Sexual assault gained attention on the campus after multiple high-profile cases involving students at the college during the past several years.
Two decades before the issue of campus rape exploded across the country, a high-profile case at William & Mary garnered national attention. In 1990, a freshman, Katie Koestner, said another student raped her in her dorm room. She reported him to the college, she said, but it handed down a mild punishment. In 2002, a female student, Samantha Collins, hung a poster on the college's campus that detailed the college's handling of her sexual assault. The college took down the poster, alleging it violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act because it published the man's name, before reversing itself and issuing a formal apology to Ms. Collins.
In 2012, a female athlete accused a football player of raping and strangling her at an off-campus party. He was criminally charged, but a jury found him not guilty in December 2013.
William & Mary was one of the initial 55 colleges under investigation in this wave of federal enforcement as announced by the Education Department in May 2014.
Students have protested the institution’s handling of sexual assault and continued to press for changes to policies and procedures.
The institution has affirmed its commitment to victims of sexual assault, collected resources online, and conducted a survey on the campus climate, among other things.
A state task force in Virginia issued several recommendations in the spring of 2015, including to require public and private colleges to create sexual-assault-response teams, to conduct climate surveys at public colleges every two years, and to develop a state grant program to support research on gender-based-violence prevention. The state legislature also passed two laws, one requiring campus police officers to immediately notify local law-enforcement authorities after opening an investigation into felony sexual assault, and another requiring college employees to report any sexual assault disclosed to them to the campus Title IX coordinator.
After a little more than three hours of deliberation, a jury of seven women and five men decided Wednesday a 23-year-old former College of William and Mary football player was not guilty of nine charges connected to the alleged rape and strangulat...