Does submitting a complaint to the Office of Equity and Diversity automatically initiate an investigation?
Typically, no. Submitting a complaint to OED does not automatically initiate an investigation or other response. Typically, the complaint will initially be referred to OED’s intake coordinator to schedule an intake phone call or meeting. Based on the information gathered during the intake, the Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity will determine whether OED will investigate the complaint, facilitate an alternative resolution, refer the matter to another university resource for handling, or respond in another manner, as appropriate.
Are complaints and statements to OED “confidential”?
Typically, no. If OED conducts an investigation, OED will give the respondent (the party against whom the complaint was made) sufficient information so that they can meaningfully respond to the complaint. OED may also need to share some information with relevant witnesses in order to effectively investigate the allegations. OED will also notify relevant university officials of the complaint and update them periodically during the investigation and upon closure of the investigation. At the conclusion of the fact-finding stage of the investigation, the parties are given the opportunity to review and respond to information collected during the investigation, which may include witness or party statements. OED may share your complaint or statement with other individuals depending on the particular facts and circumstances of the matter.
Can an individual submit an anonymous report to OED?
Typically, yes. Individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, or retaliation may make an anonymous complaint to OED; however, depending on the amount of information available about the alleged prohibited conduct and the parties involved, OED’s ability to respond to the complaint may be significantly limited. OED will respond to the complaint as appropriately as possible based on the information provided or otherwise available.
When does OED notify the respondent about the complaint?
It depends. Every complaint is unique. If OED conducts an investigation, OED typically will give the respondent notice of the investigation and the alleged policy violation(s) after the investigator has interviewed and defined the scope of the investigation with the complainant. OED may notify the respondent at a different time depending on the particular facts and circumstances of the matter. If OED does not conduct an investigation, OED typically will either reach out to the respondent to facilitate an alternative resolution or to advise the respondent that the matter has been closed, or refer the matter to another university resource for handling.
How many times do the parties have to meet with OED?
It depends. Every complaint is unique. Typically, the complainant will meet with the intake coordinator after they submit their complaint to OED. Then, the parties will meet with the investigator for an initial interview, a follow-up interview, and the evidence review process. The parties may need to meet with OED on more occasions depending on the particular facts and circumstances of the matter.
How long does an OED investigation last?
It depends. Every complaint is unique. OED strives to conduct every investigation as promptly as possible. Reasons for delay may include the need to conduct a fair and complete investigation, the need to accommodate or allow for a request by external law enforcement, the availability of witnesses, delays by the parties, university breaks or vacations, and the complexity of the investigation, among other reasons.
Are participants in the OED process protected against retaliation?
Yes. Students, faculty, and staff are required to fully cooperate in the OED process and are prohibited from retaliating against anyone who, in good faith, makes a complaint, participates in the OED process, or protests the alleged discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, or retaliation. If an individual believes they have been subject to retaliation, they should contact OED.
For more information about the non-retaliation policy applicable to staff, please see the Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault and Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Non-Discrimination policies. For more information about the non-retaliation policy applicable to faculty, please see Chapter 6 of the Faculty Handbook.
Does OED determine disciplinary or corrective action?
No. If OED concludes the respondent violated university policy, OED does not determine what disciplinary or corrective actions, if any, are appropriate. The disciplinary process for complaints against faculty is set forth in Chapter 6 of the Faculty Handbook.
For complaints against staff, if OED concludes the respondent violated university policy, the Associate Senior Vice President for Human Resources or their designee will issue a written ruling to both parties stating the disciplinary action the university will impose and any other corrective action the university will take.
Can I make special academic or working arrangements during the OED process?
For students, interim measures may be available during the OED process. Interim measures are accommodations, services, and other assistance the University puts in place after receiving notice of prohibited conduct, but prior to an outcome being determined. For more information about interim measures, please visit the Supportive and Protective Interim Measures policy.
For faculty and staff, OED cannot make alternative working arrangements during the OED process; however, if a faculty or staff member expresses concerns about their working arrangements during the OED process, OED will communicate those concerns to the appropriate human resources manager for further consideration and handling, as appropriate.
What resources are available to participants in the OED process?
For a list of resources available to participants in the OED process, please visit the resources page of the OED website.