Update: Improving safety at the U

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, please know that it is not your fault and there are resources to support you.

Last week, a campus safety notification was emailed to all students, faculty and staff regarding a sexual assault at one of the University of Utah’s fraternity houses. The university issued a warning based on the university’s interpretation of the Clery Act. Since that time, we have received an additional report, this one anonymous, of a previous sexual assault in early December at another fraternity house. This anonymous report, submitted to our OEO office, has also been shared with Salt Lake City Police.

Clery safety notifications are intended to alert the campus community of imminent threats to safety so individuals can make the best safety decisions for themselves. Sometimes, they can prompt other potential victim-survivors or witnesses to come forward to report additional incidents of sexual violence, but the details in these alerts also can re-traumatize survivors of sexual assault. It takes great courage to report these crimes, and we encourage survivors to reach out in the wake of these notifications for support from friends, victim advocates, counselors and/or law enforcement.

We stand with these survivors. If you are a survivor of sexual assault, please know that it is not your fault and there are resources to support you.

  • Students, faculty, and staff can contact the university’s confidential victim-survivor advocates. Call 801-581-7776 or email advocate@sa.utah.edu.
  • For immediate support, call 801-585-2677 and ask to speak to an on-call crisis support specialist.

Recently, university leaders acted in response to the two sexual assaults reported in fraternity houses:

  • All social activity at the University of Utah’s fraternity and sorority chapters has been suspended for two weeks. Philanthropic and business operations may continue in the chapter houses, but social gatherings are not allowed.
  • Meetings with the leaders of the fraternity and sorority community have been initiated to discuss these incidents, the culture in their organizations, and the next steps for improving safety, accountability and transparency within the community.

Fraternities and sororities have operated adjacent to our campus for more than 100 years. These independent organizations have been allowed to affiliate with the university with the understanding that they will serve the greater good of the campus community—building leadership, service and community engagement skills among their members.

We appreciate their continued partnership and collaboration as we work together to improve the safety of our University of Utah community.

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