Sexual Assault Resources

Making a report to the UW

You have the right to report sexual misconduct to the police, to the University, to both, or to neither.  This is your choice. You may report any instances of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and/or sexual harassment to University investigation offices. The University will conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation to determine whether a University policy or code – such as the Student Conduct Code or Executive Order No. 31 – has been violated.  A University investigation is separate and different from any investigation police might conduct.

Initial Assessment

If you choose to make a report, an investigator meets with you to provide information about the investigation process, and to gather information about what happened.  After an initial review of the information you shared, the investigator will inform you whether the University may conduct an investigation.

Investigation

Investigators receive regular training on issues of sexual violence, including about working with individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct. The assigned investigator will investigate the reported incident by gathering evidence and interviewing you, witnesses, and the person alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct, who is referred to as the “respondent.” Both you and the respondent will have the opportunity to identify relevant witnesses and provide evidence.

Determination

The investigator will review all available information to determine whether a University policy has been violated. The University uses a “preponderance of evidence” standard in its determinations.  A “preponderance of evidence” means the investigator will determine whether it is “more likely than not” that a violation of a policy occurred. This standard is different from the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that is used in criminal courts. Both you and the respondent will be informed of the outcome and whether there is an option to seek additional review.

Hearing

In accordance with the Student Conduct Code or Faculty Code, in matters where a University student or University faculty member is the respondent, a hearing may be convened where a hearing officer or panel of faculty assesses the evidence relating to the report, makes findings, and determines appropriate actions, if any. Both you and the respondent may be accompanied to any hearing by an advisor of your choice.  The advisor may be an attorney. Both you and the respondent will be informed of the investigation’s outcome and whether there is an option to seek an appeal.

Disciplinary action

If the respondent is found responsible for violating University policy or code, sanctions or disciplinary actions are available.  What happens will depend on the findings and whether the person is a student and/or employee at the University. Disciplinary actions for students may include, but are not limited to, dismissal, suspension, disciplinary probation, or a reprimand. Depending on terms and type of employment, employees may face termination of employment, suspension, and/or or other types of corrective action.

The process utilized for an investigation and the use of any available disciplinary sanctions depends on the role (e.g., student, staff, faculty) of the respondent at the University.