Statement on Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct

In 2016, the University recently updated its sexual discrimination and misconduct policy, but the Executive Committee’s stance on these issues remains the same. We condemn all forms of sexual misconduct, which is an egregious violation of our community's trust and therefore has no place at Washington & Lee University. 

Although the EC considers sexual discrimination and misconduct dishonorable, we do not hear cases involving sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, domestic and dating violence, stalking, or retaliation. In recognition of the sensitive nature of sexual misconduct cases, the University has created the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board (HSMB), a board that is specifically designed to adjudicate such matters.

In compliance with federal law (Title IX), the HSMB observes a preponderance of the evidence standard and may issue a spectrum of sanctions up to and including dismissal. This is different than the Executive Committee’s handling of possible honor violations. At the direction of the student body and with authority from the Board of Trustees, the EC resolves all reasonable doubt in favor of an accused student and operates under a single sanction; therefore, students found guilty of committing an Honor Violation are immediately removed from the university. Notably, the HSMB must dismiss a student found beyond a reasonable doubt to be responsible of non-consensual sexual penetration.

The HSMB is made up of ten specially trained Washington and Lee administrators. Part of their training includes meeting with a Student Advisory Group appointed by the Executive Committee. This group consists of four undergraduates and two law students and represents diverse perspectives on student social dynamics. These students will also participate in a working group that reviews the Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy on an annual basis. These students will not be involved in cases brought before the HSMB nor will they be told the specifics of any case.

More important than any policy is each student’s commitment to building and maintaining a community of trust. All students can contribute to the eradication of sexual misconduct by choosing to live honorably and by expecting their peers to do the same.

Mason Grist‘18, Executive Committee President
Elizabeth Mugo ‘19, Vice President
Caroline Bones ‘18, Secretary
John Houser, Law Class of 2018 Representative
Timur Dikec, Law Class of 2019 Representative
Morgan Ricther, Law Class of 2020 Representative
Mary Page Welch and Matt Kaminer, Class of 2018 Representatives
Heeth Varnedoe and Gus Cross, Class of 2019 Representatives
Grace Smith and Will Bolton, Class of 2020 Representatives

Resources

Lauren Kozak is the Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources. She can be reached at 540-458-4055 or kozakl@wlu.edu.