Report an Incident

Washington College encourages anyone who has experienced any form of harassment or discrimination to report the incident promptly.

How to File a Complaint   

Washington College encourages anyone who has experienced any form of harassment or discrimination to report the incident promptly, to seek all available assistance, and to pursue remedies available through campus judicial or grievance processes.  Reporting Party’s are also encouraged to report incidents to local, state and/or federal authorities or offices charged with handling unlawful discrimination or harassment.  


  • All members of the Washington College community are encouraged to report information about any form of conduct potentially prohibited by this Policy involving a student or an employee. The College will respond to all reports of Prohibited Conduct, including contacting the Complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures, resources for support, and options for resolution.
  • At the time a report of Prohibited Conduct is made, a Complainant does not have to decide whether to pursue resolution of the report through any particular resolution process. Choosing to make a report and deciding how to proceed can be a process that unfolds over time. Although the College may need to take action as a result of a particular report, the College will endeavor to respect a Complainant’s wishes in making the decision that is best for them and will provide support to assist each individual in making that decision. Because the conduct prohibited by this Policy often involves behaviors or interactions that are not witnessed by third parties, reports cannot always be substantiated by additional direct evidence. Lack of corroborating direct evidence should not discourage a person from reporting an experience of Prohibited Conduct.

Formal Complaint

  • A Formal Complaint is a document signed by the Complainant or the Title IX Coordinator alleging a violation of this Policy against a Respondent and requesting that the Collegeinitiate an informal or Formal Resolution of theFormal Complaint pursuant to this Policy and its Procedures. A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail. For matters involving Title IX Prohibited Conduct, the Complainant must be participating or attempting to participate in the College’s educational program or activities at the time of the filing of the Formal Complaint.
  • If the Complainant chooses not to file a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator has discretion to file a Formal Complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator determines that the College cannot honor the Complainant’s request that no Formal Complaint be pursued under this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly initiate the resolution process by making a signed, written Formal Complaint on behalf of the College. In determining whether to file a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will consider the following:
    • Whether the Respondent has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender;
    • Whether the incident represents escalation in unlawful conduct by the Respondent from previously noted behavior;
    • The increased risk that the Respondent will commit additional acts of violence;
    • Whether the Respondent used a weapon or force;
    • Whether the Complainant is a minor;
    • Whether the College possesses other means to obtain evidence such as security footage; and
    • Whether available information reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.
  • If the Title IX Coordinator decides to file a Formal Complaint, The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Complainant of the College’s intention to proceed with a Formal Complaint and will take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist the Complainant. The Title IX Coordinator will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of the Complainant. However, typically, the Complainant’s identity would have to be disclosed as part of the College’s investigation. The Complainant is not required to participate in any proceedings that follow. However, if the Complainant declines to participate in an investigation or the adjudicative process under this Policy and its Procedures, the College’s ability to investigate meaningfully and respond to a report of prohibited conduct may be limited.

Mandated Reporters

All College employees are Mandated Reporters, except student employees. Resident Assistants are the only student employees who are Mandated Reporters. When Mandated Reporters become aware of an allegedincident of sexual harassment (which includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking) or other conduct prohibited by this Policy, that involves a student as either the Complainant or Respondent, they are always obligated to report the information they have to the Title IX Coordinator.

harassment/DISCRIMINATION complaint form


Prohibited Conduct   

Title IX defines Sexual Harassment as conduct on the basis of sex, occurring within the United States, that constitues one or more of the following:   

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment 

An employee of Washington College, conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the College, on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct. 

Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment 

Unwelcome conduct, determined by a reasonable person, to be so severe, and pervasive, and, objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity.

Sexual Assault 

Any sexual act directed against another individual, without the consent of that individual, including instances in which the individual is incapable of giving consent. 

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration (Rape, Sodomy)
    • Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus of an individual with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another individual, without the consent of the individual or against the individual’s will, or
    • not forcibly or against the individual’s will in instances in which the individual is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (Fondling)
    • The touching of the private body parts of another individual (buttocks, groin, breasts), for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly, without the consent of the individual or against the individual’s will, or
    • not forcibly or against the individual’s will in instances in which the individual is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  • Incest: Non-forcible sexual intercourse, between persons who are related to each other, within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by Maryland law.
  • Statutory Rape: Non-forcible sexual intercourse, with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. The age of consent in Maryland is 16 years old.

Additional Requirements: 

Conduct must also meet the following additional requirements to fall within the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment:

  • It must occur within the United States; 
  • It must occur within the scope of the College’s educational program or activities;
  • It must occur on or after August 14, 2020


What is Consent?

Sexual contact must be consensual at all times, and sexual contact is considered consensual only after affirmative consent has been given. Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant'ssex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. A complaint is NOT considered to have been made in bad faith simply because it is not corroborated or because a finding of responsibility cannot be reached under policy. 

The following are principles that apply to the above definition of affirmative consent:

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
  • When affirmative consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.
  • A person is incapable of affirmative consent when they are:
    • Less than seventeen years of age
    • Mentally disabled (a person is mentally disabled when their normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning renders them incapable of appraising their conduct); or incapacitated.
  •  Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.


Affirmative Consent Terminology You Should Be Familiar With  

The concepts of Force, Coercion, and Incapacitation  


Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats and intimidation (implied threats) that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you,” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”). Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.


Coercion is intimidation or conduct that would compel an individual to do something against their will by:

  • expressed or implied threats of physical, emotional, property, or reputational harm, or
  • pressure that would cause a reasonable partner to fear such harm. 

Coercion is more than an effort to persuade or attract another person to engage in sexual activity. In assessing whether coercion was used, the frequency, duration, and intensity of the pressure applied will be taken into consideration. 


A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or disorientated, helpless, asleep, or unconscious, for any reason, including by alcohol or other drugs. As stated above, a Respondent violates this policy if they engage in sexual activity with someone who is incapable of giving consent.

  • Incapacitation negates consent. An individual cannot give consent when mentally or physically incapacitated, when the incapacity is known or based on the circumstances should reasonably have been known to be incapacitated.
  • Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).
  • Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk.
  • This Policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a temporary or permanent physical ormental health condition, involuntary physical restraint, and/or the consumption of incapacitating drugs.