We 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 that includes tips, reminders and resources to personally protect yourself and avoid becoming a target of cyber harassment, is included below. 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.

A Facebook Live session is happening now.  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.

 - Raina Lenney, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

American University Police

Release Date: May 5, 2017
Responding to & Preventing Cyber Harassment

An online post authored by a white supremacist was discovered on May 4, 2017, by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) targeting a student leader.  American University Police is investigating the incident and encourages the community to follow these safety tips on cyber harassment.

If you have information related to this incident, or witness suspicious activity online or in person, please call the American University Police at 202-885-3636 or 911 for the Metropolitan Police Department. 

Make a Confidential Tip through the University Police Webpage at: http://www.american.edu/finance/publicsafety/tips.cfm

Safety Tips
Managing Your Social Media Presence

  • Restrict your social media settings to private to limit access to only friends and family members.
  • Decline requests from unknown individuals to follow or “friend” you on social media.
  • Remove and restrict personal identifiers on social media, including phone numbers, birth dates and physical addresses.
  • Avoid using geolocation features, such as “checking in,” on social media.
  • Remove or restrict messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or Snapchat.
  • Create a separate email address to manage social media that is not linked to your primary personal, work or school accounts.
  • To track public information posted about you, use a service like Google Alertshttps://www.google.com/alerts and notify operators to remove content when found.

Responding to Cyber Harassment

  • Avoid escalating the contact. Do not respond to messages or posts containing harassment or threats. Peopleengaging in this type of activity are looking for a reaction; do not give it to them.
  • If you are a victim of cyber harassment or threats, screenshot the content and note of the dates and times.
  • File a police report for cyber harassment or threats with local law enforcement.  If it is possible to positively identify individuals who are cyber harassing or threatening you, work with law enforcement, courts, and victim advocates to obtain restraining orders against them.
  • Notify social media sites of harassment or threats with as much detail as possible, including the impact it had on you and others. Most social media sites list this under Safety, Privacy, or Help.
  • If there is a felonious criminal or financial element to the cyber threats or harassment, submit a complaint to the FBI's IC3 system https://www.ic3.gov 

Personal Safety

  • Be aware of the emergency telephones (yellow boxes on pillars, blue light emergency phone towers, and red telephones) located on campus, in building lobbies, elevators, and in parking lots.
  • The University Police provides escorts, twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week, for community members. To arrange an escort, call (202) 885-2527 or use a blue light or red emergency phone.
  • For off-campus assistance in the event of a crime or emergency, contact 911. For on campus crimes and emergencies, contact (202) 885-3636.
  • Install the Rave Guardian application on your cell phone. Rave Guardian allows you to:
    • Set your Rave Guardian Safety Timer. If the Safety Timer is not deactivated before it expires, AU Police is automatically provided with the user’s Rave Guardian profile to proactively identify and locate the individual.
    • Activate a panic button that immediately alerts the AU Police of your location.
    • More information is available at: http://www.american.edu/finance/publicsafety/Rave-Guardian.cfm

If you would like a copy of this advisory, please visit: http://www.american.edu/finance/publicsafety/crimealerts.cfm

EMERGENCY: 202-885-3636
Web: american.edu/publicsafety  Twitter: @AUPublicSafety  Facebook: @americanuniversitypolice




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