Procedural Protections

Cooperation and Non-Retaliation

Students, faculty, and staff are required to fully cooperate in the Office of Equity and Diversity process, as reasonably requested by OED, 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.

For more information about the non-retaliation policy applicable to staff, please see the Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault policy. For more information about the non-retaliation policy applicable to faculty, please see Chapter 6 of the Faculty Handbook.


Presumption of Non-Responsibility

Complaints are presumed to be made in good faith. A respondent (the individual against whom the complaint was made) is presumed not to have violated university policy unless and until a preponderance of the evidence establishes that the respondent committed the alleged prohibited conduct.


Standard of Proof

OED uses the preponderance of the evidence standard to determine whether a respondent violated university policy. The preponderance of the evidence means based on the totality of evidence and the reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, it is more likely than not that the respondent committed the alleged prohibited conduct and therefore violated university policy. Put another way, the preponderance of the evidence means such evidence that when weighed against that opposed to it, has the more convincing force and the greater probability of truth.



Throughout the process, the parties may use an advisor of their choice. The advisor may be any individual – friend, mental health professional, certified victim’s advocate, attorney – or, for student-parties, an individual provided by the university. An advisor may not be a witness or have any conflicting role in the process or with a party.

The role of the advisor is to provide support and assistance in understanding and navigating the investigation process. To protect the privacy of those involved, all advisors are required to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to attending an interview or otherwise participating in the university’s investigatory process.

The university’s duty is to the parties, not the advisor. All communication will be made directly with the parties. The process will not be unreasonably delayed to accommodate the schedule of the advisor.

The advisor may not testify in or obstruct an interview, author written submissions, or disrupt the process. The investigator has the discretion to determine what constitutes appropriate behavior of an advisor and take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with this policy.


Conflict of Interest

If the complainant (the individual who made the complaint) or the respondent identifies concerns about a potential or actual bias or a conflict of interest in the investigatory or appeal process, they should notify the Executive Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity or their designee in writing as soon as possible so that the investigation or appeal can be managed in a manner that eliminates the identified bias or conflict. Actual bias is an articulated prejudice in favor of or against one party or position; it is not generalized concern about the personal or professional backgrounds, positions, beliefs, or interests of the decision makers in the process.