How Complaints and Reports are Handled - Investigation Procedures

Complaints and reports of sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct are processed under one of two procedures.  The procedure used is determined by the identity of the person(s) accused, suspected, or reported for misconduct.  This person is called the respondent.

(Why is the identity of the respondent important? Because grievance/complaint procedures may lead to disciplinary action, and the university's relationship with the person potentially being disciplined determines the nature of and process for discipline.)  

Both W&M procedures carefully treat concerns of anonymity/confidentiality.  

Both W&M procedures include steps (interim measures) designed to protect reporting parties from retaliation and to provide them with support and protection, such as through no-contact orders and/or changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations -- if requested by reporting party.  These steps can be taken regardless of whether criminal complaint is being made.  

Both W&M procedures involve trained investigators, usually Title IX staff (Compliance & Equity).  

Neither procedure uses mediation to resolve sexual harassment or misconduct allegations.  

Both procedures provide both (or all) parties the same rights to notification and appeals.  

Both procedures are designed to resolve matters within 60 days of an investigation being initiated -- provided that appeals fall outside of the 60 day timeframe and individual matters may require more than 60 days to reach a fair and thorough final resolution.  

Both resolve complaints using a preponderance of the evidence standard -- "more likely than not."  

  • Reports of sexual misconduct by a student are processed under the Student Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Grievance/Complaint Procedure
    • preliminary investigation report is provided to parties for their review and response
    • final investigation report is provided to the Dean of Students, who decides whether a policy violation has occurred; investigators do not make determinations or recommended findings.
  • All other reports of sexual misconduct - including complaints against faculty, staff, contractors, or other third parties - are processed under the Discrimination Grievance/Complaint Procedure
    • investigation report is shared with the parties for review and response; investigators do not make determinations
    • determination of responsibility (policy violation) generally made by Provost based on investigation findings and parties' responses; Provost may submit a matter for hearing and hearings are more likely to be involved in resolution of allegations against faculty.
This website was last updated in July 2016.