University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Presidential Orders


Executive Order


No. 51



Sexual Violence Elimination Policy



1.  Policy

This policy is adopted in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act (20 USC § 1092(f)), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 USC § 1681), Gender Equality in Higher Education (Chapter 28B.110 RCW), and General Conduct Code for the University of Washington (Chapter 478-124 WAC).

The University of Washington is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe working and learning environment that is free from violence. The University prohibits the following behavior by members of the University community including students, employees, and members of the public when the University determines that an individual's behavior affects a University interest:

  • Domestic violence;
  • Relationship violence;
  • Stalking; and
  • Sexual assault.

The University also prohibits retaliation against any individual who seeks resources, makes a referral, reports concerns, or who cooperates with or participates in any investigation of allegations of violations of this policy, or who is perceived to have engaged in any of these actions.

Discrimination or harassment based on protected class statuses, including sexual harassment, are addressed by Executive Order No. 31, Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action, and Chapter 478-121 WAC, Student Conduct Code for the University of Washington. Depending on the circumstances, each or all policies may apply.

2.  Definitions

  A. Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes:

    1) The infliction of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault committed against a family or household member. Family or household members include:
  • A current or former spouse or intimate partner;

  • A person with whom the person shares a child in common;

  • A person with whom one is cohabitating or has cohabitated; or

  • A person with whom one resides including a roommate, suitemate, or housemate.
    2) Sexual assault of one family or household member by another family or household member; or

    3) Stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.

  B. Relationship Violence

Relationship violence, also referred to as "dating violence," is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.

    1) The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

    2) For the purposes of this definition, relationship or dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse, or the threat of such abuse.

    3) Relationship or dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

  C. Sexual Assault

    1) Sexual assault is sexual contact with another person without, or that exceeds, that person's consent.

    2) For the purposes of this subsection, "sexual contact" includes:
  • Any touching of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification; or

  • Any penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ, of another person.

    3) For the purposes of this subsection:

      a) "Consent" means that at the time of and throughout the sexual contact, there are actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement between the parties to engage in the sexual contact.
  • Past consent does not imply future consent.

  • Consent given to one person does not imply consent given to another person.

  • Consent to one sexual act does not imply consent to other sexual acts.

  • Lack of resistance to sexual contact does not imply consent.

  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
      b) Consent cannot be given or granted by a person who, at the relevant time, cannot understand the facts, nature, extent, or implications of the sexual contact for any reason, including, but not limited to, being asleep, unconscious, mentally or physically impaired due to an intellectual or other disability, or mentally or physically incapacitated due to the effects of drugs or alcohol.
  • Indicators that a person may be incapacitated by drugs or alcohol and therefore, cannot grant consent include, but are not limited to, stumbling, falling down, an inability to stand or walk on their own, slurred speech or incoherent communication, an inability to focus their eyes or confusion about what is happening around them, passing out, or vomiting.

  • A failure to exhibit any of these behaviors does not necessarily mean that a person is capable of giving consent or is not incapacitated.
    4) Sexual contact is not consensual when force or coercion is threatened or used to gain acquiescence.

      a) Force includes the use of physical violence, physical force, threats, or intimidation to overcome resistance or gain agreement to sexual contact.

      b) Coercion includes using pressure, deception, or manipulation to cause someone to agree to sexual contact against his or her will, without the use of physical force. Pressure can mean verbal or emotional pressure.

    5) Sexual assault also includes sexual contact with a person who is under the statutory age of consent in accordance with Chapter 9A.44 RCW.

    6)
Use of alcohol or drugs is not a valid defense to a violation of this subsection.

  D. Stalking

    1)
Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
  • Fear for the person's safety or the safety of others; or
  • Suffer substantial emotional distress.
    2)
For the purposes of this subsection, "course of conduct" means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.

    3)
For the purposes of this subsection, "substantial emotional distress" means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

3.  Educational Programs

The University is committed to providing prevention and awareness programs to students and employees relating to domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual assault. These include primary prevention and awareness programs directed at incoming students and new employees and ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns directed at students and employees. These programs and campaigns include information about:

  • University policies prohibiting domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking and sexual assault;

  • The Revised Code of Washington definitions of domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking, sexual assault, and consent;

  • Bystander intervention techniques;

  • Risk reduction options to reduce perpetration and increase individual and community safety, and to empower individuals to act on their own behalves; and

  • The rights, processes, and resources described in this policy and other relevant University policies.

In accordance with the Clery Act, the University publishes an Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, and Drug-Free Schools Act Information that contains a description of primary and ongoing prevention and awareness programs and campaigns.

4.  University Assistance and Resources for Victims

The University encourages individuals who are affected by behavior that may be in violation of this policy to seek assistance from the Confidential Support Offices listed in Section 11. The following assistance and resources are available to individuals, regardless of whether they choose to make a report to law enforcement or request an investigation by the University.

