How OCEM Procedures

Intake and Consultation

A representative from OCEM will meet with you to hear your concerns.  A concerted effort will be made to determine whether the issue(s) you need to discuss are those rooted in protected-class status.  If they are not, you may be referred to another office.

There are internal and external options available for addressing your concerns.  These will be explained to you, and you will be asked to sign a form indicating that you have been told of these options.  You will be given a copy of this form.

It is possible that, because of the concerns you bring forward, you may need other assistance (for instance, the Employee Assistance Program).  The OCEM representative will talk with you about available resources.

 

Referral

It is possible that the issue or concern you bring to OCEM is one that is not rooted in protected-class status.  That is, you may describe a problem that does not have to do with civil rights.  In this case, OCEM may refer you to the appropriate office and will likely give that office a call to let them know you need assistance.

 

Informal Anonymous Resolution

If you choose to seek informal anonymous resolution to your issue, you can expect the OCEM representative to gather appropriate information and meet with the individual you believe to be engaging in inappropriate behavior.  The individual will not be told that you came forward.  Your name will remain confidential.  The accused will be given a chance to share his/her side of the story, and to discuss change as necessary.  Then the OCEM representative will follow up with you to let you know of the outcome.  If you are satisfied, OCEM will consider the matter resolved.  If you are not satisfied, you may take advantage of the other available options. Please keep in mind that this option is the least helpful of those offered due to the inability of the OCEM representative to share specific details with the accused and respond accordingly.

 

Informal Resolution

If you choose to seek informal resolution to your issue, you can expect the OCEM representative to gather appropriate information and meet with the individual you believe to be engaging in inappropriate behavior.  That individual will be given a chance to share his/her side of the story, and to discuss change if necessary.  Then the OCEM representative will follow up with you, to let you know of the outcome.  If you are satisfied, OCEM will consider the matter resolved.  If you are not satisfied, you may take advantage of the other available options.

 

Formal Statement of Complaint

Choosing to file a formal statement of complaint launches an investigation into your claims.  There is necessary paperwork to be completed by you, and it will be shared with the individual you believe to be in violation of University policy.  You will meet with an investigator who will hear your concerns and take notes as necessary, meet with the accused, collect appropriate and necessary documentations from all necessary sources, interview witnesses, and write a report of his/her findings.

  • If you file a formal statement of complaint, you will be referred to throughout the process as the complainant.  The person(s) you file against will be called the respondent(s).  For information OCEM provides to respondents, complainants, and witnesses, please click the corresponding link.  There you will find more information about what each individual can expect during the investigative process.

The investigator will remind you that OCEM's role is not that of advocate.  Our office exists as the neutral fact-finder, remaining objective throughout the process.  It is our goal to provide a fair and respectful investigation for all parties involved.

The Assistant to the President for Compliance and Equity Management will determine whether policy has been violated, and will notify the complainant and respondent in writing of this decision.  If there is no violated, OCEM considers the matter closed.  If there is a violation, the Assistant to the President for Compliance and Equity Management will work with the appropriate administrator in the division of the complainant to determine appropriate discipline.

 

Mediation

Individuals who file a formal statement of complaint may opt to have their issue mediated.  Mediation can occur if both parties agree to the mediation, OCEM agrees the issue is one appropriate for mediation (cases of sexual assault, for instance, will not be mediated), and the respondent is an individual who can actually effect the change sought by the complainant.  A certified mediator will mediate such cases, and a formal agreement will be signed by both parties.  If the agreement is violated, an investigation may be launched to look into the original complaint.

 

Administrative Review

Occasionally, individuals visit OCEM and report egregious behavior, but for various reasons, are unwilling to file a formal statement of complaint, and/or give OCEM the go-ahead to look into it on any level.  OCEM has a duty, based on its charge to help provide a welcoming community free of discrimination and/or harassment, to examine the issue.  Often this is done via an Administrative Review.  Through such a Review, witnesses may be called to OCEM to provide information, documentation may be reviewed and a final report will be written and submitted to the appropriate Vice President who will work with OCEM to determine the appropriate response.  Care is taken to protect identities, as necessary.  Neither the accused nor the individual who came forward will see the final report, unless the issue falls under Title IX.  In that case, the parties are allowed greater access to the final report.

Information About the Complaint Process

 Information below details our protocol and provides helpful guidelines that may be of assistance to you.

