3.3 Bringing a Complaint

(Amended 5/12/22)


  1. Persons who believe they have been subjected to discrimination in violation of the policy are encouraged to report it, even if they are not certain whether a violation of this policy has occurred. Protected class harassment is one form of discrimination prohibited by this policy. A complaint that this policy has been violated may be brought to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), 202 Jessup Hall, through informal or formal channels by any member of the university community,  a third-party reporter, or  the university itself. A complaint must clearly state  allegations of discrimination to warrant an investigation. There is no time limit for bringing a complaint; however, it may be difficult to substantiate the allegations if they are made after significant time has passed. Therefore, prompt reporting of complaints is strongly encouraged.

    Anyone (impacted parties or others) who wishes to consult with someone about a specific situation without making a complaint, or who wishes simply to learn more about enforcement of this Human Rights Policy may contact any of the following offices or organizations:
    1. Office of the Ombudsperson (for faculty, staff, students, and persons not affiliated with the university), 308 Jefferson Building;
    2. Employee Assistance Program (for faculty or staff), 121-50 University Services Building;
    3. University Counseling Service (for students), 3223 Westlawn South and 1950 University Capitol Centre;
    4. Women's Resource and Action Center (for faculty, staff, or students), Bowman House, 230 North Clinton Street.
  2. Informal complaints. An informal complaint is a request that the Office of Institutional Equity seek to reach an informal resolution of the reporting party's concerns. The procedures for such complaints are designed to be flexible so as to enable the Office of Institutional Equity to address an individual's situation in the most effective and expeditious manner possible. Resolutions of informal complaints are accomplished with the assistance of other offices or administrators on campus in the area relevant to the complaint, and may include interim actions to protect the health or safety of the impacted party, reporting party, and/or potential witness(es) in an investigation.

    In the case of an informal complaint, the responding party normally will not be informed of the reporting party's action or identity without the consent of the reporting party unless circumstances require. When allegations are addressed through an informal resolution process, no disciplinary action may be taken against the responding party, and there will be no record of the allegations in the responding party's personnel file or student disciplinary file, unless the person is notified of the allegations and given an opportunity to respond.
  3. Formal complaints. A formal complaint of discrimination involves an impartial investigation of the reporting party's allegations by OIE. Interim actions may be taken as necessary to address the alleged behavior and protect the health or safety of the impacted party, reporting party, and/or witness(es) during the investigation. The investigation begins when OIE provides written notice to the responding party of the filing of the complaint, the identity of the reporting party, and the general allegations of the complaint. The responding party is then interviewed regarding the specifics of the allegations and given an opportunity to respond fully to the allegations. The Office of Institutional Equity may also interview other persons believed to have factual knowledge relevant to the allegations. The purpose of the investigation is to establish whether OIE finds a reasonable basis to conclude, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the responding party violated the Policy on Human Rights.

    The Office of Institutional Equity will issue written findings outlining the basis for its conclusions. The written finding normally will be issued within 60 university business days of when the complaint was filed. When it is not reasonably possible to issue the finding within that time, the Office of Institutional Equity will notify the impacted party and the responding party that the finding will be delayed and indicate the reasons for the delay. This report is provided to the administrative officials responsible for the area in which the responding party is involved, the impacted party, the responding party, and the chief administrative officer in the unit (e.g., the Provost in a complaint filed against a faculty member; the vice president or dean for the unit in the case of a staff member; or the Vice President for Student Life in the case of a student) or their designee. Third-party reporters will be notified only that the proceedings are concluded.