The University's Response to Reports
IMMEDIATELY UPON ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION of a report by any individual (whether reported by the affected party or a third party reporter) using the online reporting form (powered by Maxient™), the reporter is automatically directed to concise information, written in plain language, concerning the rights and resources available to affected parties.
Unless a report is anonymous, upon receiving the report, a representative from the Office for Equity & Compliance ("OEC") (and/or Office of the Dean of Students ("DOS"), for students) will contact the affected party and/or third party reporter to communicate the availability of supportive measures (available regardless of whether or not they choose to file a formal complaint) and to explain the process of filing a formal complaint, as applicable to the circumstances of the reported incident. The affected party will be invited to meet with a representative of the OEC (and/or DOS, for students) to consider the affected party’s wishes with respect to supportive measures and any formal complaint, and to answer any questions concerning the University’s applicable policies or procedures. Affected parties will be informed that supportive measures are available regardless of whether or not they choose to file a formal complaint.
The Preliminary Review & Balancing Individual/Community Interests
In addition to communicating information about supportive measures and formal complaints to the affected party and/or third party reporter, the OEC also conducts a preliminary review of all incoming reports. The purpose of the preliminary review is two-fold: (a) to assess the potential applicability of the Comprehensive Policy (including the Equitable Resolution Procedures ("ERP") and/or the Grievance Process) or other University policies to the reported incident; and (b) to assess whether the Executive Director for Equity & Compliance ("EDEC") must file a formal complaint independently from the affected party’s wishes.
The University is largely deferential to the wishes of the affected party as to whether or not to file a formal complaint and/or pursue any available alternative resolution process. However, in some circumstances, the EDEC must file a formal complaint to demonstrate an appropriate response to the reported information. The decision of the EDEC to file a formal complaint and initiate the ERP or the Grievance Process, especially when doing so conflicts with the stated wishes of the affected party, will be undertaken with care and in balanced consideration of the interests of the individuals involved (affected party/complainant and respondent), the interests of the larger University community (e.g., when heightened risk factors are alleged), and the interests of the institution in responding in a manner that meets its legal requirements.
Absent heightened risk factors, if the reporting/affected party does not respond to the University’s outreach, declines University assistance or intervention, wishes to receive information or supportive measures only, or otherwise declines to file a formal complaint, then the OEC may document its response to the report and close the matter without initiating a formal complaint (the affected party retains the right to revisit their wishes regarding the report at a later date).
Additionally, if the EDEC determines that the alleged behavior falls outside the scope of the Comprehensive Policy or would otherwise more appropriately be addressed by another University department (such as Human Resources or the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution), the report may be referred to the other department to be addressed.