If an individual seeks disciplinary action against you or is pursuing a formal complaint alleging sexual discrimination or harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with you to outline next steps.
As part of the process, a hold will be placed on your academic account until the investigation has been completed. While the hold might be lifted by request, a notation will appear on the transcript that states: “Student is the subject of a pending non-academic student conduct investigation.”
- The Gender Equity and Title IX Compliance Office investigation will follow the USCC, the Student Title IX Grievance Process, and the Student Gender Equity Grievance Process to ensure all parties are treated respectfully and the investigation is executed as thoroughly, fairly and as efficiently as possible.
- The University Sexual Assault Investigation Board (USHIB) members receive annual training on issues related to sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and dating violence, as well as training on conducting investigations.
- All parties involved in any investigation are allowed to be accompanied to any meeting or hearing as part of these processes by an adviser of their choice to provide support, as long as the adviser is not a fact witness.
- A student found “more likely than not” to have committed a violation of the USCC may be subject to a range of sanctions, even if they are a first time offender, including: restricted access and activity on campus, No Contact Orders, counseling, institutional service, educational workshops, probation, suspension or expulsion from the university.
- Each complaint is handled on a case by case basis. A Complainant may also choose to file and pursue a criminal complaint.
- In accordance with federal law, the Gender Equity and Title IX Compliance Office will notify both the Complainant and Respondent of the final outcome with respect to these proceedings, including sanctions imposed against the Respondent. Both parties will have the opportunity to request review as set forth in the USCC, the Student Title IX Grievance Process, and the Student Gender Equity Grievance Process.
Retaliation is not tolerated
- WashU has a strong policy against retaliation, including by third parties. The university will not tolerate retaliation or discrimination against persons who, in good faith, report or make a complaint of sexual discrimination or harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
- Nor does the university tolerate retaliation or discrimination against those who testify, assist, participate in, or are a party to, any investigation, proceeding, or hearing involving such complaints.
- If you experience retaliation in any form, please contact Title IX Coordinator, Jessica Kennedy at 314-935-3118 or the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards as soon as possible so that the retaliatory behavior can be addressed and disciplinary action can be taken if possible.
Navigating the process
Common feelings after being accused of sexual misconduct
Whenever a student is accused of a policy violation, emotional responses will differ from person to person, especially if the policy violation in question is associated with sexual misconduct. Being accused of sexual misconduct can be a painful and challenging experience. It is important to remember that your responses to these accusations are normal reactions to a difficult situation. If you are accused of sexual misconduct, you may deal with some unanticipated emotions. Below are examples of feelings you may experience:
- Anger: Anger is a common emotion whenever someone has been accused of sexual misconduct. This is an appropriate response; however, the important factor to consider when dealing with anger is how you process through the anger. There are several ways you can vent any anger you are experiencing (browse our resources for professional and nonprofessional counseling options). Internalizing your anger could lead you to become irritable, anxious or even depressed. When dealing with anger, it is important not to resort to unhealthy manners of coping including the consumption of alcohol, the use of drugs, causing harm to yourself or others, or destructive behavior.
- Fear: Fear can take many forms. You may be experiencing fear of the unknown as the outcome of the investigation can impact your status at the university. You may also fear how those closest to you perceive you along with other members of the university community. Also, it is common to have fear of someone retaliating against you. If you feel as though you are being retaliated against, please see the section on retaliation above.
- Impact on Your Daily Life: With all the emotions listed, you may feel like your daily life has been impacted. While participating in an investigation, it may become challenging to pay attention in class and follow through with your coursework. Other areas of your life that may be impacted include: sleep routine, change in appetite, increase in anxiety and depression. Accommodations may be available. If you have questions regarding accommodations, please contact the Title IX Coordinator at 314-935-3118.
- Feeling Alone: Being accused of sexual misconduct may cause you to feel alone since the allegation is against you. Taking on the burden of the allegation may cause you to withdraw from your support networks because you may feel like it is “your problem.” It is common for individuals who are accused to prefer not to discuss the situation with anyone for fear of embarrassment or how it may be perceived by others. However, talking with a counselor or adviser may offer assistance with processing your experiences and feelings.
All these emotions can be overwhelming and it is important to remember there are resources both on and off-campus to assist you.
How to help a friend
- Listen from your friend’s point of view and be supportive.
- Accept your friend as a person, even if you have questions about your friend’s behavior.
- Provide an atmosphere where your friend can express honest feelings.
- Be honest with your friend about how much support you can provide.
- Help your friend generate alternatives and options for dealing with emotions and the situation.
- Let your friend make the ultimate decision about how to respond.
- Realize you may also be affected and seek counseling if necessary.
- Do not offer insincere help or support.
- Do not pre-judge the situation.
- Do not blame the student who has brought the complaint.
- Do not assume you know how your friend wants to be treated.
- Do not break your friend’s trust by telling others what might have happened in conversation or on social media.
- Recognize your own limitations. No one expects you to be an expert in counseling or sexual assault; therefore, avoid making strong recommendations.
- Remember that sharing details of your friend’s experience online or in person with other students could be upsetting to your friend or the student who brought the complaint, so please refrain from discussing the process with anyone other than your friend or the confidential resources you seek.