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How to File a Complaint

The Role of the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity in Responding to Reports and Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment

One of the functions of the OIED is to determine whether University policies or procedures regarding discrimination or harassment have been followed. If violations are found, the OIED works to remedy the situation by providing relief to the complainant and corrective feedback to the alleged offender.

The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity remains impartial at all times when investigating a charge of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. The OIED is neither an advocate nor an adversary with respect to the complainant, the person accused, or witnesses. The OIED is responsible for gathering any evidence that will help the University meet its requirements for nondiscrimination, regardless of whose position that evidence supports.

Who may file a complaint?

Any member of the university community including Faculty members, staff members, students, volunteers, guests, etc. may file a complaint of discrimination or harassment with Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity against another faculty member or staff member.

Additionally, any faculty, staff, or students connected with the University may file a complaint directly with Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity if they believe they are being retaliated against because:

they challenged what they believed to be a discriminatory behavior, or

they provided information or participated in an investigation of a claim of discrimination or discriminatory harassment.

Schedule an appointment by calling the Office for Institutional Equity and DIversity at 757-683-3141

We are neutral. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity does not take sides. We are committed to providing a fair and unbiased review, and our investigations are focused on evidence. We also help Complainants and Respondents by providing information about support and advocacy services.

We help Complainants find the right process. The University has processes that provide prompt and effective review of discrimination and harassment complaints. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity addresses some of these concerns directly, but if the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity is not best suited to address the concerns (e.g., some complaints against students), we will assist the Complainant in determining the appropriate resources and provide contact information.

Understanding the complaint. The first step the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity takes is to assign an investigator to gather information about the complaint. This usually involves interviewing the Complainant and gathering all evidence the Complainant has, including documentation and names of witnesses, if any. Complainants are strongly encouraged to share all information they have regarding the matter.

Anonymity. Complainants frequently want to know if the Respondent will be told they raised concerns. Respondents are provided enough information about the allegations to allow them a fair opportunity to respond, and the level of detail necessary to do that varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Interviewing the Respondent. After the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity understands the nature and scope of the complaint, the Respondent is asked about the allegations and given a full and fair opportunity to respond. The Respondent is also asked to provide any documentation and identify witnesses relevant to the complaint. The Complainant is not present during the Respondent's interview and vice versa.

Gathering other evidence. The Investigator interviews witnesses and reviews relevant documentation and may also contact the Complainant and Respondent with additional questions or to request additional information.

Decision and follow up. The Investigator analyzes the evidence and reaches a conclusion. If the Investigator determines that inappropriate behavior, discrimination or harassment has occurred, the relevant administrators will follow up with corrective action aimed at addressing the offending behavior. Because personnel matters are confidential, the Complainant is not told the specific steps that are taken, but is asked to contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity immediately if the behavior occurs again.

Retaliation. The University has a strong policy against retaliation. Complainants who feel they are being subjected to retaliatory behavior are strongly encouraged to contact The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity immediately.

Resources. The Sexual Harassment Committee is available to assist you with any aspect of the process including clarifying and explaining procedures. A current listing of the members is available from the OIED.

More information. If you have any other questions about the investigation or investigative process, please do not hesitate to contact the assigned investigator at 757-683-3141.

Filing A Complaint

We are neutral. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity does not take sides. We are committed to providing a fair and unbiased review, and our investigations are focused on evidence. We also help Complainants and Respondents by providing information about support and advocacy services.

Understanding the complaint. The first step the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity takes in an investigation is to assign an investigator to gather information about the complaint. This usually involves interviewing the Complainant and gathering all evidence the Complainant has, including documentation and names of witnesses, if any. The Respondent is not present during the Complainant's interview and vice versa.

Interviewing the Respondent. After the investigator understands the nature and scope of the complaint, the Respondent is asked about the allegations and given a full and fair opportunity to respond. The Respondent is also asked to provide any documentation and identify witnesses relevant to the complaint. Respondents are strongly encouraged to share all information they have regarding the matter.

Anonymity. Respondents are provided enough information about the allegations to allow them a fair opportunity to respond. In some cases, it is not necessary to identify the Complainant in order to provide enough information for the Respondent to respond (e.g., comments made in front of a large group of people).

Gathering other evidence. The Investigator interviews witnesses and reviews relevant documentation and may also contact the Complainant and Respondent with additional questions or to request additional information.

Decision and follow up. The Investigator analyzes the evidence and reaches a conclusion. If the Investigator determines that inappropriate behavior, discrimination or harassment has occurred, the relevant administrators will follow up with a remedy aimed at addressing the offending behavior.

Corrective Action. While the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity does not impose corrective action, the Respondent should be aware that the University takes all allegations of discrimination and harassment very seriously.

After the Office of Institutional Equity And Diversity conducts a fair, equitable and timely investigation, if corrective action is warranted, such action can include, but is not limited to, specialized training, time off without pay, and other actions up to and including termination. If a Respondent does not agree with the disciplinary action taken, the corrective action may be appealed using the applicable appeal.

Retaliation. The University has a strong policy against retaliation. Respondents, who engage in retaliatory behavior, either directly or through others, are subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

Resources. The Sexual Harassment Committee is available to assist you with any aspect of the process including clarifying and explaining procedures. A current listing of the members is available from the OIED.

More information. If you have any other questions about the investigation or investigative process, please do not hesitate to contact the Investigator at 757-683-3141.

Filing A Complaint