UR responds to student saying athlete accused of rape was protected

HENRICO, Va. –  A University of Richmond student claims that university officials allowed an athlete who  raped her to remain at the school.

Cecilia Carreras wrote about the alleged assault in the Huffington Post, in which she said the assault happened at an off-campus house in summer 2015.

She told CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns that she came forward because she`s concerned  that there is a culture of silence surrounding sexual violence at the UR campus.

Carreras wants other survivors on campus to be able to come forward and feel they`ll be treated the right way.

She maintains that she did not give consent for sex, and that her attacker admitted to “hearing the victim tell him to stop.”

Yet, she said despite that, the athlete was allowed to remain at the school and continue playing for U.R.

Carreras said she has asked the Department of Education for a Title IX investigation into how the university handled her case.

The accusations come at a time when the university is already under federal investigation in a separate Title IX case.

College officials responded with a statement, that can be read in its entirety below.

“To be clear: we stand against sexual misconduct," the university said. "As individuals and as a University, we are committed to responding actively to reports and supporting our students.”

“While we cannot address specifically the contentions in the recent Huffington Post commentary, given our commitment to student privacy, and we respect the right of all students to express their opinion and discuss their perspective, we think it is important for us to share that many of the assertions of fact are inaccurate and do not reflect the manner in which reports of sexual misconduct have been investigated and adjudicated at the University.”

Freshman Mir Sultan read the article and said that the campus has a close-knit feel , which makes the allegations troubling.

“I mean it`s deeply disturbing,” Sultan said.  “Not just for me, but for any woman on campus or for anybody.  To think that such a thing is a harsh reality on campus.”

Law student Ekiesha Simmon said she sees posters on campus that encourage students to report sexual violence a little differently, in light of Carreras allegations.

“Upsetting if at the same time as advocating for the victim you are letting her accuser, or his accuser, go free,” Simmon said.

“We wish to reiterate several fundamental points: all students should continue to report any instances of sexual misconduct; all community members should continue to support survivors and others affected, through their words and their actions; and all students can and should expect that reports of sexual misconduct will be investigated and adjudicated thoroughly, fairly, and equitably.”

The full statement from university officials:

We have come together today to write to you because we were deeply saddened to read in a

commentary in the Huffington Post yesterday about the pain felt by one of our students, and to

hear echoes of that pain from other community members. Some of you have reached out to us,

and we are grateful that you have done so – we are here to listen and provide help and support.

Federal law prevents us from sharing details that would allow individuals, and the community as

a whole, to have a full understanding of any specific report. We understand that this is difficult,

and we wish to provide some clarity while respecting our legal and ethical obligations to protect

the privacy of our students.

To be clear: we stand against sexual misconduct. As individuals and as a University, we are

committed to responding actively to reports and supporting our students. We are equally

committed to education and prevention, including supporting peer programs such as Spiders for

Spiders. Sexual misconduct is an issue that affects all campuses across the nation, and we are

working to care for those affected and to reduce instances here at the University of Richmond,

with the goal of eliminating sexual misconduct altogether. To do that, we need your continued

help: we must all join together in embracing our shared values, our expectations for our

community, and how we handle reports and support each other.

We wish to reiterate several fundamental points: all students should continue to report any

instances of sexual misconduct; all community members should continue to support survivors

and others affected, through their words and their actions; and all students can and should expect

that reports of sexual misconduct will be investigated and adjudicated thoroughly, fairly, and

equitably.

While we cannot address specifically the contentions in the recent Huffington Post commentary,

given our commitment to student privacy, and we respect the right of all students to express their

opinion and discuss their perspective, we think it is important for us to share that many of the

assertions of fact are inaccurate and do not reflect the manner in which reports of sexual

misconduct have been investigated and adjudicated at the University.

We would also like to make clear our activities regarding the Coordinator of Sexual Misconduct

Education and Prevention position. We are in the process of filling the position for the remainder

of the grant and expect to have someone in place next month. As a result of the grant, we have

learned much and we plan to continue to integrate what we have learned into our staffing and

programs, so that we support students, respond thoroughly to reports, and continue work to

prevent all sexual misconduct on our campus.

This is important work. More than 30 staff and faculty members collaborate annually to educate

about and prevent sexual misconduct through our investigative, adjudicative, and educational

initiatives. We are committed as individuals and as a community to accomplishing this work in a

supportive, caring, and impartial manner. We are proud of our students, including our student

leaders, Spiders for Spiders, and the many others who have united in these community efforts.

Through this message we ask the whole campus to continue our work as a community.

Tomorrow evening the campus community will gather in the Alice Haynes Room at 6:30, for the

annual It Ends Now: A Culture of Shared Responsibility. Representatives of several campus

organizations will speak, and we will be there in support and solidarity. We hope to see you

there. We will continue to alert you to other events we have planned, and also invite you to reach

out to meet with us, to share other ideas, and to get involved. It is only through the shared efforts

of our entire community, and open dialogue, that we can make a difference in our community.

Our sexual misconduct policy and standards of student conduct clearly define prohibited

behaviors and community expectations, provide different ways to report violations and concerns,

and explain the processes for investigation and disciplinary actions. You can find them at

http://richmond.edu/sexualmisconduct and http://studentdevelopment.richmond.edu/studenthandbook/

index.html. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us, or any of the resources

listed on these pages, with questions or concerns. We really want to hear from you, and we are

here to help.