Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
You may have seen a Sports Illustrated
story published online (and covered in social media) today that details reports of sexual misconduct among former members of the USF men's soccer program. Following our communications with the community about the independent investigation conducted in late 2020 and the resulting report released earlier this year, much in the story will be familiar to many of you.
The Sports Illustrated
story highlights serious harms that occurred within our USF community. I recognize the immense courage it takes for someone to speak about their experiences with sexual violence and misconduct. Thank you to those who have shared, reported, and spoken out. Thank you to those who are supporting someone who has experienced sexual violence and misconduct. The specific accounts by former students and survivors detailed in the story are heartbreaking and no one should have these experiences.
I applaud Sports Illustrated
for beginning its story with an editor’s note listing resources for survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence, and I remind you of the services and resources available to members of our own community – from CAPS
to Title IX
Sexual misconduct and sex and gender discrimination are not tolerated at USF and we take all allegations of sexual assault seriously. Whether occurring days or decades ago, on or off-campus, all reports of sexual misconduct
received by the university are investigated thoroughly.
In the summer of 2020, the university hired independent investigators (Hulst & Handler LLP). The entire USF community, including all alumni, were invited to participate in this investigation. During the six-month investigation, 120 individuals were contacted, and 90 agreed to be interviewed. The resulting 53-page report is available, in its entirety and unedited, on the university’s website
While the report did not find a pervasive culture of sexual misconduct among members of the soccer team, it did find that there were incidents of sexual misconduct among team members and instances when a breakdown in communication between administrators occurred, leading to a lack of trust within our community.
I acknowledge that, regardless of what was included in the report, hurt and mistrust exist in our community. We are committed to rebuilding that trust and creating a culture and community at USF that stands in firm and demonstrable opposition to sexual misconduct and acts of discrimination.
With new leadership, programs, policies, and additional staffing within the soccer program, Athletics, the Title IX office, CAPS, and beyond, change is taking place as we work together to ensure students, faculty, and staff are held accountable to community standards.
A number of actions have been taken and changes have been implemented since these reports came to light in July 2020, including but not limited to: