University of Virginia Revises Sexual Misconduct Policies

The University of Virginia has released its proposed new “Policy and Procedures for Cases of Student Sexual Misconduct.” The university is seeking comments and recommendations from the university community before officially adopting the new code.

Here are some of the proposed changes to the university’s policies and procedures:

1. Emphasis on Assistance to Victims: The proposed policy begins by setting out, in clear terms, where a victim of sexual misconduct can turn to obtain immediate assistance and support.

2. Definition of “Sexual Misconduct:” Sexual misconduct is a broad term that encompasses any unwelcome sexual behavior that occurs without effective consent. This includes instances of stalking, cyberstalking or relationship violence, and “sexual exploitation,” which includes causing another’s incapacitation, recording or transmitting sexual images, voyeurism and the knowing transmission of a sexually transmitted infection to another person.

3. No Geographical Limit on Jurisdiction. Under the existing policy, jurisdiction is limited to conduct committed on university-owned or leased property or where a student, faculty member, employee or visitor resides within the city of Charlottesville or Albemarle County. The proposed policy removes geographical limits on jurisdiction. The new policy covers sexual misconduct by a university student, wherever it occurs.

4. No Time Limit on Invoking Procedures. Under the existing policy, complaints must be brought within one year of the alleged misconduct. There is no time limit under the proposed policy, as long as the accused is a university student at the time the complaint is made.

5. Evidentiary Standard Changed. The evidentiary standard in adjudication of sexual misconduct cases has been changed from “clear and convincing evidence” to a “preponderance of the evidence.”

In releasing the proposed guidelines, Patricia M. Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer, stated: “Sexual misconduct has no place in the university’s community of trust. Such behavior is devastating to individuals and leaves emotional scars long after the violence has occurred. It is also detrimental and destructive to an environment in which young people should be free to concentrate on their studies and to develop themselves personally and socially.”

The full text of the draft of the proposed changes can be seen here.

Filed Under: NewsSexual Assault/Harassment


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