I. INITIAL INQUIRY OF REPORTED HAZING
A. Upon receipt of a hazing report, the University Dean of Students or his/her designee (hereafter, the “Dean”) will undertake an initial inquiry. The initial inquiry will include:
- Meeting with the reporting individual(s), if known, as well as any other relevant individuals to gather as much information as possible.
- If meeting with a student alleged to have been subjected to hazing behavior, the Dean will discuss safety planning and how to request immediate accommodations (academic and/or personal), review possible interim protective measures, provide referral to appropriate support resources, and encourage reporting to law enforcement. The Dean will also provide a copy of these procedures.
- Assess if any information in the report may trigger the University’s Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence. If so, the Dean will immediately notify the Office of Equal Opportunity & Civil Rights to discuss cross-jurisdictional procedures.
B. At any point during this process, the Dean may consider implementing interim protective measures. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, suspension of a student organization’s operating agreement with the University, establishment of no-contact directive(s), and/or interim suspension of student(s) in accordance with the University’s interim suspension policy. Should the Dean suspend an organization’s operating agreement, a written letter of suspension will be provided in person or by email to the president or similar senior officer in the organization. A copy of the letter also may be provided to the organization’s advisor(s) and/or national headquarters. If the report involves a varsity sports team under the jurisdiction of the Department of Athletics, the Dean will notify the University’s Director of Athletics. The Dean also will engage the applicable sports supervisor in the Department of Athletics to discuss and coordinate any appropriate interim protective measures.
The Dean may engage the Threat Assessment Team if appropriate.
C. Support Resources:
Medical (Emergency – 911)
UVA Medical Center Emergency Department
1215 Lee Street, Charlottesville
Elson Student Health Center
400 Brandon Avenue, Charlottesville
Law Enforcement (Emergency – 911)
Albemarle County Police
City of Charlottesville Police
Counseling (Confidential Resources)
Counseling & Psychological Services
434-972-7004 (evenings and weekends)
UVA Women’s Center
Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA)
Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE)
II. EVALUATION PANEL
Upon completion of the initial inquiry, the Dean will refer the report and any information provided by the reporter and/or gathered during the initial inquiry to the Hazing Evaluation Panel (Panel). The Panel will convene as soon as possible and typically within three business days of receiving a referral from the Dean.
A. Assessment of Actionability
Based on the information available, the Panel will first determine if the report is actionable under the University’s Hazing Policy. An actionable report contains sufficient information so as to appear valid or genuine (e.g., location, time, specific individual(s) or organization(s) involved, and/or specific observed behavior) and implicates one or more provisions of the University’s Hazing Policy.
B. Assessment of Threat to Health or Safety
- Risk Factors. If the report is deemed actionable, the Panel will next determine whether the reported information and any other available information provides a rational basis for concluding that there is a threat to the health or safety of any member of the University community. The Panel will make this determination based upon a review of the totality of the known circumstances, and will be guided by a consideration of the following factors (the “Risk Factors”):
- Whether the Respondent/Organization has a prior history of hazing incidents;
- Whether the Respondent/Organization has a prior history of failing to comply with any University policies including No Contact Directives, Standards of Conduct, and/or University protective measures;
- Whether the Respondent/Organization has threatened to commit violence;
- Whether the incident involved multiple individual respondents or organizations;
- Whether the reported behavior included physical activity (e.g., paddling, burning, branding, tattooing, forced calisthenics, forced alcohol consumption);
- Whether the reported behavior involved psychological hazing (e.g., acts which are likely to compromise an individual’s dignity, cause an individual embarrassment or shame, or cause an individual to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule);
- Whether the report reveals a pattern of alleged hazing behavior by Respondent(s);
- Whether there are any injuries and/other aggravating circumstances or signs of hazing behavior.
C. Disclosure(s) to Commonwealth’s Attorney and Law Enforcement.
- Actionability. A hazing report that is found to be actionable will result in notification by the Panel Chair to the applicable Commonwealth’s Attorney and law enforcement agency consistent with Virginia Statute 18.2-56. The notification shall contain a summary of the hazing report without personal identifying information of the individuals involved.
- Health and Safety. If the Evaluation Panel determines that there is a significant and articulable threat to the health or safety of any member of the University community and that disclosure of available information (including the names and any other information that personally identifies a Reporter, Complainant, Respondent, any witnesses, any organizations, and/or any other third parties with knowledge of the reported incident) is necessary to protect the health or safety of University community members, the Panel Chair will include such information in a notification to the relevant Commonwealth’s Attorney and law enforcement agency.
