Candidate drops out of UVUSA race amid allegations of sexual assault
Student body president appoints interim vice president of activities
UVU Student Association vice president of activities, Dustin Draper, has withdrawn himself as a candidate for student body president and an interim vice president of activities has been selected, according to student body president Rob Smith.
Draper, who has been the vice president of activities since May 2017, took to Facebook Tuesday, Feb. 27 to refute allegations of sexual assault.
“I have been accused of absolutely terrible things in wake of the UVUSA elections. I am here to state that these accusations are false and I immediately reported them to the Title IX office on campus this morning. I respect and support the #Metoo initiative, [It’s] On US campaign, and other resources for victims of sexual assault. I love and respect all people in my life. I advocate for a relationship of support, love, and growth,” he wrote. “This has broken my heart, caused me to be physically sick, and caused me to shed many tears. I am completely ready to defend myself and will because I know these accusations are not true! I am transparent, please ask me any question and don’t be afraid to talk to me about this accusation. I am not a perfect human but I am not what is being accused of me.”
According to UVU spokesperson Scott Trotter, the school received a complaint Feb. 27, about a sexual misconduct allegation against the UVU student on Facebook.
“Utah Valley University has no tolerance for sexual misconduct, and we take all complaints of this nature very seriously,” said Trotter in a statement.
UVU student Elise Smith made the allegation against Draper on social media during the early hours of Feb. 27.
“Dustin Draper has sexually assaulted me and talked about raping me in my sleep to my face,” Smith wrote. “This is NOT the type of person who should represent students of UVU. For the sake of my safety as well as your own, do not vote for Dustin Draper.”
Smith said she met Draper last summer through student government as a volunteer on the Green Team, which is a committee that assists the activities branch of UVUSA and is composed of student volunteers.
According to Trotter, UVU’s Title IX Office was alerted of the complaint and the complainant was offered support and resources.
“UVU’s Title IX officials are addressing the complaint in accordance with university policies and procedures,” said Trotter.
Chief justice of UVUSA, Jaxon Olsen said that as a representative of student government, he wants to ensure a “safe enjoyable experience” at UVU.
Olsen said he encourages anyone to approach the Title IX office if they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted.
“In light of recent allegations against a member of the executive council, I feel the need as a member of student government to tell anyone affected by this situation that I believe you. Because I have had friends and family go through situations regarding sexual assault, I have made it a personal point to trust the women,” said Olsen. “I have full trust that the Title IX office will properly execute their investigation.”
This is a developing story that will be updated as more information is added.
Kimberly Bojórquez is a Los Angeles native currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in journalism, and a minor in Latin American Studies. From 2017-18 she served as the editor-in-chief of the UVU Review and worked at ABC4’s morning show “Good Things Utah”, Salt Lake City Weekly and the Daily Herald.
She has written stories that relate to national issues, local crime and social justice. In her spare time, she loves to take photos, hike Utah’s national parks and attend live rock concerts.