Controversy at Villanova Honors Program Spring Formal



Corinna Vlahoyiannis Staff Writter

The Honors Program held its biannual formal at Xolo Tacos in Bryn Mawr on March 28. According to an email received by students in the program the week after claiming several honors students were subject to “inappropriate touching” and “unwanted advances” by non-students during the Honors formal held at Xolo Tacos.

Honors Director, Dr. Thomas W. Smith, Ph.D. reached out to make students aware of the situation at hand.

“As the well-being of our students is paramount, this matter is very concerning to us,” wrote Smith via email.  I wanted to reach out to let you know the steps Honors is taking to help insure that the students who were subject to this behavior can get access to the resources they might need.”

Honors is taking action to help affected students who were subject to this reported behavior. In an email, the Program encouraged students to contact members of the Sexual Assault Response Coordination team or file complaints through Public Safety. SARC is available at all hours of the day, every day of the week and can assist students with accessing support resources and requesting accommodations on campus. SARC can additionally assist students in making a report to the Lower Merion Police.

The Honors Program will be holding a Bystander Intervention Training Session with Ryan Rost, the University’s Title IX Coordinator. These sessions focus on alcohol abuse and sexual violence prevention. They additionally facilitate dialogue about campus culture and ways in which culture inhibits and encourages intervention, both on and off campus. Smith emphasized that this session for students will help inform students how to most effectively respond to such circumstances.  

In response to the event, one freshman commented, “I was there early to set up and the owner was definitely very creepy… I’m proud of the people who came forward and complained. I saw the Honors email, and I think they handled it in the right way.”

Freshman Lindsay Gallagher also offered her opinion. “This is the second year we’ve had the Honors formal off campus, so we’re heartbroken about this, but hopefully, we can have a great event for Honors students next year and keep everyone safe and happy,” Gallagher said.

Smith also related that other members of the Honors team, Madeline Reynolds, Associate Director, Kimberly Hidore, Assistant Director,and himself are available to speak with students personally. Honors staff declined to comment on the incident.

Xolo Tacos has yet to provide any comments in regards to the allegations of misconduct.