If the Commonwealth’s Attorney or law enforcement agency requests a delay in the University’s response to the report in order to pursue its own investigation, the Panel Chair will discuss with the relevant agency a reasonable time-frame for the delay. The Panel Chair will emphasize, however, the need to take timely interim protective measures to ameliorate any actual or potential threats to health or safety of involved students or others.
- Other Disclosures. The Panel will assess whether the report implicates any potential violation of University policies governing sexual and gender based harassment and other forms of interpersonal violence, and the prevention of discrimination and/or harassment. If so, the Panel will immediately notify the Office of Equal Opportunity & Civil Rights (EOCR) or other appropriate University office to discuss applicable policies and jurisdiction.
III. UNIVERSITY ACTIONS
A. The University Dean of Students will review and then affirm or modify the Panel’s decisions.
B.If the report was determined to be actionable, the Dean will initiate an inquiry into the reported conduct while also cooperating with any parallel law enforcement investigation. If there is cross-jurisdiction with EOCR, the Dean and EOCR will determine procedures for a joint investigation. If the report involves actions by any University personnel, the Dean will contact EOCR or University Human Resources (UHR), as appropriate, to establish a joint investigative process. The following procedures (Steps 1-8) are intended for hazing inquiries that do not include cross-jurisdiction with EOCR or UHR. Cross-jurisdictional investigations will utilize agreed upon procedures to apply the relevant University policies.
- The Dean will appoint at least two investigators who will provide written notice of the allegations to the president or similar senior officer of the organization and may interview any individuals identified as having knowledge of the matter. A hazing inquiry will typically be completed within ten (10) days after receipt of the original report unless an extension is appropriate for extenuating circumstances. The Dean may determine if extenuating circumstances are present (e.g., an active law enforcement investigation).
- During the inquiry, the investigators will interview the president or similar senior officer of a respondent organization as well as any individual respondents to review the allegations and provide an opportunity for response.
- Upon completion of the inquiry, the investigators will provide a written summary of findings which will be logged in the appropriate University tracking system (e.g., Safe Grounds). The summary will include a determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., more likely than not), that hazing as defined by the University’s Hazing Policy) did or did not occur.
- If the investigators determine hazing did not occur, the organization’s relationship with the University will be fully restored (if it had been suspended). The Dean may recommend additional educational programming for the organization once fully restored.
- If the investigators determine hazing occurred:
- Student Organizations. For hazing that is so severe and/or pervasive within the organization that it presents an immediate and ongoing threat to student health and safety, the Dean may terminate the organization’s relationship with the University. In such cases, the Dean will meet with organization’s leadership to review the outcome and afford them a chance to respond. The organization may select an advisor to join its representatives at the meeting. Otherwise, the Dean will refer implicated organizations directly to the University Judiciary Committee for additional investigation and formal adjudication. For first offenses that are minor in severity, the Dean may, in lieu of formal charges, elect to require relevant educational programming, submission of a modified new member education plan, or immediate initiation of an organization’s new members. If the organization declines to comply, the Dean may refer the matter to the UJC.
- Individual Students. The Dean will refer any student individually identified as perpetrating or facilitating hazing to the University Judiciary Committee. The Dean may also elect to interim suspend a student in accordance with the University’s policy on interim suspension.
- Varsity Sports. For cases involving a varsity sports team, the Dean will refer implicated students to the University Judiciary Committee. The Director of Athletics will determine appropriate team sanctions, including the disposition of individual athletes on a team.
- The Dean will communicate in writing the inquiry findings and required next steps (subject to FERPA restrictions) to the complainant(s) and respondent organization(s)/individual(s). The Dean will also provide a copy of the written communication to the respondent organization’s (inter)national organization and/or advisor if known.
C. A decision by the Dean to terminate an organization’s operating agreement may be appealed to the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer (VPCSAO). Notice of appeal must be submitted to the VPCSAO within three (3) business days following notification of the outcome. The VPCSAO or her designee will set a date for an appeal hearing at which time the organization may present arguments for why the termination should be modified or removed as a sanction. At the hearing, the Dean (or designee) and student representatives of the organization will present their arguments and respond to questions from the VPCSAO or designee. Only enrolled University student representatives of the organization may appeal. Alumni, regional, and/or national representatives of the organization may not initiate an appeal, but may participate in a hearing if invited by the VPCSAO or designee. The decision of the VPCSAO, or designee, is final.
D. The Dean and/or Hazing Evaluation Panel Chair will remain in communication with the applicable Commonwealth’s Attorney and law enforcement agency to provide the disposition of the University inquiry and ascertain if criminal charges will be placed. The Dean will ensure that any subsequent notification required by law is made to the applicable Commonwealth’s Attorney. Irrespective of the status of a University inquiry, the Dean may maintain a student organization’s suspension pending the outcome of an ongoing law enforcement investigation or process.