The University’s Title IX Office (TIXO) receives and investigates complaints of sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking in violation of the University Student Conduct Code (USCC) and/or the University Policy against Discrimination and Harassment. TIXO may investigate such complaints or, at its discretion, may refer the complaint to another appropriate University office or administrative body for investigation (e.g., the University Student Conduct Board (“SCB”), the University Sexual Assault Investigation Board (“USAIB”), or Human Resources).
The following USAIB procedures apply to all complaints against University students involving a report of sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking that are referred to the USAIB by TIXO. These USAIB procedures are designed to provide for prompt and equitable investigation and resolution of such referred complaints. Criminal or civil rules of procedure applicable in a court proceeding, including formal rules of evidence, are not applicable to USAIB proceedings. In addition, the procedures found in Sections V and VII of the USCC, including those governing the issuance of charges, SCB hearings, and appeals, are inapplicable to complaints handled by TIXO.
The USAIB, as further described below, will conduct a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation of complaints referred for investigation to determine the relevant facts, from which it will make a well-informed decision and reach an appropriate resolution.
Filing a Complaint
- To file a formal complaint of sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking against a student, an individual (“Complainant”) should contact the TIXO and submit a written complaint setting forth allegations of behavior in violation of the Code. The TIXO will issue a Notice of Complaint based on the written complaint and may refer the matter to the USAIB, which initiates the USAIB process.
- To the extent practicable, all complaints the parties may have against each other that arise out of the same set of facts and circumstances should be investigated and decided in a single proceeding. Therefore, the parties should assert any claims they have against each other during the pendency of the proceeding. Parties may be barred from subsequent attempts to assert complaints that could have been raised in a prior proceeding, but were not asserted.
- A Complainant is also encouraged to file a criminal report with the Washington University Police Department (“WUPD”) or other appropriate law enforcement agency. Complainants may simultaneously pursue criminal and University disciplinary processes. The University will ordinarily not delay its investigation if criminal charges are filed. However, upon request, the University may, in its discretion, postpone its investigation and any pending proceedings while law enforcement authorities gather evidence and conduct their investigation.
University Sexual Assault Investigative Board
- The USAIB is comprised of faculty, staff, and students appointed by the Chancellor and trained to investigate complaints involving allegations of sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
- Complaints may allege other violations of the USCC in addition to sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The USAIB may investigate and exercise jurisdiction over such complaints in their entirety as long as the additional charges arise out of the same set of facts and circumstances or are related to the alleged incident of sexual assault. The USAIB may elect to refer the other charges to the University Office for Student Conduct and Community Standards, which will then resolve the charges or send the remaining charges to the SCB for hearing and resolution.
Investigation and Report
- Upon receipt of a complaint by a Complainant reporting an incident of sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking perpetrated by a student (the “Respondent”), a Title IX Coordinator or their designee may conduct an investigation or, at their discretion, request that WUPD or an independent investigative agent conduct such an investigation . (Accordingly, references to “Investigator” hereafter will be taken to mean a Title IX Coordinator or their designees, WUPD or an independent investigative agent, as the case may be.)
- Following the investigation, the Investigator will provide an initial written report to a three member panel selected by the TIXO from the USAIB (the “Panel”). The initial report will describe the relevant facts and circumstances learned during the course of the investigation, and will contain reports of all interviews conducted by the Investigator, but it will not set forth any conclusions as to whether those facts and circumstances constitute a violation of the USCC or any other University policy.
- After reviewing the initial report, the Panel may request of the Investigator clarifications, follow up, and/or additional investigation. When the report is final, it will be provided to the Panel, along with written statements and other evidence provided to the Investigator by parties or witnesses.
- The final report will also be given to the parties, along with written statements and other evidence provided to the Investigator by parties or witnesses. Within seven (7) calendar days, the parties may submit a written response to the final report that will be provided to the Panel and the other party.
