V. PROCEDURES FOR COMPLAINTS FOR SEX HARASSMENT
Where to go to make a complaint.
A complainant may report sex harassment to any University official, including the complainant's supervisor, the department chair, or dean. A complainant may also contact the Director of Personnel; a departmental or college equity officer; the faculty ombuds officer; the staff ombuds officer; the Office of Human Relations; or the President's Legal Office. Students may report complaints of peer harassment to the Office of Judicial Programs. The University has structured its sex harassment complaint procedures to allow reporting to a number of people in order to encourage complainants to come forward.
What happens after a complaint is made.
The recipient of the complaint is required to contact the President's Legal Office. The Legal Office is responsible for ensuring that the complainant is advised about his or her options, and that appropriate action is taken to resolve the complaint. The University has both formal and informal procedures for resolving sex harassment complaints. Informal procedures involve an investigation and resolution by an appropriate, neutral University official. Formal processes include faculty and staff grievance procedures; Code of Student Conduct procedures; and University Human Relations Code procedures.
Failure to use University complaint procedures.
Under the Supreme Court's new rulings, a complainant's unreasonable failure to bring a complaint to the attention of University officials may preclude the complainant from obtaining other legal remedies for the harassment.
If someone reports a complaint of harassment to you.
When any University official or faculty or staff member with supervisory authority receives a report of sex harassment, he or she must notify the President's Legal Office. The Legal Office will normally manage and coordinate the investigation and resolution of the complaint.
Why the recipient of a complaint must report it.
Under the law, once the University has notice of a complaint, it must take action. Depending upon the status of the person receiving the complaint, notice to that person may constitute notice to the University. If a University official or faculty or staff member with that status receives a complaint and fails to report it, he or she may be subject to legal liability or University disciplinary action.
All reports of sex harassment are considered to be confidential. This means that information about the complaint will be told only to those people who have a legitimate reason to know about it. This includes the alleged harasser. Sometimes a complainant wants to tell a University official or other person with supervisory authority "confidentially" about harassment, but does not want that person to take action. For the reasons stated above, that is not a viable option for the person receiving the complaint. There is no duty of "confidentiality" which overrides an official's or supervisor's responsibility to report the complaint. There are campus counseling services which do provide for confidential discussion of faculty, staff or students problems and concerns. University counselors who are told of sex harassment within confidential counseling will not report the complaint (and are not required to under University policy), absent the consent of the complainant. Consulting confidentially with campus counseling services will not serve to notify University officials for the purposes of investigation and resolution of the complaint. These services are provided by the Health Center Faculty-Staff Assistance Program (314-8170) and the University Counseling Center (314-7561.)
What happens when faculty or staff are charged with sex harassment.
University policy protects the rights of the alleged harasser as well as the complainant. Faculty and staff charged with sex harassment have the rights set out in the particular procedure used to process the complaint. For example, all campus grievance procedures as well as the Human Relations Code provide for certain rights for the accused. If the informal process is used, the accused will have the opportunity to respond to the complaint.
What happens when faculty or staff are found responsible for harassment.
If the University determines that a faculty or staff member has engaged in harassment, it will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination. If a law suit results from a case of proven harassment, the harasser will be required to seek private legal counsel, and will be personally liable for any judgment entered against him or her. The University may also seek indemnification against the harasser for any loss it suffers in the matter. Conversely, if the University determines that there was no inappropriate or illegal conduct by a faculty or staff member, and a law suit results, it will recommend legal representation be provided to the employee by the Office of the Attorney General.
Students charged with sex harassment.
Students who are charged with sex harassment have the rights and responsibilities set out in the Code of Student Conduct. Complaints may be resolved by a disciplinary conference, or may be heard by a student judicial board. There are a range of penalties, up to and including expulsion.