Complaints Against Washington and Lee Students

Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an initial assessment of the incident or behavior at issue, the complainant's desired course of action, and the necessity for any interim remedies or accommodations.

Following this assessment, if the complainant requested an investigation, the University will begin an investigation. The goal of the investigation is to gather all relevant facts that will be used to determine if there is sufficient information to refer the report for disciplinary action to the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board. If the complainant has requested that an investigation not proceed, the Title IX Coordinator, in coordination with others as necessary, will determine the appropriate manner of resolution, which may include remedies-based resolution that does not involve disciplinary action against a respondent, or the initiation of an investigation and potential disciplinary action.

For detailed information see the Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy.

Remedies-Based Resolution

Remedies-based resolution is a non-disciplinary proceeding approach designed to eliminate a reported hostile environment without initiating potential disciplinary action against a respondent. This might include protective remedies such as rescheduling of exams and assignments; changing a class schedule, work schedule, or job assignment; change in housing, imposing a no-contact directive; providing academic support, educational programming or training, and other remedies tailored to the involved individuals.

Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board (HSMB)

The Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board (HSMB) is the body that determines responsibility and, if warranted, administers sanctions and/or discipline against a respondent. The HSMB is made up of ten (10) individuals, three (3) individuals who may serve in the role of Chair of the HSMB hearing panel and seven (7) administrators who may serve as members of a HSMB hearing panel. 

After a thorough investigation, and based on the investigation report, the Chair of the HSMB will determine whether to formally charge the respondent.

Following a Notice of Charge, the HSMB Chair will select and convene a hearing panel. A hearing panel is composed of three HSMB members.

At the HSMB hearing, the hearing panel will review the investigation report and question the complainant, respondent, investigators, and any witnesses present. Both complainant and respondent can be accompanied to the hearing by advisors.

After consideration of all the relevant information, the hearing panel will make a finding by a preponderance of the evidence as to whether the respondent is responsible for conduct in violation of the policy.

If the respondent is found responsible, the hearing panel will impose a sanction by referencing the sanction guideline matrix. In cases involving Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration there is a mandatory sanction of dismissal if the HSMB hearing panel determines responsibility beyond a reasonable doubt. If the HSMB hearing panel determines responsibility by a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof, the HSMB hearing panel may, but is not required to, dismiss.  Additionally, pursuant to and required by Virginia law, a prominent notation must be made on the academic transcript of any student who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdrawn from the institution while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence (defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent).

Additional remedies, in addition to the HSMB's issued sanction, may be available to a complainant. Examples of some potential remedies can be found in the Policy in Section X(B).