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Vanderbilt News

Statement from Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune on indictment of four former Vanderbilt football players

Posted on Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 — 5:10 PM

Today the District Attorney charged four former members of the Vanderbilt football team with aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery stemming from an incident that occurred in a Vanderbilt residence hall in the early hours of Sunday, June 23. Our first thoughts are for the victim, a Vanderbilt student, and we convey to her and her family our deepest sympathies and sorrow. We will continue to offer her all of our services and support.

We are shocked and saddened by the allegations that such an assault has taken place on our campus and that they include members of our football team. When certain facts first became known to us, we moved swiftly and decisively to remove these players from the team, suspend them from the university on an interim basis, and bar them from campus. Even before the university took those actions, the Vanderbilt University Police Department contacted the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, and we have cooperated closely with them and the District Attorney’s office during their investigation.

We respect that at this point in the criminal justice process no determination of guilt has been made and that the accused are entitled to the presumption of innocence. Recognizing this, we are focused on doing everything we can to prevent any future incident like this on our campus. Protecting the safety and security of all of our students is our highest priority and we are reviewing all aspects of this matter to determine if there are additional steps we can take to further that end.

We are proud of the collective accomplishments of our student athletes over many years and we expect the highest standard of conduct from them. It is a privilege, not a right, to represent Vanderbilt as a student athlete, and when our standards of conduct are not met, we will hold our student athletes accountable. The charges brought today against the four former Vanderbilt football players allege conduct which is abhorrent and will never be tolerated. We will review our athletics program to be sure that it, like all other programs at the university, reflects our culture of community and respect for others and that our student athletes are held to the same high standards of conduct as all our students.

We are a strong and close-knit community and we will grow stronger and closer as we deal with today’s announcement and the resolution of the charges that have been brought.

Because this is an ongoing matter for the criminal justice system and our own internal investigation remains ongoing, we will only comment further when appropriate.

Contact: Beth Fortune
(615) 322-NEWS


  • Ruthie Dean

    I’m glad Vanderbilt is making a statement about this horrible incident. As a former Vanderbilt student, I was shocked and saddened when this rape came to light and have been eager to see Vanderbilt’s public response. My heart goes out to the victim. What a tragic night that will not soon be forgotten.

  • essiewb

    After endless reports of prominent universities failing to report alleged attacks to local police and allowing accused rapists to remain on campus, this is a breath of fresh air. Big thanks to my alma mater for these appropriate actions and support of the victim.
    Essie Woods Bruell E’78

  • Mike Meadows

    Thank you Vanderbilt for holding your students highly accountable for their actions.

  • Phillip Wallace

    The Vanderbilt football team is not immune to criminal activity. Is there a university in the nation that participates in NCAA college sports that hasn’t suffered criminal activity in their years of participation? I’m a UT alumni and all I can say is “GO DORES”, except when they play UT. lol

  • Carllj62

    i’m pleased this was released by Vanderbilt University. It heads off spectulation. If this to be totally true, the fault is directly on these four young men, and not the young lady. I have been a life long Vandy fan. This release will make the school and athletics stronger overall.

  • Carllj62

    i’m pleased this was released by Vanderbilt University. It heads off spectulation. If this to be totally true, the fault is directly on these four young men, and not the young lady. I have been a life long Vandy fan. This release will make the school and athletics stronger overall.

  • Richard Orr

    I was proud to be at Vandy in the ’70′s when our football team wasn’t so great. I am glad that the administration is taking a tough (and very appropriate) stance about this reprehensible incident. I really don’t care if we have a great football team or not. I do care that Vanderbilt is still recognized as a superior University with an honor code and standards of conduct. That must never be forgotten in in a quest for football victories.

  • Phillip Wallace

    Sorry AnnFann, seriously. My statement was never meant to “crack a joke”, only to compare Vanderbilt University Athletics, that I hold in the highest regards, to other schools in the NCAA. My thoughts and prayers are for the young lady that was so brutally abused. Again, I apologize.



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