Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 provides that, no person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
The Office of the President is responsible for Equity and Access Services, which leads, coordinates, and supports civil rights compliance, including Title IX, for the university community.
Membership in a university community carries with it the responsibility for mutual trust and respect and adherence to the standards of conduct established by the community. VCU is committed to providing an environment that emphasizes the dignity and value of every member of its community and that is free from sexual misconduct, assault, harassment or any form of discrimination based on sex. These behaviors are harmful to the well-being of our community members, the learning/working environment, and collegial relationships among our students, faculty and staff, and are regarded as serious offenses. Violations will result in discipline or other administrative action, including the possibility of expulsion, separation or termination from the university. VCU is committed to providing a fair and impartial process for all parties, and to taking prompt and equitable action to eliminate these behaviors, prevent their recurrence, and remedy their effects.
In compliance with Title IX and other related laws, VCU’s Sexual Misconduct/Violence and Sex/Gender Discrimination Policy prohibits sexual and sex/gender-based misconduct, discrimination, harassment and interpersonal violence, including sexual assault.
What is sexual misconduct?
VCU describes sexual misconduct as sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact and sexual exploitation. Read more .
The duty to report
All employees are mandatory reporters of all behaviors and incidents covered by Title IX, VII and the Clery Act — campus crimes and state child-abuse laws. The Duty to Report requires all employees to report such incidents, recognizing that some complainants may want to withhold full information if employees or their confidential position requires it. All employees are encouraged to report what they know within 24 hours of discovery.
At VCU, any university employee who is not a Confidential Employee is a Responsible Employee required to report all incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX coordinator.
Reporting is an important aspect of building a community of mutual trust and support. Therefore, all university community members (students, faculty and staff) should promptly report all incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX coordinator.
In an emergency situation, call VCU Police at (804) 828-1234.
Building a community of mutual trust and support
The following units work collaboratively to address issues of sexual misconduct and gender equity.
Equity and Access Services
This office and the Title IX coordinator are responsible for:
- Providing information about how individuals may address their rights.
- Reviewing applicable VCU policies to ensure institutional compliance.
- Implementing campus training.
- Responding to complaints or reports regarding policy violations, including overseeing investigation and resolution of the complaints and implementation of any remedial measures.
The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and to serve as the overall coordinator for purposes of Title IX compliance:
Title IX coordinator
Laura Walsh Rugless
Director of Equity and Access Services
1001 Grove Ave
P.O. Box 842549
Richmond, VA 23284-2549
Deputy Title IX coordinator for investigations
Senior civil rights investigator
Division of Student Affairs/associate provost and dean of student affairs
The Deputy Title IX Coordinator provides interim measures to protect students' safety and/or well-being. These measures include, but are not limited to, modification of VCU living arrangements, academic accommodations, and coordinating with campus and local resources. The Deputy Coordinator also takes reports of sexual misconduct and refers students to Equity and Access Services. For more information about Title IX, visit Equity and Access Services.
Deputy Title IX coordinator for students
Deputy Title IX coordinator for students
Staff members interpret VCU and state HR policy, refer complainants to Equity and Access Services, advise and work closely with management by weighing and recommending appropriate courses of action, based on investigative findings, after conferring with Equity and Access Services, University Counsel and/or the Office of the Provost. Visit the HR website .
Deputy Title IX coordinator for employees
Cathleen C. Burke
Assistant vice president for human resources
The VCU Police Department provides intake and victim assistance, immediately responds to imminent safety risks, investigates reports of mistreatment that rise to level of criminal conduct, prepares charges and/or refers violations of law to the commonwealth attorney, and refers complainants to Equity and Access Services for intake and investigation.
Reported circumstances with a risk of imminent harm or threatening conditions are to be reported to VCU Police and/or the Threat Assessment Team.
VCU Police emergency number: (804) 828-1234.
Assistant Vice President of Public Safety
Chief of VCU Police
Chief Venuti can be reached at that phone number 24 hours a day.
Athletics refers complainants to Equity and Access Services.
Deputy Title IX coordinator for athletics
Sofia A. Hiort-Wright
Associate vice provost of student services
and senior associate athletic director for academic support/SWA