Supportive measures are intended to restore or preserve equal access to UW’s education programs and activities, including work environments, without burdening the other party. These measures may help individuals access UW environments safely or may be designed to deter any sex- or gender-based violence or harassment. Supportive measures may be available regardless of whether a complaint is filed, or an investigation is requested.
Supportive measures may include modifications or extensions of course-related deadlines, changes in class schedules, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, referrals to counseling or external court-based processes and/or legal services, and/or mutual restrictions on communication between two parties. These services are offered when appropriate and reasonable. They are available to any individual who has experienced or is alleged to have engaged in behavior that may be considered sex- or gender-based violence or harassment.
If you have experienced sex- or gender-based violence or harassment, confidential advocacy is a good place to learn about supportive measures. The Office of the Title IX Coordinator can answer questions as well.
Mutual No Communication Directives (MNCDs)
Mutual No Communication Directives (MNCDs) are one type of supportive measure that may be requested through an advocate or Human Resource Consultant and issued following the Office of the Title IX Coordinator’s assessment. MNCDs do not always accompany an investigation, and if they do, an individual will also receive a notice of why they’re being investigated and what’s been alleged. Because MNCDs may be issued even when no investigation is contemplated, they are intended to prevent two people from communicating with one another and are not intended to be disciplinary, punitive, or prevent anyone from accessing their educational or workplace environments.
Specific staff can use this link to request a MNCD.
Mutual No Communication Directive FAQs
If you’ve experienced something you would consider to be sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, or sexual harassment, you may reach out to an advocate to talk about whether a MNCD may be an appropriate supportive measure. If you’re a student and not already working with an advocate, you can use this link to find contact information for the advocate that works with students on your campus. If you’re an employee and not already working with an advocate, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment to talk about MNCDs. Staff may also request a MNCD through a Human Resources Consultant.
No. MNCDs are supportive measures that may be issued because a person believes they’ve experienced behavior Title IX prohibits and wants to be left alone. The person who requests the MNCD is also issued one. (They’re not in trouble either.)
MNCDs may be issued regardless of whether an investigation will take place. If an investigation occurs, a separate notice of the investigation will be sent. Until an investigation occurs and someone is found responsible, no one is in trouble or expected to face consequences.
If you believe you need to talk to the other person because of a course or workplace requirement, inform your instructor or supervisor that you cannot talk to the other person because of the MNCD. If your instructor or supervisor is not able resolve the concern in a way that ensures you and the other person are following the directive and not communicating with one another, you may tell your instructor or supervisor they may contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator.
If you believe you need to communicate with the other person for other reasons, you may wish to first talk to someone in student conduct and/or human resources about the reason you believe communication is needed. They can help you think of potential alternatives or solutions if they agree communication is necessary.
No. The MNCD prohibits anyone from communicating with the other person on your behalf. Accordingly, don’t ask a friend, colleague, family member, or anyone else to communicate with the other person. It’s also not a good idea to ask anyone to tag the other person on social media either. (And you shouldn’t tag the other person on social media.)
MNCDs are not disciplinary or punitive. Federal law requires the UW provide MNCDs as an option if someone believes they’ve experienced sexual harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence, or sexual assault. When no investigation notification accompanies a MNCD, the UW is not pursuing any additional action. If an investigation starts at any point, you will receive a notification that includes information about why you’re being investigated.
A MNCD is not intended to be punitive or disciplinary. You have the rights to continue receiving and participating in your education, to continue working and fulfilling your job responsibilities, and to engage in other UW activities. The only thing you cannot do is communicate with someone who doesn’t want you to communicate with them. If you’re a student, you may speak with the student conduct officer about your rights when you meet with them; if you’re an employee, you may ask your human resources consultant or department chair about your rights.
Unless a MNCD explicitly states otherwise, it does not restrict either person from being in any specific location. In fact, for students, MNCDs are written to assume that, in some cases, both students may be in the same location such as a classroom, dining area, conference room, etc. at the same time. For employees, some MNCDs may limit access to certain locations because leadership has determined an additional restriction is necessary for the supportive measure to be effective in the workspace.
However a specific MNCD is worded, you may want to avoid being close to one another to avoid any appearance of communication or to try to avoid the other person reporting a potential violation of the MNCD. You may also want to avoid being the only two people present in a small space, like an elevator or copy room. It may make sense if you see the other person to wait (for another elevator) or try to use a resource (come back to the copy room) later.
If you’re in the same class as the other person, you may wish to disclose to the instructor that a MNCD is in place and that you’re prohibited from communicating with that person. This may mean that you don’t respond directly to that person in a class discussion or that you ask the instructor not to group you together. Your instructor is not allowed to hold this against you when grading you or assigning any participation points. If your instructor wishes to consult with the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, they may do so. If you feel your instructor is not respecting your prohibition on communicating with the other person, you may also contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator and ask that we speak with the instructor.
If you share a workspace with the other person, you should not have to communicate regularly with the other person. This is part of the assessment that is made when determining whether to issue a MNCD. Any specific job-related need to communicate should be discussed with your supervisor in advance and both parties should be informed if an exception to the directive has been allowed.
Because the MNCD prohibits communication and does not place restrictions on where either person may be, you may run into one another on-campus, in the work environment, or off-campus/outside of UW. If this occurs, don’t communicate with the other person and, to the extent possible, avoid sitting or being near them. You’re both allowed to be getting coffee at the same place or be in the library at the same time. If an investigation occurs and if someone is found responsible for violating UW policy, then there may be affirmative obligations for a person to move or leave. For a MNCD that’s issued as a supportive measure, there is not a requirement that either person leave a space.
If you’re a student, you may need to tell instructors about the MNCD to ensure you’re not expected to communicate with the other person in class or for a group assignment. If you’re an employee, your supervisor will likely be informed about the MNCD. The University cannot prohibit you from telling anyone about the MNCD. If you speak about the MNCD with anyone, whatever you say should be truthful. If you are not truthful and say things that harm the other person (including their reputation), that person may have the right to bring a lawsuit against you.
You are allowed to share truthful information about the underlying incident and/or how or why you know the other person. It is recommended that if you share information about the MNCD, you share that within your support network (i.e. with your friends, family, instructors, supervisors) and not purposely with people you don’t know well but know the other person. If you share information, you may want to be clear about what is your opinion or your perspective. If you say anything that is not truthful and it causes harm to the other person–including harm to their reputation– the other person may have the right to bring a lawsuit against you.
If you are a student and believe the MNCD was violated, you should contact the student conduct office on your campus. You may reach out to the person in the conduct office who met with you about the MNCD. If you’re an employee, you may contact your supervisor or your human resources consultant to report that you believe the MNCD was violated. If you believe the MNCD was violated and report it either to a student conduct office or your supervisor/HR consultant, know that the University may need to respond to or investigate the reported violation depending on its severity, even if you do not want an investigation to occur.
Federal law requires the UW implement these MNCDs when they’re requested, reviewed for appropriateness, and issued. Accordingly, as a UW employee, you must take any available actions to ensure they’re followed. These MNCDs do not prevent the two parties from being in the same room at the same time; they prevent communication between the two parties. Accordingly, do not ask the two parties to a MNCD to speak with one another or work directly with one another. If you do not believe it is possible to take actions to prevent the two parties from communicating, contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator at email@example.com.