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Complaint Process

 

INFORMAL COMPLAINT RESOLUTION 

The purpose of informal complaint resolution is to encourage the reporting of complaints concerning unlawful or prohibited discrimination and to facilitate a resolution of the complaint without the need for a formal investigation as outlined below under Formal Complaint Resolution.

 The procedure for informal complaints calls for prompt review and mediation, if desired, followed by action intended to prevent any unlawful or prohibited discrimination.  The informal process does not result in disciplinary action, but includes efforts to mediate a resolution upon which both the complainant and the respondent can agree.

 A.    Employment Issues

 The informal complaint procedure for employment issues is as follows:

 1)      If the Complainant elects to proceed formally, a formal investigation will begin as outlined below under Formal Complaint Resolution.

 2)      If the issue complained about involves provisions of collective bargaining agreements, with the exception of the fair practices provision addressing non-discrimination, the Complainant is encouraged to consult with their respective bargaining unit or the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Faculty Relations. 

3)      A determination must be made if a violation of this specific policy may have occurred if the allegations are assumed to be true to. This is not a substantiated determination but an assumption that if the allegations were assumed to be true, it would give rise to a violation of the policy. Otherwise, the applicability of this policy and its procedures are unwarranted.

4)      If the Complainant desires to resolve the issue informally, a meeting is arranged to inform the Respondent of the formal and informal complaint procedures.  The Respondent can elect whether to participate in resolving the issue informally through mediation or to elect a formal investigation. 

 5)      With the approval of the parties, the Director of Social Equity shall act as the Mediator in an effort to resolve the issue.  In the Mediator role, the Director of Social Equity facilitates communication between the parties regarding their perceptions and allegations in an attempt to arrive at an action plan to address the issue.  If, however, the parties are still not able to come to agreement and one of the parties elects to file a discrimination claim, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Faculty Relations or his/her designee shall conduct the investigation into the allegations of discrimination.

 6)      At the successful conclusion of mediation, the Mediator shall memorialize their agreement in writing and provide each party with a copy.  A copy of the agreement shall be made a part of the record involving the issue.

 7)      If the mediation was not successful in resolving the matter, the Complainant may file a formal complaint as outlined below. 

 8)      In the event that the allegations are severe or pervasive and the Director of Social Equity, in consultation with the appropriate individuals, determines that mediation is not in the best interest of the University, a formal investigation into the allegations will occur as outlined below.

 B.     Academic Issues

 The informal complaint procedure for academic issues is as follows:

 1)      If the Complainant elects to proceed formally, a formal investigation will begin as outlined below under Formal Complaint Resolution.

 2)      If the issue complained about involves academic matters, the Complainant is encouraged to utilize the Student Appeal Procedure outlined in the Undergraduate and Graduate Handbooks. 

 3)      A determination must be made if a violation of this specific policy may have occurred if the allegations are assumed to be true to. This is not a substantiated determination but an assumption that if the allegations were assumed to be true, it would give rise to a violation of the policy. Otherwise, the applicability of this policy and its procedures are unwarranted.

 4)      If the Complainant desires to resolve the issue informally, a meeting is arranged to inform the Respondent of the formal and informal complaint procedures.  The Respondent can elect whether to participate in resolving the issue informally through mediation or to elect a formal investigation. 

 5)      With the approval of the parties, the Director of Social Equity shall act as the Mediator in an effort to resolve the matter.  In the Mediator role, the Director of Social Equity facilitates communication between the parties regarding their perceptions and allegations in an attempt to arrive at an action plan to address the issue.  If, however, the parties are still not able to come to agreement and one of the parties elects to file a discrimination claim, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Faculty Relations or his/her designee shall conduct the investigation into the allegations of discrimination.

 6)      At the successful conclusion of mediation, the Mediator shall memorialize agreement of the parties in writing and provide each party with a copy.  A copy of the agreement shall be made a part of the record involving the issue.

 7)      If the mediation was not successful in resolving the issue, the Complainant may file a formal complaint as outlined below. 

 8)      In the event that the allegations are severe or pervasive and the Director of Social Equity, in consultation with the appropriate individuals, determines that mediation is not in the best interest of the University, a formal investigation into the allegations will occur as outlined below.

 FORMAL COMPLAINT RESOLUTION

 The purpose of formal complaint resolution is to investigate complaints of unlawful or prohibited discrimination and to facilitate a formal resolution of the complaint based on a determination or finding of a violation of the University’s policy on non-discrimination and/or the University’s policy prohibiting sexual harassment.

 The procedure for informal complaints calls for prompt review followed by action intended to prevent any unlawful or prohibited discrimination.  The formal complaint resolution process may result in disciplinary action.

 A.    Filing a Complaint:  Complaints of unlawful or prohibited discrimination, including complaints of sexual harassment, should be filed up to 180 days after the alleged act or behavior.  It is in the best interest of all, however, to conduct a timely review of the circumstances of the alleged discriminatory act or behavior; accordingly, complainants are urged to file complaints as soon as possible.  Therefore, individuals who have complaints of unlawful or prohibited discrimination, including complaints of sexual harassment, are encouraged to come forward.

Formal complaints against University employees are normally filed with the Director of Social Equity or the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Faculty Relations. 

 Formal complaints against University students are normally handled through the student judicial process.  Formal complaints against University students, however, also should be reported to the Office of Social Equity.  A report shall be made to the Dean of Student Life or his/her designee who will inform the complaining individual about the student judicial process. 

 Formal complaints against the University President or any member of the President’s Executive Council should be filed with the Office of the Chancellor.

 B.     Form of Complaint:  We strongly encourage that complaints be in writing in order to ensure accuracy.  Any person may use the complaint form provided in this policy to file a complaint.  Unsigned written or anonymous complaints will be addressed and investigated as warranted; however, they may have limited merit because of the inability to adequately investigate. 

 A complainant may use the form contained in the Appendix of this policy.  The form, however, must be signed and dated by the complainant. 

 C.     Investigatory Reviews:  Investigatory reviews into allegations of unlawful or prohibited discrimination, including sexual harassment, against employees are normally conducted by the Director of Social Equity or the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Faculty Relations. 

 Allegations of prohibited or unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment, against students are handled through the Dean of Student Life and the Office of Student Judicial Affairs.

 Upon receiving a complaint, the Director of Social Equity or Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Faculty Relations or his/her designee shall commence an investigatory review of the allegations.

 The investigatory review will be processed without undue delay absent exigent circumstances.

  1. Investigation Completion:  At the conclusion of the investigatory review, the parties in a complaint shall receive notification that an investigative report has been completed and forwarded to the appropriate official for further action, if warranted.
  2. Determination or Finding:  At the conclusion of the investigatory review, the parties shall receive written notification of the investigatory decision or finding.  Written notification should be made within a reasonable time but may be delayed when reasonable.  
     
  3. Policy Violation:  If a violation of this policy has occurred, timely disciplinary action will occur that may range up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from the University in accordance with University policy.  
     

If a student is found to have discriminated against another person(s), the student will be disciplined in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and employees will be disciplined under the appropriate collective bargaining agreement, or, in the event of a management employee, as appropriate in accordance with Board of Governors Policy (Merit Principles).

 Appeal: Either party who disagrees with the determination or finding has the opportunity to appeal such decision to the University president within ten (10) days of receipt of said determination letter.