  A. Safety Planning

When the University is notified of an allegation of domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking or sexual assault, the University can assist individuals by implementing safety measures, such as issuing no-contact directives, arranging for housing, academic and work accommodations, and/or providing assistance with transportation planning. These safety measures can be implemented when reasonably available and may be on an interim or permanent basis. The University will maintain the confidentiality of any remedial measures under this policy to the extent practicable. Safety measures are available through the confidential support offices and/or the investigation offices whether or not a report is made to the University or local law enforcement.

  B. Reporting

Individuals who experience domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking, sexual assault, or retaliation are encouraged, but not required to make a report to the University or to law enforcement. The confidential support offices can provide information about and assistance with reporting incidents to the University or to local law enforcement, including the University of Washington Police Department. Individuals also have the option to decline to make a report. See Section 6 for University complaint reporting options.

  C. Information About University and Community Resources

The University has a variety of services available to individuals who experience domestic violence, relationship violence, sexual assault, or stalking including counseling, healthcare, victim advocacy, legal assistance, VISA and immigration assistance, and student financial aid assistance. Information about available services at the University and in the local community can also be obtained from a confidential support office.

  D. Protection Orders

The University will provide information on how to obtain orders of protection issued by a criminal, civil, or tribal court and assist with implementing orders that have implications for the individual's participation in University-related activities.

  E. Medical Care and Preserving Evidence

Information will also be provided about University and community options for medical care, including how to obtain a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination (SANE) by a trained medical professional. Information about the importance of preserving evidence is available from the confidential support offices.

5.  Leave Use or Work Schedule Adjustments

University employees who are victims of domestic violence (which includes relationship violence), stalking, or sexual assault may request time away from work or a modified work schedule to make arrangements for personal safety, legal proceedings, or to obtain medical, legal, or counseling services in accordance with Administrative Policy Statement 11.7, Policy on Domestic Violence in the Workplace and Leave Related to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking.

6.  Reporting a Complaint or Incident

  A. Complaint Reporting to the University

The University provides procedures for the investigation and resolution of complaints relating to domestic violence, relationship violence, sexual assault, stalking or retaliation under this policy. The University will respond to complaints regardless of whether a complaint is filed with a law enforcement agency. The process the University will follow to investigate and resolve the complaint depends on the relationship to the University of the person against whom the complaint is made. The University's processes for investigation and resolution of complaints are as follows: A complaint may be filed with the appropriate University Investigation Office listed in Section 12 of this policy.

  B. Reporting to Law Enforcement

Behavior that is prohibited by this policy may also violate criminal law and may be reported directly to law enforcement. If an individual chooses to make a report to law enforcement, that person may still file a complaint with a University investigation office. The University will make every effort to work cooperatively with the law enforcement agency, but the University will not unduly delay its own investigation.

7.  University Investigations

Investigations of conduct prohibited by this policy are designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial complaint investigation and resolution, and to equitably protect the rights of individuals participating in the investigation. The following is general information about investigations of alleged violations of this policy:

  A. Training for Investigators and Adjudicators

The individuals who conduct University investigations or participate in University hearings receive, at a minimum, annual training on the issues related to domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking, sexual assault, and retaliation and on conducting investigations and hearings that fosters safety, equitable treatment of the parties, and that promote accountability.

  B. Complaint Intake

A staff member of the investigation office meets with each complainant to gather information about the complaint and to provide information about the complaint process, including the complainant's rights and options under this and other University policies. After initial review of the complaint, the complainant will be informed of the action the University will take.

Before an investigation is opened, protective measures will be considered and implemented as they are reasonably available. Protective measures may include changing academic, living, transportation, and/or working arrangements, and taking steps to limit contact between the individuals involved. As necessary, investigation offices will assist individuals potentially at risk with safety planning, either directly or with the assistance of other University offices, such as the confidential support offices in Section 11 or SafeCampus.

  C. Confidentiality

Information relating to an investigation is kept confidential by the investigation offices and is provided only to those persons who have a legitimate educational or business need to know, including the subject of the complaint, witnesses, the administrative head of the University unit involved, the Title IX Coordinator, and the appropriate human resources staff and/or the Provost's Office, as necessary. Some information relevant to the investigation may be protected from disclosure, such as healthcare information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or student records protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

  D. Investigation

When an investigation is opened, the subject of the investigation will be provided with a written explanation of their rights and options under this and other relevant University policies and information about the investigation process. The assigned investigator will gather evidence, conduct interviews of the complainant, subject, and witnesses. During the investigation, the complainant and the subject will have the opportunity to identify witnesses and provide the investigator with evidence.

  E. Standard of Proof

The University uses a "preponderance of evidence" standard to determine whether a violation of University policy has occurred. "Preponderance of evidence" means that based on all of the relevant evidence, the facts demonstrate that it is "more likely than not" that the subject of the investigation violated one or more University policies.

  F. Result

The complainant and the subject of the complaint will concurrently be informed in writing of the result of the investigation, the rationale for the result, and whether there is an option to appeal a result. The result includes any initial, interim, or final decisions. University officials with an educational or business need to know, such as the administrative head of the University organization involved, the appropriate human resources staff, the Title IX Coordinator, and/or the Provost's Office will also be informed of the result of an investigation.

