Eric Scharf

UVM apologizes for Instagram post

February 24, 2022

Patricia Prelock, provost and senior vice president, apologized to the UVM community for the University’s Feb. 17 Instagram post about sexual violence, according to a Feb. 23 email. 

“[The Instagram post] should not have occurred and I want to acknowledge the harm that it caused survivors and the UVM community as a whole,” the email stated. “I will not always get this right, but please know I hear all of you and will work hard with my leadership team to do better.” 

Over the past several days Prelock communicated with Advocat leaders, SGA leaders, student activists, the men’s basketball team, the coaches, Chief Communications Officer Joel Seligman and others, according to the email. 

“These meetings raised complex emotions for me and I am working to process them. I am sure this is true for each of the groups with whom I met and who are reading this message” Prelock stated.

All students Prelock spoke with over the weekend are committed to sexual violence prevention and want candid dialogue about the current narrative, according to the email. Additionally, Prelock acknowledged a need for improvement in UVM’s communications strategy. 

“I make these promises to you,” her email stated. “I will work with students to find a space to share your experiences and to recognize differences in perspectives, and I will ensure that any communication regarding students and sexual violence will undergo thorough review and will require my final approval.” 

Prelock plans to meet with Elliot Ruggles, UVM’s new sexual violence prevention and education coordinator, Feb. 24 to discuss more effective methods of sexual assault prevention and education, and enhancement of UVM’s communication, engagement and support, according to the email. 

Prelock will communicate about the next steps in UVM’s improvement of its communications strategy and its provision of space for students to share their experiences. 

“You give me hope that we can find our way forward,” Prelock’s email stated. “I know it will not be easy. But we all share these common goals — the eradication of sexual violence on campus and providing support for all those who are impacted.”

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