TIFTON, GA (WALB) - The police chief of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is no longer an employee of the school after comments he made to the school's newspaper about rape on campus.
The school's President Dr. David Bridges made the announcement in a news conference Friday afternoon.
The move comes after Chief Bryan Golden equated sexual assaults on campus with personal guilt, rather than criminal activity.
"The public's trust in Bryan Golden's leadership has seemingly been eroded," Bridges said in a statement. "The inappropriate comments were reprehensible and inexcusable."
Bridges did not say, however, whether Golden was fired or allowed to resign. The chief had been with ABAC for 23 years.
In a story about sexual assaults on college campuses in the student newspaper The Stallion, Golden was quoted as saying:
"Most of these sexual assaults are women waking up the next morning with a guilt complex. That ain't rape, that's being stupid. When the dust settles, it was all consensual. It doesn't happen here. It doesn't show up here. They're about as much a rape as a goat roping."
Students said they were shocked and hurt by the former Police Chief's comments.
"I was dumbfounded," said student Kyle Phillips. "I definitely think he should think a little bit more before he speaks."
But Phillips said he still has faith in the campus police force.
"They're more than helpful, they're great people," he said. "Anytime we need them, they're there for us. So, like I said, it definitely doesn't reflect the police department in any shape or form."
The school's president said the Golden's comments don't reflect the University or police department.
"Because of the damage done by these remarks, it has become increasingly clear that Chief Golden's ability to serve as Chief is undermined to the point that he cannot function in that role," said Bridges.
ABAC also the location of one of South Georgia's few police academies.
Read the entire statement from ABAC's president:
I want to begin by reaffirming the commitment of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College to providing a safe environment for students, employees, and visitors. ABAC has had personnel, procedures, and practices in place for many years that provide health care, emotional support, reporting intervention, and investigative support for victims of all types of crimes. Campus safety is a matter of fact and record. ABAC has a strong commitment to Title IX.
The position of Chief of Police at ABAC must be one that is viewed as fair and impartial in order to adequately serve and protect the needs of our campus community. An effective law enforcement department requires public credibility. The public's trust in Bryan Golden's leadership has seemingly been eroded and I must ensure that the integrity of the College Police Department is protected.
The inappropriate comments were reprehensible and inexcusable. These remarks do not reflect the attitude of the College or the Police Department. Because of the damage done by these remarks, it has become increasingly clear that the impact of the interaction that Mr. Golden had with the newspaper staff undermined his ability to effectively perform his duties. He is no longer an employee at ABAC.
The ABAC campus has a longstanding reputation as one that provides a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff. That will continue to be the case in days to come.