Policies on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Retaliation

September 7, 2012

From: President Kenneth P. Ruscio

Date: Sept. 7, 2012

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 University's policy and procedures regarding prohibited discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation, as well as recently instituted protocols for dealing with child abuse and neglect, offer guidance on steps we can take should a member of the community fail to live up to these high 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.

The consolidated policy that applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to the campus can be found at go.wlu.edu/nondiscrimination. At the end of the policy, you will find links to the procedures for addressing concerns under the policy. I encourage everyone to read and become familiar with the procedures. Both sets of 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 Coordinator, Bob Strong (strongr@wlu.edu), who oversees the University's education, implementation and enforcement of this policy.

In the spring of 2012, the University's Title IX Coordinator designated three Assistant Title IX Coordinators to facilitate the handling of complaints under the policy and to assist with education, communication, and other aspects of implementing this policy across the W&L community.  For students, the Assistant Coordinator is Sidney Evans, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (sevans@wlu.edu).  For faculty and staff, the Assistant Coordinator is Amy Barnes, Executive Director of Human Resources (abarnes@wlu.edu).  For gender equity in athletics, the Assistant Coordinator is Valerie Cushman, Senior Assistant to the President (vcushman@wlu.edu).  [Note: As of February 15, 2013, Leanne Shank, General Counsel (lshank@wlu.edu) is serving as Interim Assistant Coordinator for Gender Equity in Athletics].  For details on the duties and responsibilities of the Assistant Coordinators, as well as helpful resources on Title IX at W&L, I encourage you to review the document linked here.

In the wake of reports of child sexual abuse on university campuses, Washington and Lee has adopted a Protocol for Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect as required by a Virginia law that became effective July 1, 2012.  Provost Robert Strong will soon send more detailed information about this obligation. In summary, "all Washington and Lee employees (including student employees) 18 years of age or older are required to report child abuse or neglect that they suspect or become aware of in connection with any University activities or operations..."  Reports should be made to the Office of Public Safety or to other agencies noted in Protocol. The Protocol can be found here.

For supervisors who have employees in their departments without regular access to email, I ask that you provide each of them with a hard copy of this notice and the policy, procedures, and resource contacts noted above, as well as a copy of the child abuse reporting protocol.