Subject of a Report Information
If you are accused of misconduct, you are entitled to a fair investigation and hearing process, as well as support for your concerns related to being accused and resources to guide you through the complaint process.
Below is information related to the resolution process for complaints against students and Title IX complaints. If you are an employee accused of non-Title IX sexual misconduct, information about the resolution process can be found in the Policy.
If you do not see an answer to your question below, please reach out to the Title IX Coordinator.
I received a No Contact Directive. What does that mean?
A No Contact Directive (NCD) is a University administrative directive that instructs a student not to have any contact, either direct or indirect, with another student. "Contact" includes, but is not necessarily limited to, in-person contact, telephone calls, email, texts and other forms of electronic communication, social media-based messages or postings, and third party communications through proxies.
A NCD is not intended to be punitive. It is intended to keep all involved students safe and to prevent escalation of a situation. A standard NCD does not restrict a person's movement on campus, and it is mutual, meaning that all parties are expected to abide by the terms.
The issuance of a No Contact Directive is not an indication that the University has determined an individual has violated University Policy. The NCD will remain in place until the directive expires, or the terms are modified.
Failure to comply with a NCD will subject the violator to a range of possible measures, including discipline from the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, other administrative measures, or referral for a formal conduct charge.
What information will I receive about the complaint?
If a formal complaint against you has been filed, which means an investigation will be conducted, you will receive a notice of investigation letter from the Title IX Coordinator notifying you about the complaint. That letter will tell you the following information, if known:
- Identity of the parties involved in the alleged incident
- The specific policy violation alleged
- Date(s) of the alleged policy violation(s)
- Approximate time(s) of the alleged policy violation(s)
- Location(s) of alleged policy violation(s)
- Brief description of allegation(s)
This letter will also inform you whether this process is proceeding as a Title IX complaint or as a non-Title IX sexual misconduct complaint. The letter will also provide some information about procedural protections available to you and invite you to a meeting with the Title IX Coordinator to discuss the investigative process and resources available to you.
What conduct will be handled as a Title IX complaint?
While the process for reporting allegations of sexual misconduct is the same regardless of the type of sexual misconduct reported, different resolution procedures apply based on the underlying alleged misconduct and/or the classification of the respondent as either a student or employee/non-student.
Title IX sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that occurs in a University education program or activity, against a person in the United States, and satisfies one or more of the following:
- A University employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity;
- Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration;
- Nonconsensual Sexual Contact;
- Statutory Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration;
- Dating violence;
- Domestic violence; and/or
Non-Title IX sexual misconduct means conduct that does not constitute Title IX sexual harassment, but that meets the jurisdictional requirements for non-Title IX sexual misconduct and satisfies one or more of the following:
- Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration;
- Nonconsensual Sexual Contact;
- Sexual Discrimination;
- Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment;
- Sexual Exploitation;
- Dating violence;
- Domestic violence; and/or
Who determines the outcome of the student investigation and hearing process?
The Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board (HSMB) is the body that determines whether the Interim Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy was violated, and if so, administers sanctions against a respondent.
A panel of three members of the HSMB will be selected to thoroughly review the evidence, hold a hearing, and reach a decision.
You will have the opportunity to object to the appointment of any of the panel members on the basis of suspected, bias, conflict of interest, or an inability to be fair and impartial.
Can I have an advisor?
In the Title IX complaint resolution process, both parties have the right to one Advisor of Choice. An Advisor of Choice can be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney, or any other supporter you have chosen to advise you.
In the non-Title IX complaint resolution process, you have the right to one Advisor of Choice. Additionally, you may choose either a Staff Advisor or a Hearing Advisor:
- Staff Advisor — W&L staff who have been trained to provide support and advice.
- Hearing Advisor — law and undergraduate students who have been trained to provide support and advice.
- Advise of applicable procedures, including the appeal process, if applicable
- Offer support
- Provide information on additional resources
- Accompany you to all meetings
- Assist you in preparing for meetings
Advisors may not:
- Present evidence at an investigative meeting or at the hearing
- Verbally question witnesses during the hearing except in the Title IX resolution process where advisors are responsible for conducting cross-examination of the other party and any witnesses.
