Message from President Knapp Regarding Sexual Assault

President underscores personal and university position in letter to members of the university community

August 29, 2014

Dear members of the George Washington University community:

A number of students, faculty members, and alumni have contacted me to express concerns about comments made recently by President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. I have been responding to these individuals personally and wanted to underscore for the entire community my views and the university’s position.

President Emeritus Trachtenberg is currently a member of the GW faculty. He is free, as an individual faculty member, to express his personal views. My responsibility as president is to make my own and the university’s position — and the steps the university is actually taking — as clear as I can.

My strongly held position is that sexual assault under any guise and regardless of the circumstances is utterly repugnant and unacceptable. In recent years, we have hired a Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and a Title IX Coordinator, and we are currently seeking a Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention and Student Advocacy. Together with others across the university, including many dedicated faculty members, students, and staff, this team is advancing our efforts to create a university culture in which every member of our community understands that sexual assault must not and will not be tolerated. Our work must focus unambiguously on ensuring that the university is fully supportive of the survivors of such acts and treats appropriately those who are found to have committed them.

Steven Knapp