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Policies and Procedures

13.19 Retaliation and Misconduct Reporting

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide a mechanism for individuals to report good faith concerns about improper, illegal or unethical conduct without retaliation.

Policy Statement

Retaliation is a violation of University policy. The University will not tolerate acts of retaliation against an individual who reports suspected or observed misconduct, or cooperates in an investigation of misconduct.

The University of Northern Iowa encourages individuals who are aware of misconduct to make good faith disclosures using the procedures provided in this policy, or in the case of discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis protected by federal and/or state law, using the procedures provided in Policy 13.02 (http://www.uni.edu/policies/1302).

Acts of retaliation by students are covered by the Student Conduct Code in Policy 3.02 (http://www.uni.edu/policies/302).

All reports of misconduct and retaliation will be taken seriously and every effort will be made to immediately stop acts of misconduct and retaliation.  An investigation will be conducted and remedies provided as appropriate.  Complaints of retaliation filed with the University will be kept confidential to the extent practicable, while assuring a complete investigation. Individuals who knowingly file a false complaint will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with University procedures. 

Definitions

Retaliation, for purposes of this policy, is defined as any materially adverse action or threat of a materially adverse action taken by the University, or an employee or student thereof, against a student, faculty member, or staff member for – (1) making a good faith report of misconduct, (2) reasonably participating in the investigation of a report of misconduct, (3) reasonably objecting to or resisting misconduct, or (4) being a close associate of someone who makes or may make a good faith report of misconduct.

Misconduct means any action, whether or not such action is taken within the scope of a person’s employment, which violates any state or federal law or regulation, or any University or Board of Regents, State of Iowa policy.  Examples include, but are not limited to, academic or research misconduct, corruption, bribery, theft of University property, fraudulent claims, misappropriation of funds, coercion, discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, violation of civil rights and other illegal, improper or unethical practices. For purposes of this policy, a report should be made regarding any misconduct by an individual(s):

  • employed by the University;

  • enrolled as a student at the University;

  • doing work or volunteering for, or on behalf of, the University;

  • using University facilities or property;

  • affiliating with the name or program of the University; or

  • who can reasonably be interpreted as representing or affiliating with the University.

A good faith report means the person making the report holds a reasonable belief that misconduct has occurred or that an action which has been taken is prohibited conduct under this policy. In other words, if another person in the same or similar position could conclude, in a fair, proper and sensible manner, that a violation occurred, the belief is reasonable.  A disclosure is not made in good faith if it is made with reckless disregard or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the disclosure. 

Procedure for Reporting Misconduct

Internal avenues for reports and complaints of misconduct include the following:

  • Reports of alleged employee misconduct that is harassing or discriminatory in nature should be made to the Office of Compliance and Equity Management (see Policy 13.02)

  • Reports of alleged misconduct of an employee or student that is harassing or discriminatory on the basis of gender should be made to the Title IX Officer or a Title IX Deputy Coordinator (see reporting guidelines at http://www.uni.edu/equity/title-ix-reporting);

  • Allegations of violence or criminal conduct that occurs within the geographic jurisdiction of the University should be made to University of Northern Iowa Police, a division of UNI Public Safety (http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/pubsaf/contacting_police/reporting_crime.shtml);

  • Allegations of violence or criminal conduct that occurs outside the geographic jurisdiction of the University should be made to local law enforcement and UNI Police;

  • Reports about fiscal matters, fraud, conflict of interest, or other concerns about the mismanagement of University resources should be made to the Vice President of Administration and Financial Services or designee or Ethics Point (https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/10957/index.html);

  • Reports of research misconduct should be made to the Research Integrity Officer (See Policy 13.13 Policy on Research Misconduct);

  • Reports or complaints about inappropriate workplace behavior or  work conduct should be made to Office of Human Resource Services; or to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost if involving faculty (see also UNI policy 12.01 if regarding a student academic grievance);

  • Complaints about student misconduct or alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct should be made to the Office of the Dean of Students;

  • All other complaints alleging a violation of federal law, state law, governmental regulations, or University Policy not otherwise covered above should be made to University Counsel.

In addition, Ethics Point is an anonymous, free, 24-hour, electronic and phone reporting service (https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/10957/index.html). Ethics Point will accept complaints and reports of misuse, mismanagement, mistreatment, or conflict of interest concerning any matter related to or affecting the administration of the University and treatment of its assets, resources, or people.

Procedure for Reporting Retaliation

Except in cases involving – (1) physical harm or threat of physical harm, which should be reported immediately to the UNI Police and/or local law enforcement, or (2) the redress of a student’s academic grievance, which should be processed according to UNI policy 12.01 Student Academic Grievance, an individual alleging retaliation under this policy is encouraged to discuss the allegation with the head of the department in which the alleged retaliation occurred to pursue an informal resolution of the issue.  If the department head is the person alleged to be retaliating, the individual should contact the appropriate office listed below.

In the event an informal resolution is not reached, is not appropriate, or is not pursued, the person alleging the retaliation should contact the appropriate office listed below to initiate a formal complaint.   

  • The Office of Compliance and Equity Management if the retaliation is related to reporting discrimination or harassment under Policy 13.02; or

  • The Office of the Dean of Students if the retaliation is based on reporting a violation of the Student Conduct Code; or

  • The Title IX Officer or a Title IX Deputy Coordinator if the retaliation is related to an incident of gender-based discrimination or harassment; or

  • The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost if the individual who is allegedly retaliating is a faculty member and/or academic administrator; or

  • The Human Resource Services Office in all other cases.

In addition, the Ethics Point reporting service (https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/10957/index.html) may be used to report a complaint of retaliation.

The following outlines the general process for initiation and investigation of the complaint:

  1. The complainant completes a complaint form (PDF) which includes sufficient detail of the facts and circumstances, including dates of alleged retaliatory acts and names of relevant persons, to enable an investigation into the alleged retaliation.  Complaint forms are available from the offices listed above.  [Note: a report filed through Ethics Point includes a different form, i.e., an Ethics Point form, but the type of information referenced above should be included in a report filed through Ethics Point, to enable an adequate investigation.]

  2. The recipient of the complaint will acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing and will notify the person accused of retaliation, his/her department head/director, dean, and vice president.

  3. An investigator will be appointed by the department head (or designee) of the appropriate office as listed above.

  4. The person investigating the complaint will typically meet with the complainant, the person or persons named in the complaint and other persons who may have knowledge relevant to the investigation.

  5. A finding will be made by the department head (or designee) of the appropriate office based on the investigation.

In the event there is a finding of retaliation under this policy for a student (not including graduate assistants), the Dean of Students will determine appropriate disciplinary sanctions.  In all other cases, in the event there is a finding of retaliation under this policy the vice president of the accused will determine appropriate disciplinary sanctions, in consultation with the Director of Human Resource Services for staff members, the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs for faculty, or the Dean of the Graduate College for graduate assistants.

 

 Additional Resources

  1. Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy ( http://www.uni.edu/policies/1302 )
  2. Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement (http://www.uni.edu/policies/1303)
  3. Student Code of Conduct ( http://www.uni.edu/policies/302 )
  4. Research Misconduct ( http://www.uni.edu/policies/1313 )
  5. Personal Conduct Rules  ( http://www.uni.edu/policies/303 )
  6. Violence Free Campus Policy ( http://www.uni.edu/policies/710 )
  7. Ethics Point (https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/10957/index.html)
  8. Student Academic Grievance (http://www.uni.edu/policies/1201)

 

Human Resource Services; Office of Compliance and Equity Management, approved August 22, 2012

President’s Cabinet, approved March 3, 2014

President and Executive Management Team, approved March 17, 2014