Student blasts U of Richmond officials on handling of sexual assault
- Inside Higher Ed reports on an escalating public feud between the University of Richmond and a student who says the school mishandled the reporting and sanctioning of a student she says sexually assaulted her.
- The student suggests that campus police and university officials called her a liar and accused her of exaggerated claims against the athlete.
- The student, who has filed a federal claim against the institution, says that text messages and emails from her alleged attacker and from university officials contribute to a culture of condoning or ignoring rape on campus.
This is an egregious example of the exact wrong way to win a public relations crisis in higher education. First, the University of Richmond likely violated certain FERPA rights in sending a campus email addressing the public claims made by a student, and will likely have to answer for what other students on campus are now likely to denounce and potentially protest as a campus which supports alleged rapists over survivors.
As was the case in the University of California crises, and at Baylor University, college leaders should learn that using force to defend against claims such as these never benefits the institution, and attacking students specifically never helps with earning support from key stakeholders. In fact, this strategy often yields the opposite effect, and may cost Richmond students, corporate support and legal fees as a result.
- Inside Higher Ed 'You called me a liar'