University concludes investigation of complaint submitted by women’s soccer team

Today, Washington University in St. Louis announced the conclusion of an investigation into a Dec. 14, 2016 complaint submitted by the university’s women’s soccer team. Following is a statement from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White addressing this matter.

Statement from Lori S. White, Ph.D.,
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

The Washington University Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) has completed its investigation into a complaint against the university’s men’s soccer team, submitted by the women’s soccer team on Dec. 14, 2016.

Based on its investigation, the OSCCS has found that the men’s soccer team did not violate the university’s sexual harassment policy. The OSCCS did find inappropriate and offensive behavior associated with certain team activities that is in violation of the Student Judicial Code. In addition, the OSCCS found that not all of the members of the men’s soccer team engaged in the offending activities, and also that several members of the team have made genuine efforts to discourage this kind of behavior. Both of these factors were considered in determining the most appropriate disciplinary response.

As a result of these findings, the men’s soccer team’s interim suspension has been lifted. The team is on probation pending completion of mandatory educational training by all members of the team in spring 2017. There are other requirements, as well, including a letter of apology from the men’s team to the women’s team and the abstention from the activities that were found to be violation of the Student Judicial Code. The men’s soccer team’s fall schedule will not be affected if the requirements are fulfilled. In meeting with members of the men’s team, I was pleased to hear that they understand the behavior of some members of the team was hurtful to the women’s team and that they accept responsibility.

This completes the investigation process. The issues raised in the complaint are very serious and it took courage for the women’s team to come forward. There is a long history of comradery between the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Going forward, we will be working with both teams to help rebuild a relationship that is based on mutual respect.

In addition to the specific allegations outlined in their complaint, the women’s soccer team also raised broader concerns about gender-related issues on our campus. The university has efforts underway to address these issues. But there always is more we can – and should – do to deepen awareness and sensitivity. I intend to intensify these efforts within the Division of Student Affairs, including the Athletics Department, student organizations and other student programming. Specifically, we will be conducting additional Title IX-focused training. We also will continue to implement the recommendations of the University Sexual Misconduct working group, whose report provides a strategic framework for enhancing university training, prevention and support.