Zero Tolerance for Sexual Violence

September 6, 2012

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A message from Darrell Darnell, Peter Konwerski and Terri Harris Reed.

Welcome to the start of the 2012-13 academic year. Having just concluded Labor Day weekend, we thought it a good time to remind students of the George Washington University about the risks and serious consequences of sexual assault, as well as the policies and procedures in place to educate our community about sexual misconduct.

In just the first few days of the semester, the George Washington University Police Department responded to several alleged incidents of sexual assault of students. The university has offered support to them from our Sexual Assault Crisis Consultation (SACC) team. These students were also offered counseling and health services. 

Students and parents should be mindful of the prevalence of sexual assault among college students and of the fact that more than 50 percent of all reported sexual assault cases nationally involve alcohol, as was the case in these reported instances. Alcohol-related sexual assault is an all-too-common occurrence, but the presence of alcohol is never an excuse for engaging in or not reporting non-consensual sexual activity.

A person’s ability to give or withhold consent can be a factor in determining whether an incident constitutes sexual assault and criminal behavior. It is easy to let your guard down and assume it will not happen to you. Do not take chances. ALWAYS be proactive and vigilant in circumstances involving alcohol. For recommendations about steps individuals should consider in order to minimize the risk of sexual assault, refer to the list provided at

We urge all students to think before they act. The consequences of these actions are serious and far-reaching. 

As the university’s code of student conduct makes clear, violence of any kind, including sexual abuse and sexual harassment, will not be tolerated on or off university premises. Any student, group or organization found to have committed misconduct is subject to disciplinary action. For more information on the university’s code of conduct visit:

GW is committed to maintaining a positive climate for study and work, in an atmosphere that is free from coercion, intimidation and violence. Sexual harassment and discrimination, including sexual violence, is destructive and will not be tolerated in our university community.

Let us work together to ensure that 2012-13 is a safe and productive year. 

Darrell Darnell
Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security  

Peter Konwerski
Senior Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs

Terri Harris Reed
Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator