The University of Virginia has implemented a new temporary school policy on sexual misconduct and gender-based violence on campus, motivated by an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education. The policy, which is effective immediately, includes inclusive descriptions of the official procedures when it comes to reporting sexual assault. Moreover, the new policy includes the ways in which investigations about complaints and filings against employees of the university and non-affiliated parties will be conducted.
The implementation of the gender-based violence policy comes around one year after work was undertaken by University of Virginia students and administrators. The population of the campus wants to promote a safe, non-discriminatory environment, while cracking down on harassment, sexual assault, and stalking.
According to the policy, complaints regarding the aforementioned stipulations will be reviewed by a full-time investigator at the University of Virginia, along with a third party investigator with experience in such matters. Furthermore, both students and employees will be permitted to obtain an adviser for guidance and representation at disciplinary hearings. The university is now providing and expanding guidance programs for students seeking counseling, medical treatment, and “no-contact” orders.
Although the policy still requires official review from the U.S. Department of Education, the guidelines will first be looked over by the board of visitors, and a panel on the university’s climate and culture that was appointed by University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan. Officials from the univserity stated they expect the policy will go through further revisions in the next few months, following recommendations and new guidelines from both internal and external reviews.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Phil Roeder – Flickr License