Recent Incidents of Harassment

To: W&L Students, Faculty and Staff
From: President Will Dudley
Date: Oct. 2, 2020

When I wrote yesterday thanking you for creating community despite the challenges of the pandemic, I did not anticipate needing to write again so soon. But I was dismayed and angered last night to read the notice from Public Safety regarding a racist slur directed at an outdoor class from the occupant of a passing car. This incident is the latest in a troubling trend of student harassment within the city of Lexington in recent weeks.

We take pride in our location, and in our relationships with the communities of Lexington and Rockbridge County, so it is especially concerning to receive a number of similar reports in a short period of time. Some of these events have been racially motivated. Others have been based on gender. There is no excuse for our students, faculty, or staff to be the targets of harassment of any kind, either on- or off-campus. We are working closely with law enforcement to investigate these incidents as they occur and want to make you aware of the resources available to our community.

Our Public Safety staff are available around the clock to provide assistance and support, including personal safety escorts upon request. Please download the LiveSafe App, which provides direct access to safety resources, and review the other resources available on the Get Help Now pages for students and employees. Concerning activity should be reported immediately to the Department of Public Safety (540-458-8999) or the Lexington Police Department (911 or 540-463-9177). University Counseling staff are available to students in need of mental health resources, and employees have access to similar resources through the Carilion Employee Assistance Program.

Every single one of us deserves to feel safe and welcome at W&L and in the surrounding area. Harassment is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it. W&L is committed to being a community in which all of our members can thrive. Thank you for joining me in resolving to make that a reality.