Caution: The policies of Washington and Lee University are under continual examination and revision. This catalog is not a contract; it merely presents the policies in effect at the time of publication and in no way guarantees that the policies will not change.
Additional Policies and Procedures: Not all University policies and procedures affecting students are described in this catalog. For further information, please refer to the Student Handbook, which also contains required notifications on the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security (Clery) Act. In addition to the Student Handbook, which is applicable to all W&L undergraduate and law students, law students should refer to specific law school policies and procedures.
From time to time the president may call a Student Assembly for the consideration of matters relating purely to student affairs. A Student Assembly may be attended by both students and faculty. Attendance is voluntary.
Note on the following three policies: The University applies the following policies and associated procedures in a nondiscriminatory manner, in consultation with qualified professionals, as appropriate, and will make each reinstatement or readmission determination based on an individualized assessment of that student’s situation and what is in the best interests of the student, the campus community, and the University.
Required Administrative Withdrawal for Non-Academic Reasons
Washington and Lee University is committed to the well-being and safety of its community members and the integrity of its learning environment. The University may require a student to take an administrative withdrawal if there is a sufficient showing that the student is engaging or is likely to engage in behavior that (1) presents a real danger of substantial harm to others or (2) substantially disrupts the learning environment and activities of the campus community, or (3) requires a level of treatment and care which the University cannot provide to support the student’s continued enrollment and presence on campus.
This policy and associated procedures do not take the place of disciplinary action associated with a student’s behavior that is in violation of University policies, standards, or regulations. This policy is to be invoked in extraordinary circumstances in which, in the discretion of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students or Law School Dean (“appropriate Dean”) or designee, conduct board process cannot be used or is not appropriate.
This policy may be invoked when a student is unable or unwilling to request a voluntary withdrawal and the appropriate Dean or designee deems a withdrawal necessary to protect the health and safety of the campus community, or the integrity of the learning environment and campus programs and activities. Examples of such extraordinary circumstances include but are not limited to: ongoing substance abuse or addiction, threats or acts of harm to others, or bizarre or destructive behavior. Before a required administrative withdrawal is considered, the appropriate Dean or designee will encourage the student to take a voluntary withdrawal. The procedures related to this policy appear in the Student Handbook (go.wlu.edu/student-handbook). A withdrawal form (go.wlu.edu/forms) will be filed with the University Registrar’s office by the appropriate Dean or designee.
Students who withdraw voluntarily or who are withdrawn administratively from or suspended by the University may apply for reinstatement.
Undergraduate applications for reinstatement are available online at go.wlu.edu/ugr-reinstatement. Undergraduate students must return the completed application, along with all required materials, so that the Dean of Student Life receives it by 5:00 p.m. US Eastern time November 15 for winter term, March 1 for spring term, and May 15 or August 1 for fall term.
The University will not reinstate an undergraduate student for a spring term unless that student has both 1) satisfactorily completed at least one fall or winter term at Washington and Lee University, and 2) was registered for a full-time course load through midterm during at least one of the two preceding 13-week terms at Washington and Lee. This means that first-year and new transfer students who withdraw during the Winter Term are not eligible to apply for reinstatement for Spring Term unless they have completed the Fall Term in the same academic year. Undergraduate applications for reinstatement are reviewed and acted upon at the discretion of the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement (“the Committee”).
Law student applications for readmission are available from the Director of Law School Records. Law students must return the completed application, along with all required materials, so that the Director of Law School Records receives it by November 15 for spring term or July 1 for fall term. The Law School will not readmit a law student unless the student can complete his or her degree within six (6) years of beginning it (see the Law School catalog for exception for readmission after active-duty military service). The Dean of the Law School (or designee) will review and act upon applications for law students.
In all reinstatement cases (whether the withdrawal was voluntary or involuntary, including suspensions), the University reserves the right to require sufficient documentation, determined on a case-by-case basis, that the student is qualified and ready to return to full-time academic work and campus life. Depending on the particular circumstances and reasons for the individual student’s withdrawal, this may involve an on-campus interview with one or more appropriate university officials and/or submission of a written progress assessment from a treating health professional indicating that the student is qualified and ready to resume the particular rigors and essential requirements of full-time academic work and campus life at Washington and Lee, with or without reasonable accommodation, and that his/her treatment and care needs, if applicable, can be supported at Washington and Lee.
In cases where the University requires a written progress assessment from a treating health professional, the Director of Student Health and Counseling Services and/or a University Counselor will require a release from the student to discuss current treatment and follow-up needs with the treating health professional, in order to assess whether the student is qualified and ready to return to the particular rigors and essential requirements of full-time academic work and campus life at Washington and Lee, with or without accommodation, and whether the University can provide the follow-up care needed to maintain the student’s enrollment. The Director of Student Health and Counseling Services and/or a University Counselor will review this information and recommend to the Committee or Dean of the Law School or designee approval (with or without conditions of treatment, education, counseling, or other) or denial of the reinstatement/readmission. Members of the Committee or Dean of the Law School may review the health professional’s written progress assessment and/or relevant health care records when needed to inform their decision-making.
