Comprised of faculty, staff and students appointed by the chancellor, University Sexual Assault Investigation Board (USAIB) members are trained to investigate and help resolve complaints involving reports of sexual assault as well as some reports of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
For more information about the USAIB’s role, review the USAIB procedures for complaints of sexual assault filed against students.
USAIB and Title IX Investigations
Choosing the USAIB Panel
- After an investigation is initiated, the Title IX Office (TIXO) selects three available potential panel members – a faculty member, a staff member and a student (whether undergraduate or graduate), if possible – to investigate and resolve the complaint.
- When possible, potential panel members are selected who have at least one identity in common with the parties – whether gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and/or race.
- The three potential panel members are then screened for potential conflicts, including familiarity with any of the involved parties or prior knowledge of the incident/s. If any potential member has a conflict, another member is chosen and screened.
The USAIB process was put into place in January of 2013. From July 2013 to July 2018, 45 investigations have been initiated and 42 have been decided by the USAIB. (Three investigations were halted by the withdrawal of the complaint by the Complainant.) Of those 42 decisions, 25 found the Respondent responsible, while 17 did not.
Decisions by year and outcome
|Academic year||# of investigations||Responsible||Not responsible||Complaint withdrawn||Expulsion sanction||Suspension sanction||Probation, No Contact Order and/or educational sanctions|
USAIB Member Recruitment
Each spring, the TIXO solicits recommendations for new USAIB members from current USAIB members and those who are familiar with our faculty, staff and students including the president of Student Union, the leaders of the Graduate Student Senate, the Graduate and Professional Council, academic and student services deans, directors and department heads.
- Because of the nature of the work, the TIXO requests names of individuals who stand out from the rest because of their maturity, thoughtfulness, trustworthiness and insight.
- Each potential new member must demonstrate the highest ethical standards, exhibit the sensitivity necessary to serve on these sorts of cases and respect the confidentiality of the process.
- They also have to be willing to make the time commitment to the training and the investigations to which they may be assigned.
The TIXO then reaches out to determine interest in serving on the board. Those who are interested must complete two half days of training in the fall. Potential student members are also screened for behavioral and disciplinary matters handled by the university through the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or the TIXO. Once the training is complete, members are appointed to two-year terms by the chancellor.
Ongoing Training for USAIB Members
USAIB members receive training throughout the academic year, beginning with two half-day trainings in September and a half-day training in the spring semester. Monthly 1.5 hour trainings are also provided.
Trainings are a combination of presentations by university staff members, presentations by outside experts, role playing and group discussion and activities.
The training also utilizes case studies and video presentations. The topics covered include: trauma and trauma-informed practices in investigations; how to question parties; how to question witnesses; the role alcohol and drugs play in sexual assault; the USAIB process; prevention efforts at WashU; how to review the initial investigation reports; how to make decisions using the “more likely than not” standard; how to write a decision; SafeZones training; the role of WUPD in sexual assault investigations; vicarious trauma and self-care; and implicit bias, among others.
Involvement of the Office of the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel in the USAIB Panel Interview Process
- The Office of the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel (OGC) works with the TIXO and the USAIB panel members to help ensure that university rules and procedures are followed throughout the investigation process.
- The OGC attorney does not ask questions of the parties or witnesses during the interviews and is not present during the panel’s deliberations.