Dear USF Community,
Recently, there have been multiple posts on social media alleging incidents of sexual violence involving former and current University of South Florida students and some of our student organizations. I am deeply troubled by these serious allegations and have personally confirmed that these cases are under review by the university offices that are best positioned and trained to respond. Our processes are intended to provide support and resources to victims and also the level of due process rights all of us would expect to receive.
In light of the information recently shared on social media, I believe it’s important for us to reexamine our processes and outreach initiatives to ensure that we are responding effectively to allegations of sexual violence. Therefore, I have asked for a review of our internal processes to reinforce what we are doing well and identify where we can improve. Our policies and procedures must reflect our values, which start with the belief that all members of our community should be treated with respect so they may learn and work in a safe and comfortable environment. Sexual violence, harassment and discrimination are antithetical to the values in our Principles of Community.
Our Office of Student Success will be reaching out to fraternity and sorority leaders, Student Government and other student groups to reaffirm our expectations and our goal to have campuses free of sexual violence. The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity (DIEO) will be in contact with our Greek Life system to collaborate on developing, designing and carrying out a climate assessment. I have also been engaged with Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly and he is committed to continuing to seek proactive measures and training opportunities with student-athletes, coaches and staff.
USF will continue to provide a range of education and training programs designed to help prevent sexual violence, raise awareness and encourage reporting of any incidents. We are committed to informing our community of available help and resources, including Title IX reporting through DIEO, the confidential Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention, University Police, the USF Counseling Center and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
Sexual violence, harassment and discrimination are all significant issues facing our society. As a university, our mission is to respond to these challenges seriously with innovative solutions and due process.
Steven C. Currall
President and Professor