  G. Hearings

The University follows the Student Conduct Code or the Faculty Code in matters where a University student or faculty member is the subject of a complaint. A hearing may be convened to assess the evidence relating to the complaint, make findings, and determine appropriate actions, if any. The complainant and subject will be concurrently informed in writing of the result of the hearing, the rationale for the result, and whether there is an option to seek an appeal. The result includes any initial, interim, or final decisions. Those with an educational or business need to know will also be informed of the result, such as the administrative head of the unit involved, human resources staff, the Title IX Coordinator, and/or the Provost's Office.

8.  Consequences of Policy Violation

A University community member who engages in behavior in violation of this policy is subject to corrective or disciplinary action, including but not limited to, termination of employment, termination from educational programs, or termination of any non-employment relationship. The available sanctions include the following:

Individuals who engage in behavior in violation of this policy may also be removed from University premises, temporarily or permanently banned from the University premises, and/or subject to arrest and/or criminal prosecution.

The University also retains the authority to administer discipline or take corrective action for any behavior that it deems unacceptable, regardless of whether the behavior rises to the level of a violation of University policy.

9.  Record Keeping

Records retained by University offices may be subject to disclosure under Chapter 42.56 RCW, the Washington State Public Records Act, unless otherwise protected from disclosure by law. Some information, such as healthcare information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or other state laws, student records protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), or information that is otherwise exempt from the Public Records Act, will not be subject to disclosure under that Act. Information retained in University records that is otherwise protected from disclosure, may be subject to disclosure pursuant to a valid subpoena or court order.

In accordance with the Clery Act, the University must also disclose statistical information relating to crimes of domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking, sexual assault, in its annual security report and issue timely warnings. This reporting is done without disclosing personally identifying information relating to the victim of such crimes, including information likely to disclose the location of the victim.

10.  Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting

In accordance with Executive Order No. 56, Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect, all University employees and volunteers who have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect must immediately report the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or the Department of Social and Health Services. This reporting responsibility is separate from and in addition to the responsibility University employees have to report complaints of discrimination and/or harassment and/or sexual violence they receive in accordance with Executive Order No. 31 and Administrative Policy Statement 46.3.

11.  Confidential Support Offices

The University has established confidential support offices to provide a safe place for individuals to discuss concerns regarding domestic violence, relationship violence, sexual assault, or stalking and to learn about the options and resources available to them. In general, disclosures made to a confidential support office under this policy do not constitute a report to the University for the purposes of initiating a complaint investigation or a request to take action against an individual alleged to have violated this policy. More information about confidentiality can be obtained from the confidential support offices.

Confidential support offices have been designated as follows:

For the most current information relating to confidential support offices see the Sexual Assault Resources website.

12.  University Investigation Offices

Human Resources

  • Campus Human Resources — For complaints involving UW Seattle staff, UW Bothell staff, and UW Tacoma campus staff employees, including student employees.
    Phone: 206-543-2354

  • Harborview Medical Center (HMC) Human Resources — For complaints involving HMC staff employees, including student employees.
    Phone: 206-744-9220

  • UW Medical Center (UWMC) Human Resources — For complaints involving UWMC staff employees, including student employees.
    Phone: 206-598-6116

Individuals who wish to file allegations of violations of this policy also may contact the following:

  • United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
    Phone: 1-800-421-3481 (toll-free)
    Email: ocr@ed.gov

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    Phone: 1-800-669-4000 (toll-free) 1-800-669-6820 (toll-free TTY)

  • Washington State Human Rights Commission
    Phone: 1-800-233-3247 (toll-free) 1-800-300-7525 (toll-free TTY)

13.  Additional Resources

Information about additional resources available through the University or in the community is available at the Sexual Assault Resources website, including:

  A. SafeCampus

SafeCampus — Provides University-wide consultation and support relating to emerging safety risks and violence prevention.
  • UW Seattle, Phone: 206-685-SAFE (7233)
  • UW Bothell, Phone: 425-352-SAFE (7233)
  • UW Tacoma, Phone: 253-692-SAFE (7233)
  B. University Health Care Resources

Communications between patients and University healthcare providers have additional protections under University policies, state licensing requirements, and state and/or federal law. More information about the confidentiality of these communications may be obtained from the healthcare provider. See the Medical Care page of the University's Sexual Assault Resources website.

  C. Title IX/ADA Coordinator

The University's Title IX/ADA Coordinator is available to review individual concerns relating to compliance and to provide compliance support for programs, departments, schools, colleges, and campuses relating to discrimination based on sex or disability and providing access and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. For more information, see the Title IX website.

June 21, 2016.


For related information, see:

  • Chapter 478-121 WAC, "Student Conduct Code for the University of Washington"
  • Chapter 478-124 WAC, "General Conduct Code for the University of Washington"
  • Executive Order No. 31, "Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action"
  • Executive Order No. 56, "Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect"
  • Administrative Policy Statement 11.7, "Policy on Domestic Violence in the Workplace and Leave Related to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking"
  • Administrative Policy Statement 46.3, "Resolution of Complaints Against University Employees"