What happens during the post Notice of Investigation Letter meeting with the Title IX Coordinator?
The meeting with the Title IX Coordinator after receiving a notice of investigation letter is NOT an investigative meeting. You will not be asked any questions about the incident giving rise to the complaint. Instead, it is a meeting to discuss the process and resources available to you and to answer any questions you may have about the process and next steps.
The Title IX Coordinator will discuss:
- The investigation and hearing process
- The presumption of non-responsibility and the standard of proof needed to find a violation of policy
- Your rights and responsibilities during the process
- The role and identity of the investigators
- The role of advisors
- Availability of supportive measures
- Any supportive measures already implemented that may impact you (ex. no contact directives)
- Prohibition against retaliation
- The University's amnesty policy for personal consumption of alcohol/drug use
- Potential sanctions that could be imposed if the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board determines a policy violation occurred
- Availability of disability accommodations during the investigative and hearing process
What happens after the meeting with the Title IX Coordinator?
You will be provided time to obtain and meet with your advisors. The assigned investigators will contact you to schedule an investigative interview.
What supportive measures are available to me?
You have the right to request and to receive appropriate supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator will ensure that the supportive measures are implemented in a prompt, fair, and equitable manner. Some examples of supportive measures include academic assistance, assistance with scheduling counseling appointments, and changes to work schedules.
Do I have to participate during the investigation?
Neither party is required to participate in the investigation. If a party chooses not to participate in an investigation, the investigation and hearing may still proceed based on the information available. If you do not choose to participate, it may limit the ability of the investigators to gather evidence, and may limit what evidence can be considered by the hearing panel.
What happens during the interview with the investigators?
One or two investigators will be present during the interview. Investigative interviews are recorded to assist the investigators with taking effective notes. The investigators will ask about what happened in specific detail. They also will request the names of witnesses and other evidence that you might have, such as text messages, emails and photos.
You have the right to have your advisors present with you during the interview. While your advisors cannot provide information during the interview, you can request a recess to consult with your advisors when needed.
The investigators will type up the interview. The written version of the interview is sent to you so you can review to ensure that the information is correct; add additional information; or provide additional clarification or explanation.
What type of information is gathered during an investigation?
In addition to the statements of the parties, the following is a nonexhaustive list of the information that the investigators may collect, if relevant and available, during an investigation:
- Witness statements
- Text messages, chat, social media, and similar materials
- Transcripts and other performance evaluations
- Medical records (only upon voluntary written consent)
- Police reports
- The investigative team or HSMB may also visit the location(s) where the incident(s) occurred to better understand the information gathered in the course of investigation
Will I be able to review the information gathered during an investigation?
Yes. How this occurs will differ depending on whether the complaint is a Title IX complaint or a non-Title IX complaint.
For Title IX complaints, after the investigators have finished gathering information, but before the investigators complete the investigation report, all information gathered during the investigation that is directly related to the allegations will be shared with the parties and their advisors. You will have the opportunity to respond to this information in writing. After receiving the written responses, the investigators will draft an investigation report that summarizes the relevant information. This report will be shared with you and you can respond to the investigation report in writing. After incorporating those written responses, the report will be shared with the designated Chair of the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board for the specific matter and a hearing will be held.
For non-Title IX complaints, after the investigators have finished gathering information, the investigators will prepare a written report that summarizes the relevant information. You and your advisors will have the opportunity to review a draft of the investigation report. You may submit any additional comments, request changes, or request further investigation from the investigation team. The investigators will make changes to the investigation report based on those comments and will then submit the report to the designated Chair of the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board for the specific matter. The Chair of the HSMB will determine whether to issue a charge of misconduct. If the Chair issues a charge of misconduct, you will receive access to the investigation report and all information collected during the investigation for your review and further comment. A pre-hearing conference is held with the Chair of the HSMB where you may make further comments and request changes to the report.
Will I have access to the materials that the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board (HSMB) uses in reaching its conclusions?
