Policies on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Retaliation September 16, 2011

To: Faculty and Staff

From: President Kenneth P. Ruscio

Date: Sept. 16, 2011

At the beginning of each academic year, it is customary for me to bring to the attention of the campus community our policies and procedures regarding prohibited discrimination, harassment, retaliation and sexual misconduct.

We have a consolidated non-discrimination policy that applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to the campus. You can find a copy of the policy at go.wlu.edu/nondiscrimination. We have recently amended our policy to identify stalking as a specific form of prohibited harassment.

At the end of the policy, you will find links to the procedures for addressing concerns under the policy. Please note that in May 2011, the faculty approved new Student Faculty Hearing Board procedures for formal complaints against students under this policy. In addition, in August 2011, the provost and treasurer/vice president for finance and administration approved amendments to the procedures for formal complaints against non-students. I encourage everyone to become familiar with the new and modified procedures. Both procedures are available as pdf files at these links:

It is important that all members of our community know where to turn if they have a concern under the policy. You will find a list of people trained to provide information on the policy and procedures, or help to resolve a problem, at go.wlu.edu/nondiscrimination_resources. These include support resources for student and non-student matters, specially trained investigators, and faculty and staff who handle formal complaints under the policy. Please also feel free to contact the University's Title IX Officer, Robert Strong (strongr@wlu.edu), who oversees the University's education, implementation and enforcement of this policy.

As important as it is for me to remind our community of our specific policies and procedures, formal descriptions of these policies can obscure more significant messages about our values. Respect for each other is a cornerstone of the Washington and Lee community. That respect is not based on one's status within the community, one's race, one's gender, one's sexual orientation or any other categorical description. We share a common humanity that obligates us to be mindful of the benefit each of us derives from working and learning alongside individuals with their own talents, strengths and backgrounds. One of the most remarkable characteristics of an academic community is the opportunity to learn from others who see the world differently.

At Washington and Lee, we have high standards for civility and respect. Living up to them requires a conscious, deliberate effort to understand our obligations and to show our care and concern for each other. The procedures for complaints provide guidance on steps that we can take if we fail to live up to these standards. But avoidance of sanctions is less compelling than a positive embrace of our highest aspirations as a reason to abide by the policy. In this spirit, I ask you to rededicate yourself to our fundamental values.