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Policy 54

University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Policies & Procedures to Promote Respect
for Campus Diversity
Policy #54

NOTE: Discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment concern and complaint procedures are described in section IV . Definitions of terms are in section I .

POLICY AND PURPOSE STATEMENT
  Creating and sustaining a campus climate in which all members of the university community can learn, work, and grow is integral to the mission and ethos of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Equally important, and an essential part of our mission, is preparing students to live and work in a diverse world. Such preparation is not merely a function of the curricula, but it is also fundamentally affected by the campus climate and by how all members of the university community - including students, faculty, staff, and administrators - are treated. The expansion of knowledge and the free exchange of ideas essential in an institution of higher education depend upon a campus climate that is free from discrimination.

Diversity is our strength, our privilege, and our common resource. All members of the university community have the responsibility to contribute to maintaining an inclusive collegial environment. All members of the university community have the right to participate in the life of the university without discrimination. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is firmly committed to protecting those rights for all its members.

Policies and procedures on respectful behavior, diversity-related education, performance evaluation accountability, and complaint processes all contribute to a healthy campus climate. Each of these areas is addressed below. The purpose of this document is to clarify these policies and procedures (a) to enable all members of the university community to become educated about diversity and accountable for diversity related goals, (b) to understand and act upon the importance of a healthy campus climate for diversity, and (c) to resolve specific complaints about discrimination.

I. DEFINITIONS :

A. Advocate: A person who understands the complaint process and works on
  behalf of the complainant or respondent, with their consent, to ensure they are
  being treated fairly and that the policy is accurately being followed
  [see Section VI].

•  Appeal: The process for complainants and/or respondents to request a reversal of the decision [see Section VI(D)]

•  Complaint: “Complaint” is a common term that is frequently used in other UW-Parkside policies, as well as state and federal laws and regulations. Please note, however, that the meaning of this term within Policies 54 and 36 is defined differently than in other UW-Parkside policies, and state and federal laws and regulations. The definitions of a “formal complaint” in I(D)  and an “informal complaint”  in I(E) should be read and understood before determining which process is most appropriate for a particular complaint. 

•  Informal complaint : An attempt to resolve a potentially discriminatory or harassing situation without a formal investigation [see Section VI(B)].

•  Formal complaint: An allegation of discriminatory or harassing conduct that the complainant believes warrants a formal investigation. Formal complaints must be initiated in a timely manner, and no le ss than 300 calendar days after the alleged discriminatory conduct occurred [see Section VI(C)].

•  Complainant: A person alleging that they have been a victim of discriminatory or harassing behavior [see Section VI].

•  Concern: An attempt to understand whether discrimination or harassment has occurred, and to understand one's rights [see Section VI].

•  Discrimination: (see UWP Policy #54) Federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sex/gender, or handicap/disability. In addition, Wisconsin prohibits discrimination based on arrest/conviction, marital status, sexual orientation, military reserve membership, and the use of lawful products (such as tobacco and alcohol) outside the work place. The University of Wisconsin System also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Discriminatory practices under these laws also include:

•  harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age;

•  retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;

•  employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and

•  denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability. Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.

•  Diversity: Encompasses a broad range of differences including race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic class or disability. Some of the many other dimensions of diversity include religion, ethnicity, union/nonunion affiliation, political party affiliation, military status, parental status, pregnancy, family or medical need.

•  Respondent: A person who has been accused of discriminatory or harassing behavior [see Section VI].

•  Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favor, reference to gender or sexual orientation, or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when:

1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used either explicitly or implicitly as a basis for any decision affecting terms or condition of an individual's employment, participation in any program or activity, or status in an academic course; or

2. Such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or educational experience, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for working, learning, or living on campus, and has no legitimate relationship to the subject matter of a course.

Sexual harassment can occur between any individuals associated with the University, i.e., between an employee and a supervisor; between co-workers; between faculty members; between a faculty, staff or student and a customer, vendor, or contractor; or between a student and a faculty member or another student.

II. RESPONSIBLITIES AND ACCOUNTABILITY

A. Responsibilities

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is covered by, and adheres to, state and federal laws governing equal employment and educational opportunity.

Administrators, faculty, staff, and students have the responsibility to:

• Strive to ensure the climate of the campus is one of tolerance and respect for diversity and to monitor and maintain such a climate;

• Treat all members of the university community with dignity and respect;
• Make ongoing efforts to actively prevent harassment by behaving as role models and encouraging open, honest communication;
• Respond promptly and appropriately to incidents or complaints of discrimination;
• Be cooperative and forthcoming if asked to participate in an official investigation;
• Actively seek out opportunities to learn and practice respect and understanding;

• Take appropriate action when intimidation or impermissible discrimination, as legally defined, occurs.

