Policies on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation

Sept. 13, 2013

From: President Kenneth P. Ruscio

To: Faculty, Staff and Students

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 offer guidance on steps we can take should a member of the community fail to live up to these high standards. Avoidance of sanctions, however, 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.

You may find the consolidated nondiscrimination policy that applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to the campus at go.wlu.edu/OGC/DiscriminationPolicy. 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/OGC/ResourcesContactInfo. These include support resources for student and non-student matters, specially trained investigators, and faculty and staff who handle formal complaints under the policy. You will see that inquiries about procedures and dispute resolution for claims of sexual misconduct/discrimination against students are now being handled by designated Student Affairs staff and other designated student advisers. These individuals replace the Confidential and Impartial Resolution Resources (CAIRs).

Please also feel free to contact the University's Title IX coordinator, Provost Daniel Wubah (dwubah@wlu.edu), or one of his assistant Title IX coordinators, all of whom help implement the policy across campus.

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 Elizabeth Knapp, senior assistant to the president (knappe@wlu.edu).

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 this document: go.wlu.edu/OGC/TitleIXatWLU.

Over the past year, changes have occurred in the expectations of how universities must handle student sexual assault cases. As a result, we have updated reporting expectations of all W&L employees.  If a student or other person discloses information that leads a member of the staff or faculty to believe that a sexual assault may have occurred, that employee is expected to report the information to one of the designated members of the Student Affairs staff or other student advisers (go.wlu.edu/OGC/ResourcesContactInfo), or to the Title IX coordinator. If you have questions about particular situations, please don't hesitate to contact Dean Evans or one of these designated professionals, who are committed to treating these difficult cases fairly and with sensitivity to all involved.  Under our updated and less adversarial process for addressing student sexual misconduct, it is our hope that students will feel more comfortable reporting with the understanding that resolution may occur without a formal hearing.

With regard to complaints against employees, it is our hope that individuals will come forward with information that will allow the University to address these circumstances as effectively as possible as well.