UR students react to school’s handling of alleged sex assault

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Students at the University of Richmond said it seems like everyone on campus is talking about the article published in the Huffington Post Tuesday describing one student’s alleged sexual assault.

In the article, a University of Richmond student claims when she reported her rape, the school mishandled the situation and protected the student-athlete she accused.

The school sent a campus-wide email in response on Wednesday, but for some students, that email just wasn’t enough.

“It really wasn’t an apology,” junior Maggie Johnson told 8News Reporter Tracey Smith.

Johnson said she was expecting more from the university after hearing about the sexual assault victim’s claims.

“It was just kind of like a, ‘well here’s our side of the story,’ but at the same time really discrediting this woman’s article and her side of the story,” Johnson said. “It was really sad, honestly.”

The email from the school stated 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.”

Now, students are questioning what would happen if they were attacked and were to report it.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know if I would trust the university to handle it in a satisfactory way,” Johnson said.

“It could have been one of my friends,” added sophomore Julia Wall. “It could have been me even, and to know the school wasn’t behind this victim is very alarming and scary.”

This story also has students wondering if their school is actually there to protect everyone, or just its student-athletes.

“It’s really disgusting to me that they have this extra protection and this school is willing to put their athletics before the safety of the students,” Wall said.

While some students feel the university talks a lot about preventing sexual assault, the real problem, they say, is how it reacts to it.

“I think the real redemption will come from how they handle future cases,” said Johnson.

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