Statement regarding the recent sexual assault lawsuit

February 26, 2015

We have an obligation to protect our students—to educate them and create a safe and respectful campus experience. In the last few days I have heard from many of you and I have reflected on how to fulfill that mission while responding to a lawsuit against the university.

Today I decided that it is in the best interest of the university community to file an amended answer to the lawsuit that withdraws the counterclaims.

The university never intended to seek costs, fees, or damages against our student. With this action, we make that clear.

The focus on the counterclaims became a distraction from what we need to focus on, which is how to address the issue of sexual assault on our campus.

This situation goes well beyond legal issues—it’s about who we are as a campus and a society and how we treat one another. By dropping the counterclaims, my hope is that we can leave the legal matters to the court so we can dedicate our attention to the important work of preventing and responding to sexual violence.