B. Accountability
   
  The Offices of Equity and Diversity, and Human Resources, are responsible for ensuring that diversity-related training for administrators, faculty, and staff is conducted, position descriptions appropriately integrate diversity qualifications and responsibilities, and that all performance evaluations include diversity-related goals. The Offices of the Dean of Students, Equity and Diversity, and Human Resources will provide training on the concern and complaint procedures to administrators and appointed advocates.

Departments, centers, and administrators are responsible for establishing and monitoring goals in the areas of diversity-related teaching, research, and service activities of their faculty and staff. Goals and measures will be developed in a program review process by departments, centers, and administrators in partnership with Human Resources, Office of Equity and Diversity, the Plan 2008 Executive Committee and the Affirmative Action Council. Departments, centers, and administrators will monitor progress against the goals and measures throughout the year. To ensure goals are being met, program reviews will be reviewed by departments, centers and administrators along with the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Affirmative Action Council, and the Plan 2008 Executive Committee; findings of the review and subsequent progress will be presented to the Chancellor's Cabinet. Additionally, all organizational units will include in their strategic plans, diversity objectives and strategies to attain them.

III. DIVERSITY-RELATED EDUCATION

A. Education

A variety of activities may be appropriate for ensuring that all members of the university community are educated about their specific rights and about diversity in general. Information about the university's policy and about the procedures for promoting a healthy campus climate will be made publicly available.

For students , diversity education may be accomplished in several ways. The curriculum includes required diversity courses, as well as diversity education infused in other courses and academic experiences. Other opportunities for diversity education and increased awareness for students include campus-wide dissemination of information about discrimination and university policies, cultural event programming, student organizations and interaction with administrators, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds.
   
  For administrators , including department chairs and directors, diversity education will be accomplished by participating in professional development, particularly with respect to the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, students, and administrators and effectively serving our diverse student population. In addition, administrators, department chairs, and center directors should receive professional development both in effectively resolving diversity-related conflicts, grievances, and complaints, and in using appropriate channels to respond to conflicts. Working with the Offices of Human Resources and Equity and Diversity, diversity related goals and components will be integrated into all position descriptions and performance evaluation criteria.
 
  For faculty and staff , diversity education will be accomplished through professional development and teaching, research, and service in accordance with university and departmental mission and objectives. Working with the Offices of Human Resources and Equity and Diversity, all position descriptions and performance evaluations will include diversity related components.

IV. CONCERN AND COMPLAINT PROCESS

All members of the university community have the right to the information and assistance afforded by the following processes, without threat of penalty. Reasonable action will be taken to ensure that any complainant, and anyone providing information on behalf of a complainant or otherwise supporting a complainant, will be supported in this effort by university officials.

Support and advocacy is an option available for those involved in the process. Advocates will provide support and aid the parties in resolving the complaint as effectively as possible. Students desiring an advocate should contact the Dean of Student's Office for referrals. Employees desiring an advocate should contact the Office of Human Resources. Employees may also contact their employee governance and/or representative group (e.g. University Committee, Academic Staff Committee, Classified Staff Committee) for referral.. Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program and union representation may offer support and advocacy. Advocates will maintain the confidentiality of those who consult them to the extent permitted by applicable law, including the Wisconsin Public Records Law.

Complainants may discuss concerns regarding discrimination and/or harassment using the process described below. Complainants may file either an informal or formal complaint using one of the two process options, which are described below (definitions are included in Section I).

A. Understanding the Process: Concerns. Sometimes it is difficult to understand whether discrimination and/or harassment has occurred, and to understand one's rights. Reviewing the definitions in Section I(H), (K) and Section II of this document on discrimination and sexual harassment can assist in this understanding. Individuals who need further assistance in understanding their rights, or the rights of others, are encouraged to discuss their concerns with an administrator from the relevant university department. If discussion with an administrator would be difficult or inappropriate then: (a) students may speak with the administrator's supervisor or an advocate from the Dean of Students Office; and (b) employees may contact the Human Resources Department, or their employee governance and/or representative group, which includes but is not limited to the University Committee, Academic Staff Committee, and Classified Staff Committee. The Office of Equity and Diversity and the Employee Assistance Program can also provide assistance.

B. Informal Complaint. Informal complaints must be filed using the following process:

•  Responsible Parties. If a complainant believes s/he has been subject to illegal discrimination and/or harassment, then s/he is encouraged to clearly and directly tell the respondent who is engaged in the conduct to stop. If it would be inappropriate to directly confront the respondent, or if the complainant's efforts to stop the conduct are unsuccessful, then the complainant may discuss the conduct with the respondent's supervisor, or file an informal complaint with a university administrator.