- The TIXO reserves the right to withhold information or redact portions of the Investigator’s report, or any other written statement or evidence submitted by the parties or witnesses. Such information may be withheld if, in the exclusive discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or their designee, the TIXO determines that such material is irrelevant to the investigation; overly burdensome; unnecessarily inflammatory and/or prejudicial; or, not otherwise appropriate for review by the Panel, as determined by the TIXO. For example, the prior sexual history of the Complainant with someone other than the Respondent is generally irrelevant to an investigation and may be excluded.
- Absent special circumstances, the Panel shall conduct its interviews of each party as soon as reasonably practicable, generally within fourteen (14) calendar days following its receipt of the parties’ written responses (if any) to the final Investigator’s report.
- The Panel will make an audio recording of its interviews, for purposes of its reference throughout the investigation. These recordings shall remain confidential and may be made accessible only to the parties as described below.
- At its sole discretion, the Panel may rely upon the Investigator’s report and its interviews of the parties for its understanding of the relevant facts. During the course of its interviews, the Panel may deem it necessary to interview additional witnesses or to obtain additional information. The Panel may choose to interview additional witnesses, regardless of whether such witnesses have previously been interviewed by the Investigator. The Panel may also rely upon the Investigator to obtain such information and provide a supplemental report. If a supplemental report is submitted, the parties will receive the supplemental report and be given an opportunity to respond to the information contained therein. The Panel may also interview the Investigator.
- Based upon the information provided in the final report, any written statements and additional information provided to the Panel, and its own interviews of the parties and others, the Panel shall determine whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the USCC. Any decision must be agreed upon by a majority of the Panel.
- The Panel shall issue a written decision, including findings of fact, that outlines the basis for its decision.
- If the majority of the Panel determines that the Respondent more likely than not violated the USCC, the decision will be provided to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who will confer with the Dean of the Respondent’s school or their designee, and impose sanctions, up to and including suspension or expulsion from the University. In the event of the absence or disqualification of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Panel decision shall be forwarded to the Dean of Students or their designee, for imposition of sanctions.
- The Panel will endeavor to conclude the investigation and issue its written decision as soon as reasonably practicable. Circumstances that may extend the length of the investigation include, but are not limited to, University holidays and breaks, illness on the part of Panel members or parties, availability of witnesses, large numbers of witnesses or extensive documentary evidence, and academic demands or finals periods.
- The Respondent will be notified in writing of any sanctions imposed, and the Complainant will also be notified in writing of any sanctions imposed, to the extent permitted by law.
- The parties may seek review of the Panel’s decision by submitting a request to the Provost in writing within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of the Panel’s decision.
- The scope of the Provost’s review shall be limited to determining: (i) whether the procedures set forth herein were fairly implemented or (ii) whether any sanctions imposed are insufficient or excessive.
- The Provost may direct that the matter be remanded to the investigating Panel or another Panel, with specific instructions to address the Provost’s determinations as to procedural fairness. The Provost may also reduce, modify, or increase the sanctions assessed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Chairperson of the SCB or their designee. The decision of the Provost is final.
- In the event of the absence or disqualification of the Provost, the review will be conducted by the Chairperson of the SCB, or their designee.
- Sanctions will be stayed pending the disposition of any review. If a temporary suspension has been imposed, it shall remain in effect during the pendency of the review. If a hold has been placed on a student’s records, it will remain until final disposition of the complaint.
- At any point before, during, or after the investigation and regardless of the Panel’s decision, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee may determine that interim or remedial measures (not including suspension or expulsion), directed at the parties, witnesses, or a broader University population, are necessary and appropriate to prevent and/or respond to sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. Depending upon the specific nature of the complaint and/or findings made by the Panel, such measures may include, but are not limited to: implementation of a no-contact order, temporary housing or course/classroom assignment changes, medical and counseling services, academic support services and accommodations, additional training and education.
