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Message to Students Regarding Sexual Assault


I’d like to follow up on reports you have received from the College’s Dept. of Safety & Security, Dean Martha Denney and your student government leadership regarding the sexual assault that occurred here over the weekend.

First and foremost, please know that the health and well-being of all members of our community is our greatest concern. Like you, we are profoundly upset by this event and have been working to review all aspects of campus security, both in the specific sense (secure buildings, well-lighted facilities and responsive services), but also with respect to campus policies, procedures and activities which collectively contribute to an environment that is safe for all.

Although facts of the incident are still emerging, what we know so far underscores our acute need as a community to do all we can to safeguard our welfare, particularly in the context of our individual and group behavior at parties and other social events. Please, please, be careful what you drink; please, please, be mindful around people you don’t know even though you are meeting them in places that feel familiar.

The weekend’s incident also underscores, in my view, the value in continuing the ongoing campus-wide dialogue regarding how we can all contribute to safeguarding every individual’s welfare, as well as the security of the community as a whole. In short, what can each of us do to promote safety and well-being?

To that end, we in College administration will be intensifying our work with your student leadership with the goal of identifying opportunities for engagement and, wherever possible, improvement. You can help by sharing your thoughts with your Deans as well as representatives from relevant student service organizations.

You can also assist Haverford Township police in their investigation by passing along anything you saw or heard over the weekend that might help them learn more about the incident. Tom King and Nora Nelle, from Safety & Security, can be reached at 610-896-1111; Detective Steve Laughlin of the Haverford Township police is at 610-853-1298 (Ext. 239). Information can also be conveyed anonymously via the township’s tipline, 610-853-1298 (Ext. 847). Please do not hesitate to reach out, even if you don’t think your information is particularly helpful; it may prove to be a vital piece of a bigger puzzle.

Thank you for refraining from speculation that may compromise the privacy of the student in question. As Dean Denney and your student leadership have pointed out, College and student-run counseling services are available to anyone wishing to discuss concerns arising from this report.

In my experience, communities become stronger by directly confronting adversity, and I have every confidence that we can meet and overcome any challenge if we work together.


The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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