 Prepping for the investigation

  • The individual who filed the complaint is the “complainant” and the person who was filed against is the “respondent.”
  • The investigator is a neutral fact finder and is not representing or advocating for any of the parties involved.
  • As an employee of the University, your full cooperation with all OCEM inquiries is expected.  This means that full, complete and truthful responses are expected. It also means that you should comply with any request for materials. This is the case even if you are directed to do otherwise by a supervisor. If you have related information that is not covered during the interview, you should feel free to bring that information forward.
  • These meetings are not to be recorded, although the investigator will take written notes throughout. You are welcome to take written notes but you may not record the meeting in any other fashion.  Please advise the investigator if you were planning to record the meeting in some way other than via written notes.
  • It is extremely important that, throughout the process, you maintain confidentiality. We respect your need to have a confidante but we would like to encourage you not to share details of the investigation with others, particularly those who may be involved in some manner. This assists the investigator in conducting a clean inquiry that is not affected by gossip or hearsay.
  • If you become aware of new details or concerns, it is expected that you will share that information with the investigator in a timely fashion.
  • You are welcome to bring a single individual with you on visits to OCEM. You may bring someone from your Union, someone to support you, or legal counsel. If, however, you choose to bring legal counsel, you must inform OCEM ahead of the meeting so that the University Counsel can be scheduled into the meeting as well.
  • You may be asked to meet with the investigator more than once. The investigator may call you later to confirm details and/or gather additional information. This is not uncommon.
  • Retaliation against you because of your cooperation with this process is prohibited by University policy. If you believe you have been retaliated against, you should let our office know immediately. Likewise, please take care not to take retaliatory action against anyone else you believe may be involved in this investigation.
  • Questions are welcome at any time during the meeting and you are always welcome to follow up later with questions or concerns to our office at 3-2846. Questions about scheduling meetings or about the investigation should be addressed to the investigator. Questions about the process or outcome should be addressed to Leah Gutknecht, Assistant to the President for Compliance and Equity Management.

The investigation

  • The investigator will be interviewing you and all pertinent witnesses. The investigator reserves the right to determine which witnesses are pertinent. You will be given an opportunity to name witnesses you believe have information relating to the claims you have made. It is important that you not seek to pressure witnesses before or after the investigation.
  • The investigator will provide an opportunity for the respondent to respond to all of the complainant’s allegations. Similarly, the complainant will be allowed to respond to allegations made by the respondent.
  • The investigator will have a series of questions for you and may sometimes need to ask questions that make you uncomfortable. This is not intentional but you should recognize that the investigator is trained to pose questions that help him/her determine the accuracy of your statements. 
  • The investigator will review all pertinent documents, materials and files. If you have any such materials, you should let the investigator know. Again, the investigator reserves the right to determine which materials are pertinent.

After the investigation

  • The Assistant to the President for Compliance and Equity Management will receive a report of the investigation from the investigator. S/he will render a finding of sufficient or insufficient evidence that policy has been violated. Determining that sufficient evidence exists is not the same as “guilty,” but essentially indicates that the available evidence indicates policy was violated. A finding that there is insufficient evidence to determine violation occurred is not the same as “innocent,” but indicates that the available evidence does not make it possible to determine there was a violation. This determination will be based upon the evidence obtained as a result of the investigation process. Both parties will be notified of the finding in writing. The respondent’s department head/director, dean, vice president, and the president will also be notified.
  • In the event that there is a finding of a violation of University policy, the respondent’s vice president will determine appropriate disciplinary sanctions based on the recommendation from the Office of Compliance and Equity Management, and will, in writing, notify the respondent and the Office of Compliance and Equity Management of his/her decision.

Information for Witnesses

Information below details our protocol for working with witnesses, and provides helpful guidelines that may be of assistance to you if you have been called as a witness. 

  • The investigator is a neutral fact finder and is not representing or advocating for any of the parties involved.
  • These meetings are not to be recorded, although the investigator will take written notes throughout. You are welcome to take written notes but you may not record the meeting in any other fashion. Please advise the investigator if you were planning to record the meeting in some way other than via written notes.
  • As an employee of the University, your full cooperation with all OCEM inquiries is expected.  This means that full, complete and truthful responses are expected. It also means that you should comply with any request for materials. This is the case even if you are directed to do otherwise by a supervisor. If you have related information that is not covered or requested during the meeting, you should feel free to bring that information forward.
  • It is extremely important that, throughout the process, you maintain confidentiality. We respect your need to have a confidante but we would like to encourage you not to share details of the investigation with others, particularly those who may be involved in some manner. This assists the investigator in conducting a clean inquiry that is not affected by gossip or hearsay.
    • Specific details of the case at hand will not be shared with you directly, but some information will be divulged to better equip you to provide relevant responses to our inquiries.
  • Retaliation against you because of your cooperation with this process is prohibited by University policy. If you believe you have been retaliated against, you should let our office know immediately. Likewise, please take care not to take retaliatory action against anyone else you believe may be involved in this investigation.
  • If you become aware of new details or concerns, it is expected that you will share that information with the investigator in a timely fashion.
  • You may be asked to meet with the investigator more than once. The investigator may call you later to confirm details and/or gather additional information. This is not uncommon.
  • Your name will not be used and you will not be identified in any investigative reports unless you are at the annual appointment Director level or above. 
  • Witnesses are not privy to the outcome of the investigation.
  • Questions are welcome at any time during the meeting and you are always welcome to follow up later with questions or concerns to our office at 3-2846. Questions about scheduling meetings or about the investigation should be addressed to the investigator. Questions about the process or outcome should be addressed to Leah Gutknecht, Assistant to the President for Compliance and Equity Management.