UMW President Denies School’s Failure to Protect Students from App Threats

In a letter University of Mary Washington President Richard V. Hurley made public this week, UMW continues to deny allegations that the university failed to protect students from threats leveled against members of a campus feminist group. Instead, Hurley lambasted Feminists United members for publicly voicing their concerns that the university failed to respond to their reports that they were being threatened with physical violence based on their gender. He blamed members of Feminists United for initiating “a highly-publicized media campaign with unsubstantiated claims and misinformation.” In an unavailing effort to rebut their claims, President Hurley insisted that the university had met the Yik-Yak threats “head-on,” by consulting with legal counsel on possible actions to limit Yik-Yak’s presence on campus and by providing security for one member of FUC for one evening. Members of Feminist United and their lawyer, Debra Katz, disagree. “I find it disconcerting that President Hurley seems not to understand the university’s obligation…to provide a campus that is free of threats via anonymous posts,” said Katz in response to Hurley’s recent letter. According to Katz, the manner in which President Hurley chose to disseminate what was captioned as a private letter to Eleanor Smeal suggests that his real motivation was to retaliate against his critics by disparaging their motivations and actions to the entire University community and the media.