All complaints of harassment or discrimination will be investigated in a manner that is fair, appropriate, reliable, and impartial. All parties involved in the investigation will be treated with dignity, respect and sensitivity by college officials throughout the process. Investigations may be conducted by trained Public Safety staff, trained Title IX Investigators or Assistant Coordinators (for Title IX matters), the Section 504 Coordinator or Assistant Coordinators (for ADA/Section 504-related matters), Human Resources staff, or another trained investigator (including external investigators) appropriate to the situation and in accordance with all College policies and legal requirements.
For matters involving discrimination or harassment based on sex or gender (covered by Title IX), the Title IX Coordinator will ensure that the investigation complies with all Title IX requirements.
- Conduct must occur in the U.S.
- Conduct must occur under an “education program or activity”
- Location or event controlled or owned by the school
- Includes buildings owned or controlled by an officially recognized student org.
- The College is only required to respond to sexual harassment upon receipt of actual knowledge, this means only reports made directly to the Title IX Coordinator
- May only investigate upon receipt of a formal, WRITTEN complaint
- Complaint may be signed by the complainant or by Title IX coordinator (or parent if victim is a minor)
- The complainant must be actively participating in or seeking to participate in the educational program or activity at the time of filing
For matters involving discrimination or harassment based on disability (covered by ADA/Section 504), the Section 504 Coordinator will ensure the investigation complies with all Section 504 requirements.
The responsibility to conduct an investigation shall not be altered by the fact that a criminal investigation of the incident is pending or has been concluded, although the investigation may be delayed or suspended at the request of law enforcement while the law enforcement agency is gathering evidence. In the event the investigation is delayed at the request of the law enforcement agency, appropriate steps will be taken to provide for the safety of the Complainant and the College community and to prevent retaliation by any individual.
The steps may include changes to the schedule, housing assignment or work location of the Responding Party, or summary suspension/leave from the College issued to the Responding Party. The College will promptly resume its Title IX investigation as soon the College receives notification that law enforcement has completed the evidence-gathering process.
The Complainant will be contacted by a College administrator designated by the Title IX Coordinator or ADA/Section 504 Coordinator to schedule a meeting. During the meeting, the College administrator will:
- Provide the Complainant with an explanation of the campus conduct process.
- In proceedings involving sexual misconduct, provide the Complainant with a written list of rights and responsibilities under this Policy.
- Give the Complainant the opportunity to submit a written statement and evidence.
- Give the Complainant the opportunity to list any witnesses who may have information pertaining to the complaint.
- Instruct the Complainant to have no contact with the Respondent during the course of the investigation.
- Inform the Complainant that there will be follow-up meetings to discuss the case and status.
- To be informed that the presumption is not responsible until a determination has been made.
The Respondent will be contacted by a College administrator designated by the Title IX Coordinator or Section 504/ADA Coordinator to schedule a meeting.
During the meetings, the College administrator will:
- Provide the Respondent with an explanation of the campus conduct process.
- In proceedings involving sexual misconduct, provide the Respondent with a written list of rights and responsibilities under this Policy (see Appendix B).
- Present the allegations and provide the Respondent the opportunity to respond.
- Give the Respondent the opportunity to submit a written statement and evidence to contest the allegations.
- Give the Respondent the opportunity to list any witnesses who may have information pertaining to the complaint.
- Instruct the Respondent to have no contact with the Complainant during the course of the investigation.
- Inform the Respondent that there will be follow-up meetings to discuss the case and status.
- To be informed that respondent is presumed not responsible until a determination has been made.
Any person identified by the Complainant or Respondent who has relevant and non-cumulative information that pertains to the allegation will be contact by the investigator(s).
The person designated to conduct the investigation shall prepare a written report within 15 business days after completing the investigation, unless additional time to complete the investigation is required. In that case, the investigator shall report on the status of the investigation to the Reporting Party, the Responding Party, and the Title IX or Section 504 Coordinator (or designee) as applicable at the expiration of the 15-day period and every 15 business days thereafter.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the Complainant to review the written report and inform him/her of the next steps in the process. The Title IX Coordinator will also contact the Respondent to review the written report and explain the next steps in the process. Either party may provide a written response to the written report within five (5) days after reviewing it.
The written report is a summary of the investigation and, along with the parties’ responses, will be forwarded to the appropriate administrator. The administrator will then forward the report to the Honor Board or the Discrimination Dispute Review Committee (DDRC) for review and any action deemed appropriate in accordance with the procedures of each.
Nothing in these procedures or in the procedures of the Honor Board or DDRC limits the right of any person to pursue other avenues of recourse, which may include filing charges or a complaint with local, state, and federal authorities responsible for addressing unlawful discrimination and harassment.
More information about the procedures of the Honor Board can be found in Washington College Student Handbook.
All members of the Washington College community are advised that retaliation against anyone for filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment or for participating in an investigation of discrimination or harassment is strictly prohibited by law and by College policy.
All parties involved, especially those charged with carrying out the above policies, are enjoined to work in confidence to the extent legally permissible and practically possible.
In cases of discrimination and harassment, Reporting Parties may also obtain information and/or file a complaint by writing the Director of Civil Rights, US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, The Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Such complaints generally must be filed within 180 days.