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USF president 'deeply troubled' by sexual violence accusations on campus

President Steve Currall said he personally confirmed the cases were under review by the university's offices that were "best positioned and trained to respond.”

TAMPA, Fla. — The president of the University of South Florida made a statement Wednesday after there had been allegations of sexual violence at the university made on social media. 

President Steve Currall said sexual violence, harassment and discrimination are all significant issues facing our society. He says it's the school's job to respond to those situations seriously and with solutions. 

Currell said he was " deeply troubled" by the serious allegations. He said he personally confirmed the cases were under review by the university's offices that were "best positioned and trained to respond.”

In a statement, Currall said the school would be reaching out to its fraternity and sorority leaders, student government and other student groups to reestablish its expectations and its goal to have campuses free of sexual violence.  

The statement continues on to say, "USF will continue to provide a range of education and training programs designed to help prevent sexual violence, raise awareness and encourage reporting of any incidents."

According to The Tampa Bay Times, this statement comes after a former student brought up an alleged sexual assault that happened on campus in 2017.

The Times said Chelsea Engel, 23, tweeted about her assault and named the person accused of attacking her and asked other people to share their stories. 

That's when Engel realized she wasn't alone in what happened to her. The Times said at least 30 other women were accusing the same fraternity member Engel was talking about of rape. 

You can read the Tampa Bay Times' full report here.

President Currall said the university is checking its own responses to ensure it's doing the right thing for survivors of assaults.

"I believe it’s important for us to reexamine our processes and outreach initiatives to ensure that we are responding effectively to allegations of sexual violence. Therefore, I have asked for a review of our internal processes to reinforce what we are doing well and identify where we can improve. Our policies and procedures must reflect our values, which start with the belief that all members of our community should be treated with respect so they may learn and work in a safe and comfortable environment," Currall said in the statement.

If you have been sexually assaulted, you are not alone. There is help available. Contact the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay at 211 or the National Sexual Assult Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

RELATED: Breaking the Silence: Here are some resources, ways you can help sexual abuse or assault victims

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