•  How to File an Informal Complaint. An informal complaint may be submitted either verbally or in writing to a university administrator. Typically, an informal complaint will describe an allegation of discriminatory and/or harassing conduct, and it must include details regarding the alleged discrimination and/or harassment as well as the relief sought by the complainant.

•  Filing Deadline. Informal complaints must be initiated in a timely manner, within 300 calendar days after the alleged discriminatory and/or harassing conduct occurred. BE AWARE: Filing deadlines for state and federal courts and agencies are administered by these courts and agencies and are not extended by filing an informal or formal complaint at UW-Parkside.

•  Resolution Deadline. All informal complaints must be resolved within 60 days, except in extraordinary circumstances.

•  Resolution. An informal complaint may be resolved by having a university administrator: (1) discuss together with the complainant and respondent, the alleged discriminatory and/or harassing conduct and relief sought by the complainant; (2) monitor the situation; and/or (3) seek mediation. An informal complaint is considered resolved when the parties involved agree on a course of action that they consider acceptable. If the parties do not come to a mutual agreement, the complainant may file a formal complaint.

•  Responsibilities. A university administrator shall advise the complainant of the alternative processes to resolve the situation and the availability of advocates. Students may seek an advocate from the Dean of Students Office; and employees may contact the Human Resources Department, or their employee governance and/or representative group, which includes but is not limited to the University Committee, Academic Staff Committee, and Classified Staff Committee. In addition, the administrator must seek to understand how the complainant wishes to handle the situation.

•  State and Federal Legal Rights of the Complainant. A person filing an informal complaint does not lose the right to file a formal complaint, either at UW-Parkside or with the appropriate state or federal court or agency. Upon request, either the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Equity and Diversity will provide contact information for the courts and agencies that are not only responsible for enforcing state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and/or harassment, but that also will provide detailed information regarding the complainant's legal rights under state and federal law.

•  Rights provided by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to the Complainant and the Respondent . All members of the university community have the right to be informed of any allegations against them resulting from an informal complaint and to respond fully to such complaints. At the time an informal complaint process is initiated, the rights of the respondent will be protected in accordance with UW-Parkside policies and procedures, as well as state and federal law. It is the policy and practice of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to provide reasonable access to relevant information to those persons, usually management and senior administrators, who are directly involved in the resolution of the complaint. All such persons are expected to maintain confidentiality regarding the details of the complaint.

•  Retaliation Prohibited. State and federal laws prohibit retaliation against anyone for filing a complaint or for providing statements, documents or other information regarding a complaint. All members of the University community have the right to seek the information and assistance afforded by this policy without the threat of penalty. Reasonable measures will be taken to assure that the complainant and those testifying on behalf of the complainant or supporting the complainant in other ways will suffer no retaliation as a result of their activities to enforce this policy.
   
•  Confidentiality. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent permitted by applicable law, including the Wisconsin Public Records Law, and discovery procedures in cases brought in court, Equal Rights Division, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

C. Formal Complaint. Formal complaints must be filed using the following process:

•  Responsible Parties. If the respondent is an employee, then formal complaints must be filed by the complainant with the Office of Equity and Diversity. If the respondent is a student, then formal complaints must be filed by the complainant with the Dean of Students Office.

•  How to File a Formal Complaint. A formal complaint must be submitted by the complainant in writing. The complainant must complete, sign, and file his or her written document with the Office of Equity and Diversity or the Dean of Students Office. Within the written document, the complainant shall specify the relief sought, and describe in detail: the pertinent facts and circumstances of the complaint, alleged incidents and the dates of occurrence, persons involved, and persons who have knowledge of the alleged events.

•  Filing Deadline. Formal complaints must be initiated in a timely manner, within 300 calendar days after the alleged discriminatory and/or harassing conduct occurred. BE AWARE: Filing deadlines for state and federal courts and agencies are administered by these courts and agencies and are not extended by filing an informal or formal complaint at UW-Parkside.

•  Resolution Deadline. All formal complaints must be resolved within 90 days, except in extraordinary circumstances.

•  Investigation:

•  The Chancellor, in consultation with the Office of Equity and Diversity and/or the Dean of Students Office, will determine whether an investigation is necessary. If appropriate, the Office of Equity and Diversity or the Dean of Students Office will investigate the complaint.

•  If the complaint is against the Office of Equity and Diversity or the Dean of Students, then the Chancellor will appoint another investigator.

