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UW’s Commitment to Safety
October 15, 2010 — Recently, the University of Wyoming has become aware of two alleged sexual assaults that have taken place in the same location, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
Let me be clear: sexual assault is a vile crime. Violence of any kind conflicts with every purpose of a university and will not be tolerated at the University of Wyoming. UW takes any complaint of sexual assault extremely seriously; the safety of every member of our community is my paramount concern.
Few can fully comprehend what a victim of sexual assault goes through, and I won't presume to speak for either victim of the alleged sexual assaults. At this point, the university community must provide steadfast compassion for them and for any victim of crime on campus.
Right now, the UW Police Department is gathering information and conducting a careful and thorough investigation of the facts available. UW police will continue to conduct this, and all university investigations, with the appropriate level of sensitivity and confidentiality.
UW police are speaking to the members of the fraternity. If members of SAE or anyone else has information, they have a legal and ethical obligation to fully share this with law enforcement.
I believe strongly that prevention is the strongest weapon we have against violence. At UW, we have a commitment to education and training for all members of our community. At the start of every academic year and regularly throughout it, UW provides many safety trainings and outreach. Those trainings cover topics ranging from alcohol awareness to recognizing domestic violence, and from stalking to sexual assault and abuse. They are delivered by experts - both counselors and police - as well as trained peer educators.
UW's resources include training on how to recognize violent situations, what to do when violence is reported, and when to refer people to the University Counseling Center. This university offers confidential counseling and support around the clock, and I hope any student in need will take advantage of those professional services. The Dean of Students Office and UW Residential Life provide additional services, support, and resources.
Beyond the training is the infrastructure we've provided. The campus is equipped with emergency blue phones that connect directly with the UW Police Department. UW police officers patrol regularly and respond to calls for help.
We have had questions about the advisory that was sent out earlier this week. It was sent to alert members of the UW community that we had information that alleged dangerous acts had been reported to the local hospital by two people who wished to remain anonymous. We have an obligation to our students, faculty, and staff to give them the information they need to make good decisions about their safety.
UW Police Chief Troy Lane and I strongly encourage anyone who wants to report a sexual assault to know they can do it in complete confidence, and that filing charges is not a requirement.
UW will continue to use every available resource to ensure our campus community and visitors can take steps to prevent sexual assault at the University of Wyoming. Become familiar with our prevention and counseling services. Be aware of your surroundings. Use good sense when you are at social events. Trust your instincts. If you see something that troubles you, report it. If something troubling happens to you, report it.
The safety and security of every member of the UW community is my highest concern.