Yes. Both parties will have the opportunity to respond to all information gathered by the investigation team. Both parties have access to all of this information during a hearing. In addition, each party will have the opportunity to review and comment on the investigation report.
What happens at a hearing before the HSMB?
The parties both have the option to give an opening statement to the HSMB hearing panel.
After the opening statements, the HSMB hearing panel may question the complainant, the respondent, any witnesses called, and/or the investigators.
For non-Title IX complaints, the parties may submit written questions to the Chair of the HSMB to ask on their behalf to the relevant party or witness. For Title IX complaints, questioning of the other party and witnesses can be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party's Advisor of Choice
After questioning has been completed, both parties have the option to give a closing statement to the hearing panel.
What is the standard of proof required?
In order to determine that an individual has violated the University Policy the standard of proof required is a preponderance of the evidence, i.e., the evidence demonstrates that it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred. It is often described as needing at least a 51% likelihood that the policy violation occurred.
What are the potential sanctions that could be imposed?
For cases against students:
- Suspension (the HSMB can impose conditions for reinstatement to the University)
- Loss of privileges (will be tailored to the circumstances of the specific case, but can include denial of the right to participate in certain activities or use certain facilities)
- Change in on-campus residence
- Change in academic schedule
- Counseling consultation
- Required education
For cases against employees:
- Verbal or written warning;
- Requirement to utilize the Employee Assistance Program or other mandatory conditions, which may include training, or some other professional development;
- A no contact directive;
- Loss of privilege;
- Modified employment duties;
- Suspension with pay;
- Suspension without pay;
- Nonrenewal or non-reappointment;
- Demotion in rank or pay;
- Loss of rank;
- Denial of salary increase;
- Transfer to another position;
- Relocation of office;
- Dismissal from academic course if respondent is taking a course at the University;
- Termination or referral/recommendation for dismissal under the Faculty Dismissal Procedures; and/or
- Trespassing respondent from the University.
Will a Title IX investigation be part of my record?
Affirmative findings of responsibility in matters resolved through a HSMB hearing are part of a student's conduct record or employee personnel file. Such records will be used in reviewing any further conduct or in developing sanctions and will remain a part of a student's conduct record or employee personnel file. In general, the University will maintain records for the duration of the respondent's relationship with the University, and may retain them for no less than seven (7) years following the respondent's departure from the University.
Virginia law requires that a prominent notation be added to the academic transcript of any student who is suspended for, permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the University while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence. In cases of suspension and dismissal this transcript notation will read: "[Suspended or Dismissed] for a violation of W&L's set of standards." In cases of withdrawal, the notation will read: "Withdrew while under investigation for a violation of W&L's set of standards. This withdrawal as noted does not constitute a finding or admission of responsibility on the part of the student." The University shall remove from a student's academic transcript any notation placed on such transcript due to a student's suspension if the student (1) completed the term of the suspension and (2) is eligible to apply for reinstatement. The University shall remove from a student's academic transcript any notation placed on such transcript due to a student's dismissal after a period of three (3) years and good cause shown. Good cause will be determined by the Title IX Coordinator.
Will the University tell my parents or guardians about the report against me?
No. However, the University encourages students to inform their parents or guardians to obtain support.
How long does the investigation and hearing process take?
For Title IX complaints, in general, you can expect that the resolution process will proceed according to the following time frames:
- An investigation will be completed within 30 calendar days.
- After the conclusion of the 10 day review period of the evidence collected in the investigation, the investigators have 10 days to draft an investigation report and provide to the Chair of the HSMB.
- The hearing will be held within 20 calendar days after the submission of the investigation report to the Chair.
For non-Title IX complaints, generally, you can expect the process to follow these time frames:
- An investigation will be completed within thirty calendar days
- A charge decision will be made within two calendar days
- The hearing will be held within fourteen calendar days of the charge
If these timeframes need to be extended, the parties will be notified in writing of the reason for the delay and the expected adjustment. The timeframe may vary depending on the complexity of the investigation, the severity and extent of the allegations, the number of witnesses, and the possibility of interruption by break periods.
Status updates on the progress of the complaint are available.