You are here: American University President Announcements April 21, 2014 Memo

AU Memo Letterhead

Memorandum April 21, 2014

AU Community
Neil Kerwin, President
Student Conduct

Members of our campus community have been alerted through anonymous emails to student conduct allegations that demand the university's immediate attention. The allegations include high risk and harmful behaviors that not only conflict with our values and standards, but also may represent breaches of our student conduct code and of the law.

The emails discuss alleged behaviors by a group that is not recognized by the university. A group by the same name lost national and university recognition 13 years ago, in 2001.

That these alleged behaviors may have occurred within our community reminds us that we are not immune from the problems that have occurred on campuses across the country.

I am determined that we use this disturbing situation as an opportunity to reinforce and uphold the values and standards of this university.

What AU is doing

I assure you that the university is taking the information contained in the emails very seriously. We are taking swift and deliberate action to investigate every one of the alleged behaviors and will apply our student conduct code to its fullest extent.

In addition, we are working closely with appropriate law enforcement agencies on any potential criminal activities that are found.

We will communicate as circumstances warrant, and we will continue to promote the highest level of awareness on our campus about student conduct, the behaviors identified in the emails, and the role and responsibilities of fraternities and sororities in our community.

What AU cannot do

Many in our campus community are also outraged by the alleged behaviors and are calling for specific actions and a high level of transparency by the university. However, the university is bound by regulations and statutes regarding the disclosure of names and disciplinary and other actions taken with students and with law enforcement.

We will be as transparent as we can be, but we will not jeopardize due process and the rights of individual privacy. We ask you to understand and respect the university's governance and legal responsibilities.

Next Steps

This situation cannot be viewed as an isolated set of circumstances. It raises broader concerns about student conduct and high risk and harmful behaviors.

Over the ensuing weeks and months, we will review with the community the steps we have taken to educate and address such issues and solicit ideas about what else might be effective in curtailing dangerous, damaging and illegal behaviors.

Vice President of Campus Life Gail Hanson will communicate soon regarding this matter.