Officials at Mary Baldwin University are calling on the campus community to come forward with any information regarding the recent string of harassing behavior faced by several students at the college.
In early February, verbal conflicts between students led to the college administrations’ enforcement of punishments that ranged from a formal letter of apology to the removal of a student from campus housing and the withdrawal of one student from the college. The Dean of Students Office is currently sanctioning two students.
Last week, a few students began reporting incidents of threatening phone calls and emails. At that point, the Staunton Police Department was informed, and a criminal investigation was launched. Extra security officers were immediately assigned to the campus and security escorts were offered to students who were receiving threats.
On Wednesday, President Cynthia H. Tyson issued a letter to all students and the Dean of Students Office also sent an email and memo concerning the incidents.
“People cannot behave this way at Mary Baldwin University. Our ideals and values are clearly stated in our code of conduct.* We will do everything in our power to discover the identity of those who have violated our standards and will hold them accountable through judicial and administrative processes,” said President Cynthia H. Tyson.
Early Sunday morning a student, who chose to be unescorted by campus security, was hit with an object thrown out of a passing car window. Campus security and the Staunton Police Department responded immediately, and the student was taken to the emergency room. The young woman sustained minor physical injury to her face and was released.
“Our students’ safety and well-being is of the utmost importance,” said Heather Wilson, dean of students. “This type of behavior is intolerable at Mary Baldwin and we are working with the entire campus community and the local authorities to apprehend the offenders.”
An investigator from the Staunton Police Department has been assigned to the Mary Baldwin cases and will begin on Monday, February 21. The presence of the investigator will begin a more aggressive phase of the investigation. City police are also increasing their automobile patrol of the campus.
Resident assistants (RAs) met with college officials on Sunday to discuss the early morning incident. RAs met with the students in the residence halls and explained the situation and what methods the college is implementing to deal with the situation. Advisories have been emailed to the campus, and flyers have been posted regarding the situation.
In addition to the faculty and staff support being offered to all the students, the college is also offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s) involved in the recent harassments. A campus email address has been set up for students to send tips and information to as well.
Mary Baldwin is also working with Crime Stoppers, a non-profit organization that brings together law enforcement and the community in a joint effort to solve crime. Anyone with information is encouraged to call 1-800-322-2017. You need not give your name. The Staunton community is also encouraged to call, especially those who reside near the college who may have seen or heard any information that may be useful to the investigation.
*Mary Baldwin CODE OF CONDUCT
Mary Baldwin University is a community of scholars in which there is an atmosphere of learning, as well as a sense of community. The College prides itself upon the principles of academic integrity, self-respect, and individual responsibility.
A student who enrolls in the College assumes an obligation to conduct herself in a manner compatible with these principles and to see that her guests observe them at all times. Misconduct will be handled by the Judicial Board, the hall community, and/or the administration of the College.
- Mary Baldwin students are expected to refrain from verbal or written abuse, such as intimidation, coercion, and harassment, which beyond a reasonable expression of opinion is likely to cause another person in the campus community harm. Intimidation, coercion, and harassment can include but are not limited to attacking verbally or in a written form a community member’s religion, race, creed, sexual orientation, social class, disability, or national origin.
- Students are prohibited from assaulting, striking, or in any other way threatening or causing harm to another member of the Mary Baldwin Community.
- Students shall be held responsible for destroying or vandalizing property in the care of or belonging to the College, or to a member of the College community, or to a campus visitor.
- It is a student’s responsibility to comply with decisions by members of the faculty, administration, staff or elected or appointed student officers of the College when said officials are acting in performance of their duties.
- A student shall comply with any disciplinary sanctions imposed upon her by the Judicial Board and/or Honor Council.
- All students are expected to refrain from conduct off-campus that adversely affects her standing as a member of the College community or is detrimental to the interests of the College.
- When visiting other colleges and universities, Mary Baldwin students are expected to comply with their regulation applying to social activities, personnel, and property.
- Students shall refrain from intentionally interfering with and/or disrupting educational activities.