Appendix B: Initial Assessment of Sexual Misconduct Reports

This appendix describes the process used by the Title IX Review Team to assess reports (including complaints, allegations, grievances, incident information) of sexual misconduct, as defined in the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking (the Policy).  The exact process used depends on the identity of the people reported to have engaged in the misconduct, and may be documented in a formal procedure.  If there are any differences between this process description and a specific governing procedure, the procedure governs. 

Summary of Title IX Review Team Initial Assessment.  Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct alleged to have occurred on the university’s Clery Act geography or against a member of the campus community, the Title IX Coordinator will convene the Title IX Review Team to conduct an initial assessment and provide any information received, including personally identifiable information, to the Team.  The Team typically meets within 72 hours of a report being received by the Title IX Coordinator.[1]  The Team determines whether reports to external law enforcement entities are required by law and makes an initial assessment whether there is one or more allegations of misconduct that should be investigated under university procedure.[2]  The Team also considers interim measures.

The Title IX Review Team.  The Review Team consists of the Title IX Coordinator, a representative of the W&M Police, and, depending on the identity of the people reported or suspected to be involved in the sexual misconduct, the Dean of Students, Chief Human Resources Officer and/or the Dean of Arts & Sciences.[3]

Initial Assessment and Mandated Reports.  The Review Team will review the report and any other available relevant information to assess the threat posed by the reported misconduct and to determine whether external reports are required by law.[4]  The Review Team will make this determination based upon the following factors[5] (the “Risk Factors”):

  • Any known preference or request of the reporting party[6];
  • Whether the respondent (person named, accused, suspected, or reported as having engaged in the alleged misconduct) has prior arrests, reports and/or complaints of related misconduct or has any history of violent behavior;
  • Whether the respondent has a history of failing to comply with any related university protective or disciplinary measures, and/or any judicial protective order;
  • Whether the respondent has threatened to commit violence or any form of sexual misconduct;
  • Whether the reported misconduct involved multiple respondents;
  • Whether the reported misconduct involved physical violence. Examples of physical violence include hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, restraining, choking and brandishing or using any weapon;
  • Whether the report reveals a pattern of misconduct (e.g., by the respondent, by a particular group or organization, around a particular recurring event or activity, or at a particular location);
  • Whether the misconduct was facilitated through the use of drugs or intoxicants;
  • Whether the misconduct occurred while the reporting party was unconscious, physically helpless or unaware that the misconduct was occurring;
  • Whether the reporting party is (or was at the time of the reported incident) a minor (under 18);
  • Whether any other aggravating circumstances or signs of predatory behavior are present;
  • Applicable law, policy and procedure; and
  • Any evidence that a report was made in bad faith or is baseless. 

Upon completion of the initial assessment, the Review Team will determine the appropriate course of action:

  1. No further action under university administrative procedure.  No action may be appropriate for reports that do not allege conduct that violates applicable university policy, do not include sufficient information to initiate an investigation, where the person reported to have experienced the misconduct has requested no action and the Review Team’s assessment concludes that this request may be honored (see below), or of matters for which the university does not have jurisdiction.  No action may also be appropriate when there is evidence that a report is baseless or made in bad faith, although more typically some investigation is required to make such a determination. 
  2. Remedial but not disciplinary action.  Remedial actions may include remedies offered to the reporting party as well as actions designed to address possible areas of concern such as educational or awareness activities, targeted training, or increased oversight of specific departments or activities.  This course of action may be appropriate for reports that do not have sufficient information to initiate an investigation, reports where the person reported to have experienced the misconduct has requested no investigation and the Team’s assessment concludes that this request may be honored, or reports that do not allege conduct that violates applicable university policy but do allege conduct not consistent with university expectations, such as harassing conduct that has not become severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile environment. 
  3. Further action under this procedure (or the procedure used for reports of misconduct by students, staff or third parties, as applicable).   

If the reporting party has requested that there be no investigation or requested to remain anonymous or is not participating in the process, the Review Team will determine whether an internal investigation under this procedure is necessary to protect the health and safety of the campus community or individual faculty members or to fulfill the university’s obligations to provide a campus environment free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.  In making this determination, the Review Team will consider the Risk Factors and any evidence showing that the respondent made statements of admission or otherwise accepted responsibility for the misconduct, the existence of any independent information or evidence regarding the misconduct, and any other available and relevant evidence other than the reporting party’s testimony. If a determination is made to proceed with an investigation against the request of the reporting party, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the reporting party promptly.

If a reporting party has requested an investigation or disciplinary measures and the Review Team has determined that the information available does not provide a reasonable basis for such action, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the reporting party promptly.  The Review Team may change its determination based on additional information, at any time.  

C.   Interim Measures.  The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Review Team and/or subject to receiving necessary approvals from other university officials or entities, will take or cause to be taken interim steps to minimize the impact of the process on the reporting party, protect the safety and well-being of members of the university community, protect the integrity of the investigation (if any), and avoid retaliation.  The nature of interim measures depends on nature of the reported misconduct, the identity of the respondent (that is, whether he or she is a student, employee, or third party), and other facts and circumstances.  Interim measures may be taken upon initial receipt of report, after the Review Team’s initial assessment, or at a later point in the process.  Interim measures may be adjusted in response to new or additional information, an updated risk assessment, or other developments. 

 


[1] For reports of sexual violence, the meeting will occur within 72 hours. 

[2] The Review Team operates pursuant to Va. Code 23.1-806(C) and 23.1-806(D), with respect to reports of sexual violence as defined in Va. Code 23.1-400.  The team will have access to all available facts and circumstances and may seek additional information about the reported incident through any other legally permissible means.

[3] Each member of the Team has at least one designee, who may act in the Team member’s stead. 

[4] In cases involving alleged act of sexual violence would constitute a felony violation of Section 18.2-61 of the Virginia Code, the W&M Police representative on the Review Team must consult with the Commonwealth’s Attorney and/or the prosecutor with jurisdiction within 24 hours and provide the information received by the Review Team, withholding any personally identifiable information about the parties.

[5] If the Review Team cannot reach consensus, the W&M Police representative on the team shall make the determination with respect to the report to law enforcement, and the Title IX Coordinator shall make the determination with respect to an internal investigation.  In all cases, the W&M Police representative makes the notification to law enforcement.  In some instances, the notification would be in the form of an incident report to W&M Police. 

[6] The reporting party refers to the person alleged, reported, or suspected as having experienced the misconduct.  Reports may be made by a third party, in which case the references in this Appendix B to “reporting party” shall be understood to refer to the person who experienced the misconduct.