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Williams College’s President Defends Response to Alleged Sexual Assault

Adam F. Falk, president of Williams College, released on Monday a statement asserting that his institution had in recent years strengthened its policies for responding to alleged sexual assaults, and defending the college’s handling of such allegations. The statement followed an article, published by the Boston radio station WBUR, that raised questions about how the college had reacted to a former student’s case.

The former student, Lexie Brackenridge, and her family criticized how Williams had handled her allegation that she was assaulted by a member of the Williams men’s hockey team in 2012. She said her assailant had been suspended for three semesters, but she decided to transfer after learning that she and a friend had been assigned housing with the hockey team during her sophomore year.

Mr. Falk said that Williams was “absolutely committed to adhering to our established written processes for all allegations of sexual assault.” Those processes, he added, “include firm commitments of confidentiality, even in the face of public discussion of individual cases and controversy for the college.”

Mr. Falk said that, “for reasons both legal and moral,” the college was “committed to the thorough investigation of any allegation of retaliation or harassment. We are confident that, throughout our handling of the case in question, we adhered to all of our policies and to all applicable laws, including our policies on the provision of housing for the survivor, and we investigated fully and promptly any allegation of retaliation or harassment. Even in an environment in which there is public discussion of this case, our own legal and ethical commitments of confidentiality make it impossible for Williams to address the particulars in any detail.”

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