Investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Douglas Wilder is not complete, university says

Former Virginia governor and VCU professor Douglas Wilder was cleared of responsibility for non-consensual sexual conduct. Photo by Georgia Geen

Georgia Geen, Executive Editor

Former Virginia governor and current VCU professor Douglas Wilder’s announcement that he had been found not responsible for non-consensual sexual contact was “premature,” the university says.

Wilder said Thursday that a VCU review panel found he did not engage in non-consensual sexual contact, rejecting an earlier finding that he kissed a student without her consent.

“Under a VCU policy a Review Panel makes findings and recommendations to the appropriate senior management executive for further review,” the university’s statement says.

The executive may then reject or affirm the recommendations of the review panel.

“I am pleased that the panel members confirmed what I have stated during and since the beginning of this investigation,” Wilder said. 

In July, an outside investigator hired by VCU cleared Wilder of allegations of sexual exploitation, retaliation and sex- or gender-based discrimination, but found him responsible for non-consensual sexual contact. The woman, Sydney Black, has said that in 2017 — while she was a student at VCU — Wilder kissed her and suggested that she live with him and accompany him on foreign travel. 

She said that she was told there was no longer funding for her position at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs after she rejected his advances. 

“I emphatically denied ever telling complainant there was not funding for such job,” Wilder said. 

Wilder said Thursday that it was established by work records that the complainant did not work on the day that she said Wilder told her there was no funding for her job.

When asked for comment, Black’s lawyer, Jason V. Wolfrey, deferred to the university’s statement.

This breaking news story will be updated. 

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