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President Glotzbach Releases Official Statement on Campus Safety Officer’s Arrest & New Sexual Misconduct Prevention Initiatives

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Following the arrest of campus safety officer Robert Gardner on charges of sexual misconduct back in late June, President Phillip Glotzbach has sent out a series of emails regarding the incident. What with this being a concern for many alumni, parents, and others not presently on the student email list, the official statement on Gardner’s arrest can be read below.

To Members of the Skidmore Community:

Earlier today, I announced a number of new steps we are taking to expand our response to the issue of gender-based and sexual misconduct. This issue afflicts not only higher education but also the larger communities in which we live, and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure the safety of every member of our community.

Given the heightened sense of concern regarding this issue, I believe it important to update you on an incident that occurred earlier this summer. We were dismayed to learn that a member of our Campus Safety staff was arrested for an alleged sexual abuse. He was off-duty at the time, the events in question occurred off campus, and the other person was unrelated to the College. The employee was immediately suspended, banned from campus, and no longer works at the College.

It is our usual practice not to comment on individual personnel matters; however, these allegations are a matter of public record. As we begin the new academic year, I want to assure you that the College responded immediately and appropriately as soon as we were notified of the incident.

As always, we have been cooperating with local authorities and appreciate their continued efforts in helping to keep our community safe.

Sincerely,

Pg

Philip A. Glotzbach
President

Shortly before–as mentioned in the statement–President Glotzbach sent out an email to the student body outlining steps that the administration has taken to address the growing issue of sexual and gender-based misconduct on college campuses and “foster a campus climate of respect, care, and safety.”

These steps include the creation of a new comprehensive website on sexual and gender-based misconduct; three public forums to be held over the course of this upcoming semester; and an addition unto the New-Student Orientation of a new program entitled “The First 6 Weeks” that will “address a wide range of issues during this important transitional moment for students.”

I strongly encourage you to read through the email and peruse the new website, as it contains very thorough information on sexual misconduct, how to respond to any such misconduct, and what we as a community can do to address this important issue.

Dean Calhoun Addresses Robert Gardner’s Arrest

Monday, August 18th, 2014

After we emailed her yesterday asking for a comment on the recent arrest (and alleged firing) of Campus Safety Officer Robert Gardner, Dean of Students Rochelle Calhoun has responded and indicated that we will be hearing from President Glotzbach at some point this week. You can find her full response below. Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to get in contact with Dean Calhoun or any other college official on the whole affair.

Dear Skidmore Unofficial,

Thank you for your e-mail and the opportunity to address your concerns.

The College did address the incident involving a former employee immediately.  What we did not do was to immediately inform the Skidmore community that we had addressed the incident as it related to our campus.  What I want you to know is that the College takes issues of sexual and gender-based misconduct very seriously.  It is the seriousness with which we view this issue that has shaped our planned response.  We have been working on a comprehensive response to the community.  Our response to this important issue includes:

  • a clear message from the President about our institutional values and expectations
  • a new website that brings together information about our  revised policies and resources (both on-and off-campus)
  • an announcement of a series of open forums where we can come together as a community to discuss issues of sexual and gender-based misconduct and our shared community values
  • an update to the community about the incident this summer

You can anticipate receiving a letter from President Phil Glotzbach this week. We have been working diligently for some weeks now to be ready to get a message out to our community before the beginning of the new academic year.  Once you receive the letter, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any suggestions or concerns.

I appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.  I hope that we will continue to be engaged together in this important dialogue.

All the best,

W. Rochelle Calhoun
Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs