By Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young
The safety and security of students at Texas A&M is our number one priority. As many of you are aware, the serious issue of sexual assault involving college students has intensified in recent online discussions, highlighting a problem that plagues universities across our country and here on campus as well.
This week we have heard from many inside and outside of the Aggie family about the issue of sexual assault and our campus. It is hard to see Aggies hurting. Our support team in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life has reached out to offer confidential help to individuals who have publicly self-identified. We have also contacted an Aggie-led group that has formed in support of others facing this issue and look forward to meeting with their representatives to listen to their concerns and suggestions. Additionally, we are reviewing policy recommendations shared by others.
Many of you were frustrated that the university could not provide specifics about cases in the media due to the federal FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) law. Federal law prohibits us from commenting on these cases. In any event, the real focus should be on how we can improve and better support and protect our students.
We are proud of the thousands of outstanding students, faculty and staff who participate in training and who take responsibility in contributing to a better climate. We are proud of dedicated staff behind the scenes who serve students in these extremely difficult circumstances with compassion and fairness. We appreciate courageous individuals who report.
We are fully engaged in renewed discussions about policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct and how they can be improved to the benefit of our students.
To that end, I have ordered comprehensive reviews to be conducted — one by an independent third-party; the other by an internal task force — that will test every step of our processes for safety, support, sensitivity, timeliness and fairness to all involved that meets the highest standards. We will continue to keep you informed as these efforts progress.
We encourage students wanting support to contact Student Assistance Services at (979) 845-3113 or by visiting the resource page.
This level of scrutiny is what we owe our students and their families, our faculty, staff and the Aggie family around the world. I encourage everyone to reach out to inform this process to help Texas A&M become everything it can and should be. We will be reading your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael K. Young