- The University makes every reasonable effort to ensure that complaints are resolved as expeditiously as possible. The TIXO reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to grant a party a reasonable extension of any timeframe set out in these procedures. At a party’s request, reasonable extensions may be granted based on good cause and as necessary to ensure the integrity and fairness of this process. The reasons for such extensions may include (but are not limited to) the following: Compliance with a request of law enforcement; a limited accommodation of the availability of the parties or witnesses; students on leave; exam periods, school breaks, or vacations; or, the accounting for the complexities or volume of information relating to a specific investigation. The TIXO may, in its sole discretion, make limited time accommodations may be made based on the availability of a party’s advisor. However, the USAIB investigation will not be unduly delayed by the unavailability of a particular advisor.
- Due to the confidential nature of USAIB proceedings, deliberations of USAIB Panels will not be recorded or transcribed. Individuals involved in the proceedings (complainants, respondents, witnesses, affected parties, and advisors) may not record interviews or administrative meetings associated with the investigation process. However, such recordings may be made available to the parties upon written request. If a party wishes to listen to any portion of the recordings made by the Panel, they may schedule an appointment with the TIXO to listen to the requested material. While doing so, they may take notes but may not duplicate or retain a copy of the recording in any way. Any exception to this policy may be made following written request and at the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or their designee.
- Records of the USAIB directly related to an investigation shall be destroyed after a period of ten years from the date of final disposition of a complaint unless the outcome of the complaint results in suspension or expulsion, in which case the records will be maintained indefinitely. If the Respondent withdraws from the University prior to issuance of the USAIB decision, the records shall not be destroyed. The University may provide information regarding the matter, including in cases where a Respondent has withdrawn prior to the USAIB decision, to other institutions, agencies, employers, or others in accordance with the law.
- A hold will be placed on the Respondent’s academic record until final disposition of the complaint. If the Respondent requests the hold to be temporarily lifted for academic registration purposes, a notation will be made to the Respondent’s transcript indicating that the Respondent is the subject of a pending student conduct investigation.
- The TIXO may impose a temporary suspension if necessary, pursuant to the standard and procedures set forth under the USCC Section X, with the exception of the filing of a statement of charges against the suspended student referenced in Sections X.E. and X.F. For purposes of these procedures, TIXO must initiate the investigation provided for in these procedures within ten days of the date of the temporary suspension. The Dean of the School or College in which the suspended student is enrolled will be notified of the temporary suspension.
- A temporary suspension shall end when rescinded by the Dean of Students or their designee, or upon the failure of TIXO to initiate an investigation within a reasonable time or, if not rescinded and if the investigation is initiated, when the decision by the Panel and any decision on appeal to the Provost, if applicable, is final.
- Retaliation against or interference with individuals who report or file complaints of violations of University policy, including the USCC, who cooperate with University investigations of such reports or complaints, or who serve on the USAIB is a violation of University policy, will not be tolerated and, if perpetrated by a student, will itself be treated as an offense under the USCC. Any student who engages in such retaliation or interference will be referred to the Office for Student Conduct and Community Standards or TIXO, as appropriate, for further investigation and disciplinary action as warranted.
- Any Complainant, Respondent or witness may be accompanied by one Advisor of their choice (including an attorney) at any meeting or interview throughout the investigation process. The Advisor may be present only to provide support at any time during the investigation process, but they may not actively participate in the process. The Advisor may not participate in the process in any other capacity including, but not limited to, serving as a witness or a party involving the same incident in the same pending matter.
- The Advisor may not speak, write, or otherwise address the Investigator or Panel. Nor may the Advisor contact the Investigator or any member of the Panel while the complaint is pending before the USAIB. Advisors who do not abide by these guidelines may be excluded from the USAIB process.
Complaints alleging sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking filed against a faculty or staff member are governed by separate procedures and should be directed to TIXO or any of the University’s Discrimination and Harassment Advisors, whose contact information can be found on the Human Resources website.