After consulting with University health professionals and/or other appropriate university officials as necessary to facilitate an informed decision, the Committee or Dean of the Law School or designee will act on the application. Decisions regarding reinstatement or readmission are made at the sole discretion of the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement (for undergraduates) or the Dean of the Law School or designee (for law students).
For more information about reinstatement procedures, consult the University Web page at go.wlu.edu/ugr-reinstatement.
Threat to the Community
Students or student organizations may be required to sever their connection with the University for non-academic reasons by disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Handbook. In cases where the University has reason to believe that a student or student organization represents a threat to the well-being of the University community, the President or designee may suspend or dismiss the student, suspend a student organization, or take other appropriate action. Students who are suspended may apply for reinstatement after the period of suspension. Student organizations may apply for reinstatement after the period of suspension. Students and student organizations who are dismissed from the University are precluded from returning to Washington and Lee.
Policy Statement on Campus Life
(Adopted by the Board of Trustees, May 1985; revised February 2021)
The Board of Trustees believes that one of its primary responsibilities is to encourage the development and maintenance of an environment within the University community which best promotes the realization of our institutional goals. Those goals, according to the University’s Statement of Institutional Philosophy, include the pursuit of our educational purpose in a climate of learning that stresses the importance of the individual, the personal honor and integrity of all students, and their harmonious relationships with other members of the greater community. In this context, the institutionalized extracurricular and social life of students should contribute to these goals.
It is our desire that student self-government should be encouraged and that a proper balance between student privilege and responsibility should be sought and achieved. We recognize that all members of the student body will spend a portion of their lives apart from the institution and outside its governance. Students must nonetheless remain aware that they are members of a University community whose traditions, image and reputation can be harmed by negative actions and behavior, as well as being helped by positive contributions. This awareness is especially important since the University, lodged as it is within a larger community, must encourage respect for local ordinances and law enforcement and honor the claims of non-university persons for quiet and safety.
In all of its expression, the spirit of this Campus Life statement places emphasis on concepts of honor, integrity, standards of value, leadership, good character, respect for traditions and personal responsibility. We do expect that individual and group actions and behavior will be measured against these concepts. It is our intention to hold accountable for the successful implementation of this policy the administration, the faculty, the students, and, indeed, this Board of Trustees.
All fraternities and sororities at Washington and Lee must comply with the “Standards for Fraternities/Sororities,” adopted by the University in October 1987 and revised most recently in September 2017. These standards are included in the Student Handbook.
Each chapter president is required to live in the chapter house.
To participate in formal Greek recruitment or to be initiated into a fraternity or sorority at Washington and Lee, a student is required to be in residence for at least one full 13-week term, with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.500.
The University Registrar maintains a record of the cumulative and term grade-point averages of each chapter. This record is revised and published at the end of each fall and winter term and is included in the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils’ Recruitment Books.
No additional fraternities or sororities shall be organized or established without the approval of the Student Affairs Committee.
Statement on Personal Conduct
(Adopted by the Faculty, May 1992)
Admission to the Washington and Lee community carries with it certain obligations concerning personal conduct. Some of these obligations are specifically covered by the Honor System. Other less specific obligations concern the way we treat each other. Lee described the expectation at Washington College as “gentlemanly behavior.” Today we interpret this to mean civil, decent behavior designed to encourage mutual respect for our individual differences, desires, and ways of thinking.
At Washington and Lee, we expect an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect to prevail. Instances of uncivil behavior involving students are most effectively dealt with in personal and informal ways, not by formal and judicial procedures. Therefore, members of the Washington and Lee community who believe themselves to have been objects of such behavior should seek reconciliation by personal consultation with friends, faculty, or others who may intervene in the dispute.
Faculty Policies Concerning Student Discipline
Statement of Goals for the Disciplinary System Washington and Lee is, above all else, an educational institution. The purpose of all our institutional activities, including our disciplinary proceedings, is to protect and promote our educational objectives.
As an educational institution we aspire to create a special community in which MUTUAL respect for the rights and autonomy of the individual balances our concern for the welfare of the community as a whole and the welfare of other individuals, at least in the negative sense that we do not consciously become the agent of harm to someone else. These aspirations inform and guide our Honor System, as well as our other disciplinary systems.
