Letter to the University from President Carlos Vargas

As many of you are aware, a sexual assault was reported on the Southeast campus early Sunday morning. I am writing to address the concerns expressed by many about the safety of our University community.

As part of the investigation by Southeast’s Department of Public Safety, it was promptly determined the accused student was known to the reporting student. The accused student was located and interviewed. Based on this and other facts made known to me, I decided that there was no imminent danger to the campus community. Consequently, the University did not issue a campus alert. The accused student has been placed on Interim Suspension and this incident has been referred to the Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office pending the filing of formal criminal charges.

There have been concerns expressed about the timeliness of information sharing regarding this incident. At Southeast, we regularly provide campus alerts for incidents where the person of interest is unknown to the University Police or where there is an ongoing threat to the campus community. When the person of interest has been identified by the University Police, which is the case in this incident, a campus alert is not sent out. I understand there is a desire to expand our alert process and I have already met with campus leadership in response to these concerns.

As a final note, I would like to remind you that the safety of each and every member of the University community is of the utmost importance to me. I will continue to work with Executive Staff to explore how our processes can be refined to better serve the University.

 

Carlos Vargas