In the Fall 2004 Issue of IRIS, a well
written article entitled "Unwanted Advances: Broadening the
Conception of Sexual Assault" by Mary Vause contained the
"...Several women raised complaints against
the university administration's handling of sexual assault
matters. The web site mother, who requested anonymity, related how
in addition to the Commonwealth Attorney's refusal to take her
daughter's case because "you can't prosecute the young man for
being opportunistic," a woman at the UVA Office of the Dean of
Students also trivialized the assault. Allegedly she was told,
"Sometimes young girls in these situations call it rape to halt
the hurt and embarrassment that occurs when their parents find out
they've been having sex." and she even suggested that it may be
best for her daughter to "take time off" to get herself together.
Dean Penny Rue from the Office of the Dean of
Students said that she did not tolerate that kind of response from
any of her staff, and that the mother must have been
speaking with a university police officer when she called the
office. (The mother said she was quite sure, however, that she was
speaking with a dean.) Regardless, Dean Rue did concede that the
campus police are supposed to be trained in how to respond to
sexual assault survivors and their families."
The comment made by Dean Rue indicates that she
was unaware of the comments made to me. She lied to the journalist.
The Honor Code does not allow lying or cheating amongst students;
perhaps the Code does not apply to University employees.
Dean Rue made the
comments used in Mary's article to me on Monday, 15 March 2004, during a phone
conversation. I felt her comments were disrespectful and
unprofessional; within days I submitted a complaint to Vice President Lampkin's office.
The complaint was investigated by Attorney M. Wessel. Ms
Wessel never disputed that the conversation took place between Dean
Rue and myself exactly as I documented it. I also sent a note to
President Casteen to inform him of what had occurred. The University
did not take action against Dean Rue - which provides yet another example of
the way the University continues to trivialize the matter of sexual assault.
A Cavalier Daily Reporter also interviewed Dean
Rue about the comments mentioned above, and she responded with a
defamatory remark. The reporter notified me of the remark, but chose
not to print it.
Dean Rue's continued denial of our conversation shows an extreme lack of
integrity which her superiors appear to approve of. She has
also attempted to shift the "blame" for such comments to another University Branch - the UVA
Dean Rue's comments "that the campus police are
supposed to be trained in how to respond to sexual assault survivors
and their families" is an interesting twist since one of my complaints
is that the police mishandled the investigation. I have sent President
Casteen several requests to review the police handling of this case
yet he has ignored these requests. Neither the Dean
of Students nor the President of the University appear to be
concerned with the failure of the campus police to properly
investigate allegations of sexual
I am happy to report that the 2006 VA Legislature
passed HR1036, which mandates that all campus police must be trained
to standard by the summer of 2007. President Casteen, since you
weren't attentive, a bill has been passed to help boost your