Improving Washington University’s Response to Sexual Assault and Misconduct: A Call to Action

Washington University, like most universities in the nation, has been challenged to address the serious issues of sexual assault and misconduct on our campuses, and our students have rightly expressed their concern that these matters should be treated with the highest level of urgency and sensitivity.

Our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of instances of sexual assault and misconduct at Washington University to none; however, we know that is extremely difficult to achieve. Even as we work to prevent incidents from occurring, we have to keep a firm focus on ensuring that our students are supported, treated fairly and respectfully, and given the appropriate tools to navigate the Title IX process. We also want to reduce the overall time to complete the Title IX adjudication process.

On April 27, 2018, Chancellor Mark Wrighton charged Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White and a working group she would lead with responsibility for addressing the following four key areas of improvement in the university’s response to sexual assault and misconduct:

  • Reducing stress on students involved in the Title IX process; reducing timelines; and increasing
  • Enhancing resources for mental health services and survivor support; Title IX investigative staff;
    and training, especially to make the process and those who support our students more trauma-informed
    and more sensitive to all identities.
  • Providing a channel for peer advocacy to assist students going through the Title IX process and
    provide advice to the Title IX Office.
  • Establishing accountability measures with opportunities for student feedback.

The report “Improving Washington University’s Response to Sexual Assault and Misconduct: A Call to Action” (PDF) highlights the work that has been completed in these areas to date and outlines next steps, including requests for additional staffing and financial resources where needed.