You are here: American University Campus Life Update on Leonard Hall Incident

American University

November 4, 2022

Dear AU Community,

We want to update you on the ongoing investigation of the incident in Leonard Hall and the continued support for the students involved and our broader community. We understand this incident continues to negatively impact the community and we are focused on the safety and well-being of community members. Security remains enhanced around Leonard Hall, with AUPD patrols and the continuous placement of an AUPD vehicle and personnel between Leonard and Cassell halls.

We continue to support the students involved in this matter in a number of ways, including through the Office of Equity and Title IX. Types of support may include communication with the students’ faculty members to coordinate excused absences or other steps to assist with their studies, coordination with Residence Life about the opportunity to move to another residence hall room if desired, and prioritized counseling services from the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services. We are committed to the privacy of the people involved, and we understand that individual students may pursue support services at different times and that their personal situations can evolve, so our team continues to follow up with them. Additionally, a meeting was held with residents of the affected floor and another gathering in Leonard Hall is planned for next week. 

The AUPD investigation is ongoing in cooperation with the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). This includes reviewing information received from the community. Depending on the findings of the investigation, appropriate next steps will be pursued under university policies and procedures. We know it can be frustrating while the process unfolds, but it is critical that each step is conducted thoroughly and effectively. If any member of the community has information about this incident, please call the AUPD investigations line at 202-885-2999, email investigations@american.edu, or provide anonymous tips through the Rave Guardian safety app. We appreciate the community’s assistance.

Incomplete information can circulate in situations like this, and we ask the community to avoid speculation. As a community, we have a responsibility to respect the privacy and the rights of all those involved. The investigation and any subsequent actions must be based on facts and the processes outlined by applicable laws and university policies. 

During the meeting with residents of the affected floor earlier this week, questions were asked about additional security measures such as video cameras on residential floors. We understand and appreciate the community’s interest in additional security layers. Cameras are not installed on residential floors for privacy reasons and any change to this approach would require extensive community input, resource evaluations, and consideration of the potential outcomes of increased surveillance. 

We continue to regularly assess our security protocols and educate our students and train our staff about security measures such as requiring an AUID swipe or tap to access the residence hall buildings. We need our community to help with this important safety measure.

As we continue to address this challenging matter, campus support resources are available for any member of the community. The Center of Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services is committed to supporting students. Students can contact the 24-hour AU ProtoCall line at 202-885-7979 or the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services at 202-885-3500. Both services are prepared to support student needs in this matter. Students living in the residence halls can reach the community director on call at their hall’s front desk. Faculty and staff can contact the BHS Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at 800-327-2251 or on the MyBHS portal.

We understand how difficult this situation is for our community. We appreciate your support for the individuals affected by this matter and our entire community. 

Sincerely,

Fanta Aw
Vice President of Undergraduate Enrollment, Campus Life, and Inclusive Excellence

Phil Morse
Assistant Vice President, University Police Services and Emergency Management