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Georgetown Faculty Seek Transparency on Legal Issues

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Georgetown University professors are expressing concern over the way the private university handled recent allegations against several men’s basketball players.

WUSA9, a CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C., acquired a letter sent to Georgetown University President John DeGioia on Thursday by 68 faculty members. The letter states that the faculty is “deeply concerned” with how the university has handled the allegations of assault, sexual misconduct and intimidation.

"The silence from university leadership in the past week illuminates the reasons for students' lack of confidence, which can only be counteracted with a clear statement immediately," the letter reads. "We write to demand a review of Athletics Department and all extracurricular units’ policies and procedures to make them commensurate with those for faculty and staff.”

Court records obtained by ESPN showed that a Georgetown student filed a restraining order against Georgetown players Josh LeBlanc and Galen Alexander on Nov. 5, while the student’s roommate filed a separate restraining order against LeBlanc, Alexander and Myron Gardner on Nov. 12.

“In response to an alleged burglary that I believe Joshua LeBlanc committed against me on September 16, 2019, Joshua threatened bodily harm against myself and my roommate,” the first complaint read, according to ESPN. “He continued to threaten me verbally and via text message in the following week.”

The individual who filed the second request said that Gardner sexually harassed and assaulted her on Sept. 15, also alleging that Garner, LeBlanc and Alexander burglarized her home Sept. 16. ESPN reported that complaints were also filed with the Georgetown University Police Department and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington.

Head basketball coach Patrick Ewing announced Dec. 2 that LeBlanc and James Akinjo are no longer with the team. Athletic director Lee Reed clarified the following day that both players were looking to transfer, and that Akinjo isn’t involved in the legal complaints.

“We make this statement with the full understanding that the facts of recent events are still not entirely known,” the faculty letter reads. “We urge our students, colleagues, and administration to take seriously the need for greater transparency as a gesture of unconditional support for all our students as the procedural part of the process unfolds.”

The letter stressed support for the survivors of assault, citing that “35.8% of Georgetown University undergraduate women and 59.8% undergraduate men reported it was likely or extremely likely that the university would take their reports of sexual assault and misconduct seriously.”

Alexander and Gardner have continued to play. Alexander, a junior, is averaging 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game this season. Gardner, a freshman, is averaging 3.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in 9.8 minutes.

“Please know that we are deeply committed to the integrity of our athletics program,” Reed’s Dec. 3 statement said, noting that Georgetown doesn’t comment on individual students but takes conduct issues seriously. “All student athletes are required to complete a four-tiered education model on interpersonal violence and sexual assault. Coach Ewing has taken additional steps to ensure a culture of responsibility and integrity within our Men’s Basketball Team.”

The school, through associate vice president for strategic communications Megan Dubyak, made another statement Thursday when WUSA9 reached out for comment. Dubyak stressed that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act “prevents us from commenting on any student cases going through Georgetown’s own Student Conduct process." 

"We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment that supports students who come forward to report misconduct," Dubyak’s email said. "We are also committed to ensuring a fair and equitable process for adjudicating complaints made to the University. Student-athletes are subject to the same disciplinary policies and procedures contained in the Code of Student Conduct that apply to any undergraduate or graduate student.

"Georgetown University has a longstanding commitment to preventing and addressing sexual assault and misconduct through comprehensive trainings, programs and engagement with the campus community. The university will continue to promote and focus on supporting survivors, and comprehensive educational training and prevention programs." 

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