- As provided in the University bylaws, the faculty has authority over student disciplinary matters with the exception of the Honor System. To achieve a greater resonance between faculty views on various issues and the views of those immediately engaged in imposing disciplinary penalties, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students shall report on each offense to the faculty meeting following the completion of all disciplinary action on that offense; such a report is for the information of the faculty and not for formal action. Faculty members may request more information on such cases and may, collectively or individually, express their approval or disapproval of the handling of such cases either to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, to faculty representatives on the Student Affairs Committee, and/or to the individual members of the disciplinary bodies.
- The disciplinary power of the University is independent of prosecutorial or judicial action; its exercise is neither demanded by pendency of state action nor precluded by the absence or failure of state action.
- At the final faculty meeting before the respective graduation, there shall be only two conditions required for faculty recommendation for a degree: (1) that the candidate has met the academic requirements for a degree, attested to by the University Registrar for undergraduates or by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for law students; and (2) that there are no Washington and Lee conduct proceedings or criminal charges pending against a candidate, attested to by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students for undergraduates and the appropriate student affairs dean for law students. If student misconduct occurs between the faculty meeting and graduation, the matter will be handled administratively through the Office of the Provost.
- The Student Judicial Council, a wholly student group, shall have primary, first-instance responsibility for deciding most misconduct cases and imposing penalties, with the exception of cases involving the Honor System, which are adjudicated by the Student Executive Committee, or student acts of prohibited discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and sexual misconduct, which are adjudicated by the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board. The Interfraternity Council/ Panhellenic Council are responsible for deciding cases of hazing and retaliation by fraternities and sororities. The President and Provost have independent disciplinary authority consistent with University policies. Under certain circumstances a student may appeal a finding and the penalty imposed by the Student Judicial Council to the University Board of Appeals. Decisions made by the IFC and Panhellenic Council may also be appealed to the University Board of Appeals. Decisions made by the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board may be appealed to the Appeal Panel. Violations of the Honor System are adjudicated by the Executive Committee of the Student Body. A student found in violation of the Honor System is subject to a single sanction—dismissal from the University. A student may appeal the finding by the Executive Committee to an Open Hearing before the student body.
University Policies on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation
Washington and Lee University’s Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy prohibits sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating and domestic violence. Additionally, the University prohibits retaliation against any individual who brings a good faith complaint under the policy, participates in a resolution process, or assists as a bystander to prevent sexual misconduct.
Washington and Lee University encourages all students and employees to immediately report incidents of sexual misconduct. Designated Student Affairs professionals, clinicians in the Student Health and Counseling Center, Discrimination Policy Advisers (DPAs), and the Title IX Coordinator and Assistant Title IX Coordinator(s) are available as resources for support and to understand policies and procedures related to complaints of sexual misconduct.
Specific contact information for all of the above University reporting and health care resources, as well as local law enforcement resources are available on the Sexual Misconduct Resources web page.
There are University conduct procedures available to all students and employees reporting instances of sexual misconduct, as specified and incorporated in the University’s Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy. The policy and the procedures are designed to provide prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution processes and will be conducted by individuals who have received training on the issues related to sexual misconduct cases (including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking). The Policy also addresses interim measures that can include, but are not limited to, changes in academic and living situations and no-contact directives.
The University’s Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy and the sexual misconduct procedures incorporated in the policy outline the steps for conducting investigations, charges, hearings, and notification of both the complainant and the respondent throughout the process, as well as the range of potential sanctions for sexual misconduct. The respondent and the complainant involved in alleged student sexual misconduct cases are entitled to be accompanied to disciplinary proceedings by a hearing advisor or staff advisor and an advisor of choice. The respondent and the complainant are also entitled to prompt notification of the outcome of these proceedings as specified in the procedures.
In addition to prohibiting sexual misconduct, the University prohibits discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, and genetic information in its educational programs and activities and with regard to employment. The University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Other Than Sex, and the procedures incorporated in the policy, provide information about how to bring a complaint for prohibited discrimination and harassment other than sex.
The University may impose sanctions ranging from a warning to dismissal from the University for individuals found in violation of the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Other Than Sex, or the Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy.
Student Grievance Policy
Students who wish to bring a grievance or concern pertaining to University policies, procedures, or operations are encouraged to address their concern to the appropriate department head or official who oversees that area of University operations. Undergraduate students with disabilities who need assistance in addressing a grievance or concern should contact the Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources. Law students with disabilities who need assistance in addressing a grievance or concern should contact the Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs.
If a student has any doubt as to whom to direct a concern, please refer to section VI of the student handbook for contact information.
The Virginia State Approving Agency (SAA) is the approving authority of education and training programs for Virginia. Our office investigates complaints of GI Bill beneficiaries. While most complaints should initially follow the school grievance policy, if the situation cannot be resolved at the school, the beneficiary should contact our office via email firstname.lastname@example.org.