Statement regarding student conduct issue and social media posts

In light of recent social media posts regarding a student conduct issue at Marshall University, President Jerome A. Gilbert today issued the following statement:

"Due to federal student privacy laws, we are limited about what we can say regarding the circumstances of any specific student conduct case; however, with regard to the case that has been widely discussed on social media over the last couple of days, I want to be absolutely clear that Marshall University does not condone or ‘cover up’ sexual assault. The safety of our students is one of our primary obligations.

"The university has a Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the specific process outlined in that code for student disciplinary issues is being followed in this case, as it is in any student conduct case. Both parties in a student conduct case have the right to appeal a decision and that process also is clearly defined in the code.

"Campus conduct proceedings are not substitutes for criminal prosecution, and Title IX federal law does not allow us to wait until a criminal case is decided to hold a student conduct hearing.

"As for reports the university has failed to treat this and past incidents with adequate transparency or seriousness, I want to affirm my commitment that my administration and this university will treat sexual misconduct and violence with the utmost gravity, while respecting the rights of all parties.

"We send timely warning notices to the university community any time an assault is reported and provide every possible resource to any student who brings forward allegations. No student will be discouraged from reporting offenses or from the right to due process.

"To make certain we are doing everything we can to ensure that our procedures for handling cases are fair and sensitive, and that our decisions protect the welfare of our entire community, I am ordering a review be conducted this summer of all university practices and procedures intended to keep our campus community safe—including those in the student code of conduct.

"Anyone who has specific information that the integrity of a student conduct process has been compromised should contact my office or the Office of Student Affairs directly.

"We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive steps to make sure the entire Marshall family feels secure and welcome."

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Additional Information

  • Resources are available on and off campus to provide assistance to anyone who believes they have been a victim of a sexual offense.
  • To report a sexual assault, contact the police immediately. Campus police can be contacted at 304-696-4357. Huntington police can be contacted at 911 or directly at 304-696-4470.
  • Victims of any form of sexual assault are encouraged to seek support and can obtain information from the Marshall University Women’s Center at 304-696-3338 or through CONTACT Rape Crisis Center at 304-399-1111.
  • For information about sexual assault services available to the university community, visit marshall.edu/wcenter.