2:00 a.m., an individual was reported entering two different rooms in Leonard Hall without permission. Staff from Residence Life and Housing and AUPD immediately responded to evaluate the scene and support the students. One student from the rooms involved reported being sexually assaulted. We continue to support the students involved in this matter in a number of ways, including through the Office of Equity and Title IX. AUPD is working with the DC Metropolitan Police (MPD), including their sex crimes unit, and the investigation is ongoing.
Caring for our community is a priority, including anyone who is affected or traumatized by this incident. We understand this incident continues to negatively impact the community and we are focused on the safety and well-being of community members. This webpage will provide the latest information.
A joint AUPD and MPD investigation was immediately initiated and has been ongoing since the incident occurred in the early morning of October 31. The evidence collected at the scene, including DNA swabs and fingerprint recovery, has been sent for forensic examination. That process requires additional time to receive results, as it works through agencies and organizations outside the university.
The students reporting the incident and several witnesses have been interviewed. Information received from the community through emails and the tip line has been assessed within the investigation. Video from the extensive on-campus security camera system has been reviewed and segments relevant to the investigation have been preserved and cataloged. The investigators assigned to the case continue to work collaboratively to identify persons of interest and follow up on all leads. Together, we are moving as quickly as possible to bring the case to resolution.
Title IX Process
American University’s Office of Equity and Title IX oversees our efforts to prevent and respond to discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault. Its responsibilities include formal and informal complaint resolution, training, and prevention and awareness programming. The office is responsible for the implementation of the Discrimination and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy.
Once a complaint is filed with the Office of Equity and Title IX, outreach is made to the person who experienced the harm (the complainant). Informational meetings are held to gather additional details on the matter. Supportive measures are offered to the individuals, which can include communication with the students’ faculty members to coordinate excused absences or other steps to assist with their studies, coordination with Residence Life about the opportunity to move to another residence hall room if desired, and prioritized counseling services from the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services. This chart outlines the possible paths the Office of Equity and Title IX can take to resolve a complaint, including informal and formal resolution. This work is trauma-informed so the individuals are supported through the process.
Importantly, a Title IX complaint cannot move into the informal or formal resolution phase until an alleged perpetrator (called a respondent in this process) is officially identified.
Until there is a named perpetrator for the complaint, the Office of Equity and Title IX’s work focuses on supporting the affected students in partnership with other campus offices. Any results of the AUPD/MPD investigation that identify potential perpetrators will be provided to the Office of Equity and Title IX for the complaint process. Actions may also be pursued under the university’s student conduct code if applicable.
To submit a report, file a complaint, or identify a concern regarding existing complaints, community members can submit information online. If you have additional questions or concerns, you can email the Office of Equity & Title IX at email@example.com or call 202-885-8080.
Student Support and Resources
We continue to support the students involved in this matter in a number of ways, including through the Office of Equity and Title IX. We are committed to the privacy of the people involved, and we understand that individual students may pursue support services at different times and that their personal situations can evolve, so our team continues to follow up with them. The Office of Equity and Title IX works with the Provost’s office and the academic affairs departments to coordinate academic support services. Additionally, the Office of Campus Life, including Residential Life and Housing, is working with the students involved in the matter and the broader communities in the residence halls, including hosting discussions and providing resources.
Campus support resources are also available for any member of the community. The Center of Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services is committed to supporting students. The Center for Well-Being Programs offers free, confidential victim advocacy services to all students who are affected by sexual violence, interpersonal violence (dating or domestic violence), and stalking. Students can contact the 24-hour AU ProtoCall line at 202-885-7979 or the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services at 202-885-3500. Both services are prepared to support student needs in this matter. Students living in the residence halls can reach the community director on call at their hall’s front desk. Faculty and staff can contact the BHS Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at 800-327-2251 or on the MyBHS portal.
The safety of our community is a top priority and any incident that affects students in the residence halls that are their home at American University is treated with the highest importance. Violence, including any form of sexual assault, is not acceptable and incidents such as this are never the victim’s fault. Security remains enhanced around Leonard Hall, with AUPD patrols and the continuous placement of an AUPD vehicle and personnel between Leonard and Cassell halls.
Campus safety services, including the Rave Guardian Safety app and campus escort services, are available to support the community.
As we work together to keep the community safe, it is important to follow good safety practices. Be aware of your surroundings and do not leave your doors unlocked. When entering residence halls, make sure to tap your AUID and show it to the front desk staff. Do not let anyone follow you into your residence halls or office area, and do not admit anyone unless they are your guest.
Title IX Reports: Use this incident report form to submit a report, file a complaint, or identify a concern.
Student Support: Students can contact the 24-hour AU ProtoCall line at 202-885-7979 or the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services at 202-885-3500.
Campus Safety: Safety services, including the Rave Guardian Safety app and campus escort services, are available.