Two CI leaders dismissed after allegations

Two Colonial Inauguration cabinet members were dismissed from duties following the second CI after a female leader accused a male leader of sexual assault, GW officials said.

While the accused male was let go as part of procedure in sexual assault cases, the female cabinet member was asked to leave because of personal issues unrelated to the incident, said Robert Chernak, vice-president of Student and Academic Support Services.

Chernak said the dismissal was the first time a CI leader was asked to leave the orientation once it had already begun in the more than 10 years of CI. He described the incident as a “sad situation.”

“Both individuals were qualified . but (the allegations) were creating a situation where it was interfering with the cabinet members’ ability to put their best efforts forward,” he said.

He said Student Judicial Services held a hearing last week and found the male not in violation of GW’s Code of Conduct.

The male former cabinet member declined to comment and the female leader did not return an e-mail message.

Chernak said the allegations went back over a seven-month period when the two were involved in a relationship.

The University Police Crime Log reports one sexual assault charge in June, allegedly taking place in City Hall April 14.

He said “personal relationships between two leaders have not normally been a factor” in choosing CI leaders.

“It has never been a part of the criteria . there have been several times in the past when leaders were involved in a relationship before or after CI and it has not been a problem,” he said. “It would be difficult to make that a criteria . there is always going to be a statistical probability for a problem.”

Chernak said it would be “awkward” for either of the two cabinet members to return for CI five, set to begin July 8, after missing the third and fourth orientations.

“I think it would be difficult to bring someone back after the cabinet has made adjustments,” Chernak said.

He said the now 30-member cabinet “hasn’t missed a beat,” and was able to make adjustments to cope with the loss.

“They performed admirably, though it may have affected certain individuals . students are human beings,” he said. “I don’t think it affected their performance . it happened and you deal with it.”

Several CI cabinet members contacted declined to comment.

Assistant Vice-President for Student and Academic Support Services Mike Gargano, who oversees CI, also declined to comment on the incident and its effects.

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