A male student accused of sexual assault, found responsible, and expelled sued the university in federal court in December 2014, alleging sex discrimination, due-process violations, and breach of contract. The university filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but in August 2015, a judge ruled that the sex-discrimination claim could proceed. The university settled the lawsuit in February 2016, but the terms of the settlement were not disclosed, The Roanoke Times reported.
The institution has affirmed its commitment to victims of sexual assault, collected resources online, and revised its sexual-misconduct policy.
A state task force in Virginia issued several recommendations in the spring of 2015, including to require public and private colleges to create sexual-assault-response teams, to conduct climate surveys at public colleges every two years, and to develop a state grant program to support research on gender-based-violence prevention. The state legislature also passed two laws, one requiring campus police officers to immediately notify local law-enforcement authorities after opening an investigation into felony sexual assault, and another requiring college employees to report any sexual assault disclosed to them to the campus Title IX coordinator.
Washington and Lee's president, Kenneth P. Ruscio, said in an email to the campus that this investigation is based on a female student’s federal Title IX complaint that the university mishandled her report of sexual assault in the spring of 2014. The complaint cites "overly restrictive confidentiality requirements," the president said, and a failure to provide "appropriate protective measures during the proceedings and remedial measures after finding the male student responsible."
Unhappy with a campus judicial proceeding that led to his expulsion following a sexual assault allegation, a former Washington and Lee University student will be allowed to contest the finding in a federal courtroom.