August 13, 2015

Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,

I write to make you aware that yesterday afternoon the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released updated information about 130 institutions of higher education with pending sexual assault complaints. We were informed that a second complaint had been filed regarding Hobart and William Smith. We take all allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously and I pledge the Colleges' full cooperation as the OCR moves forward in its examination of this matter.

Hobart and William Smith are committed to building and maintaining an academic environment free from sexual misconduct in all its forms. As a community of faculty, staff and students, we have worked tirelessly and in collaboration with alumni, alumnae and national experts to ensure that our resources and processes are effective, accessible, fair and equitable, and that all individuals are treated with dignity.

Consistent with our policies, the Colleges provide access to campus, community, medical and law enforcement resources; we take necessary protective measures before, during and after the investigation and hearing process; we enact appropriate disciplinary actions; we prohibit retaliation against those who report misconduct; and importantly, we treat all involved with empathy and respect.

This complaint to OCR does not diminish the work we have accomplished nor will it slow our progress. As I wrote to you in May, this summer we welcomed Susan Lee as our Title IX Coordinator. Susan brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to campus and her leadership will be instrumental in maintaining our proactive initiatives. I am appreciative of these efforts and of the collective energy of so many who have worked to make certain that we are serving the needs of our community with integrity and compassion.

I trust you will not hesitate to contact me with any questions.


Mark D. Gearan



Share suggestions and ideas for change with Hobart and William Smith Colleges:

A student group, the Coalition of Concerned Students, is working to ensure that the Colleges are a safe environment for all students and are joining with the Colleges and the HWS Community for Change to enact policy and climate changes. The Coalition of Concerned Students can be reached at:

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