•  Within seven days after a Complaint is filed, and when appropriate, an investigation will be initiated by the Assistant to the Chancellor for Equity and Diversity, or the Dean of Students or a designee.

•  Responsibilities of the Investigator. The investigator shall:

•  Discuss the allegations with the complainant,

•  Provide the respondent with a copy of the written complaint and discuss the allegations with the respondent,

•  Provide opportunity for the respondent to respond to the complaint in writing,

•  Examine relevant documents,

•  Interview persons who have knowledge of events described in the complaint, and

•  Properly maintain all paper and electronic records related to the case.

•  Rights Provided by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to the Complainant and the Respondent . All members of the university community have the right to be informed of any allegations against them resulting from a formal complaint and to respond fully to such complaints. It is the policy and practice of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to provide reasonable access to relevant information to those persons, usually management and senior administrators, who are directly involved in the resolution of the complaint. All such parties are expected to maintain confidentiality regarding the details of the complaint.
   
•  Communication during the Process. During the investigation, the Office of Equity and Diversity or Dean of Students will keep the complainant and the respondent informed of the progress in seeking a resolution. It is expected that the complainant and respondent, in turn, will keep the Office of Equity and Diversity or Dean of Students informed of his/her satisfaction with the investigation progress and alert the Office of Equity and Diversity or Dean of Students or an administrator if there are any subsequent and/or concurrent complaints filed with outside investigatory agencies.
 
•  Resolution. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator shall make a recommendation to the Chancellor on whether the complaint has, or has not, been substantiated. If the investigator believes that remedial action is necessary, or that the complaint was substantiated, then the investigator will recommend corrective action, or an appropriate course of disciplinary action, to the Chancellor who will determine the appropriate course of action. As directed by the Chancellor, the investigator shall take further steps as appropriate. Discipline may constitute action up to and including termination.

•  Retaliation Prohibited. State and federal laws prohibit retaliation against anyone for filing a complaint or for providing statements, documents or other information regarding a complaint. All members of the university community have the right to seek the information and assistance afforded by this policy without the threat of penalty. All reasonable action will be taken to assure that the complainant and those testifying on behalf of the complainant or supporting the complainant in other ways will suffer no retaliation as a result of their activities to enforce this policy.

•  State and Federal Legal Rights of the Complainant. A person filing a formal complaint does not lose the right to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal court or agency. Upon request, either the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Equity and Diversity will provide contact information for the courts and agencies that are not only responsible for enforcing state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and/or harassment, but that also will provide detailed information regarding the complainant's legal rights under state and federal law.

•  Confidentiality. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent permitted by applicable law, including the Wisconsin Public Records Law, and discovery procedures in cases brought in a court of law, with the Equal Rights Division, or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
   
•  False Allegations. It is a violation of this policy for anyone to knowingly make false accusations of discrimination or harassment. Failure to prove a claim of discrimination or harassment is not equivalent to a false allegation. Sanctions may be imposed for making false accusations of discrimination or harassment.

D. Decision. If the complainant or respondent is not satisfied with the results of the investigation, s/he may file an appeal through the appropriate employee or student constituency group process (see below). The findings of the appropriate constituency group process will forward recommendation to the Chancellor whose decision will be final.
   
  The appeal of formal complaints concerning the conduct of a faculty member will proceed according to the relevant faculty governance procedures. According to the provisions of UWPF Chapter VII-Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, which contains UW-Parkside's procedures pursuant to UWS 4 or S.UWS 6.01 and Wisconsin Administrative Code will be invoked.

The appeal of formal complaints concerning the conduct of academic staff will proceed according to the procedures adopted by UW-Parkside pursuant to UWS 11 or S.UWS 13.01 Wisconsin Administrative Code.

The appeal of formal complaints concerning the conduct of a student will proceed under the procedures set forth by the Dean of Students Office, or as described in UWS 17, Wisconsin Administrative Code.
   
  The appeal of formal complaints concerning the conduct of a member of the classified staff shall proceed under the provisions of the relevant current union contract or appropriate civil service regulations.
 
  E. Related Policies and Procedures:

•  Policy 15: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability
•  Policy 17: Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy
•  Policy 24: Gender/Equity Language Policy
•  Policy 29: Nondiscrimination Policy
•  Policy 36: Sexual Harassment Policy
•  Policy 41: Student Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedures
•  Policy 45: Statement on Consensual Relationships
•  Policy 51: Student Complaint Procedures
•  Policy 72: Reasonable Accommodation Policy and Procedures for Employees
 
  8/5/08
 




           

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