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Memorandum May 5, 2017

To:
Campus Community
From:
Teresa Flannery, Vice President for Communication
Subject:
Safety Alert and Precautions

I want to advise the community that an online post authored by a white supremacist was discovered last night by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The author encouraged followers to troll the President of American University's Student Government (AUSG), Taylor Dumpson. The university immediately dispatched law enforcement to her home to provide her and her family with additional security and technology protections. American University Police Department is monitoring the situation.

Students, faculty and staff are advised to take steps to ensure their personal and cyber safety. A safety alert from the Department of Public Safety will follow on email shortly, with tips, reminders and resources to personally protect yourself and avoid becoming a target of cyber harassment. You also might find useful this guide from ADL, which offers tips for preventing and responding to cyber hate. Most importantly, engaging the trolls is not a productive or safe choice. Please avoid responding directly to messages of hate online.

I encourage you to join me for a Facebook Live session set for 12:00 noon. EDT that will include tips from law enforcement on staying safe. I will update the community about the incident and discuss strategies for personal protection and response to hate. We will archive and caption the stream following the event for future viewing.

In addition, Dr. Rob Hradsky, Dean of Students, and his team are standing by to assist students with support and concerns during finals. They can direct those who need assistance to appropriate resources. Students may reach out at 202-885-3300 or dos@american.edu. Also, Mary Clark, Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Academic Affairs will write to faculty this morning to offer her support and suggestions for effectively working with students through this challenging time. Human Resources has also created a host of resources for staff and will follow with communications as well.

Yesterday, Taylor Dumpson led a productive town hall, followed by a meeting with student and university leaders, at which we agreed to work together on creating different approaches to emerging challenges. Some of the feedback we received from students was the need to inform and engage rapidly and in different ways. This morning's communications and the Facebook Live session provide an opportunity to quickly and effectively reach all concerned with resources and helpful conversations.

Our community has been threatened on campus; it continues online. American University will not allow any member of our community to be intimidated and we will not be discouraged. I hope you will stand with Taylor and me and continue to stand up for our values.

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