Complaint FAQs

 

 This overview is a brief description of how to file a complaint of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation at The University of Austin. For additional information concerning the university policies found in this area, please contact the Office of Institutional Equity.

File a Complaint button     Report a Departmental Concern button

                                                                                

 

Who may file a complaint?

Any person (e.g., faculty, staff, student, visitor) may report what they believe to be an act of discrimination or harassment to the Office of Institutional Equity as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s).

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How do I file a complaint?

Students/Faculty/Staff wishing to report concerns of harassment or discrimination should contact the Office of Institutional Equity, NOA 4.302; (512) 471-1849.

Students with disabilities who wish to receive assistance should contact the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at (512) 471-6259. There is a grievance procedure administered through the SSD for students who have specific complaints regarding the University’s compliance with certain provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. For more information, students should contact the SSB.

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What is the process for filing a complaint through the Office of Institutional Equity?

First, you must complete the OIE Data Form so that our office will be able to help you ascertain the  proper couse of action for filing your complaint. The form should describe the alleged incident(s) along with relevant date(s), name(s) of the Respondent(s) and witnesses. The Data Form needs to be dated and signed by the Complainant.

Click the icon below to fill out the OIE Data Form:

File a Complaint button

Report a Departmental Concern button

You may file a complaint through the Informal Resolution Process by completing the Informal Complaint Form and e-mailing it or hand delivering it to our office.  You may send e-mails to equity@utexas.edu.

What is the difference between a formal and an informal complaint?

Both the Informal and Formal Complaints are official University complaints of discrimination and/or harassment; however, there are some key distinctions between the two types of complaint processes.

Informal Complaint: The goal of the Informal Resolution Process is to give notice of a perceived wrong and have OIE informally address the situation. The University of Texas does not make a determination as to whether a Respondent(s) has violated University policy. Instead, Office of Institutional Equity staff will use conflict resolution techniques to attempt to resolve the concern(s) brought forward. Moreover, Office of Institutional Equity staff members will only speak to those people whose involvement is necessary to facilitate a resolution to a complaint. At times, this might include only the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s). The Office of Institutional Equity attempts to reach a resolution to an Informal Complaint within thirty days of the filing of the complaint. This process is not a fact finding endeavor. No investigation is conducted. There is no discipline as part of this process. Generally, the employment or academic concern is handled if the complaint is made within 90 days of the occurrence (alleged wrongful act) or 30 days from the end of the semester for students.

Formal Complaint: The goal of the Formal Resolution Process is to reach an official determination as to whether a Respondent(s) has violated one of the University’s policies, including, but not limited to, the Antiharassment Policy and/or Nondiscrimination Policy. As part of the Formal Resolution Process, The Office of Institutional Equity will investigate formal complaints of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation and determine whether there is a reasonable basis for believing the alleged violations of the policy have occurred. The investigation may include oral interviews and/or written statements from the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses who may be able to provide pertinent information about the facts of the case. In the course of the investigation, the respondent will be informed of the allegation and the facts surrounding the allegations and will be afforded a full opportunity to respond to the allegations. In response to most reports of discriminatory harassment, the University will complete the investigation in 30 business days (Note: Business days do not include weekends or employee holidays as recognized by the University). However, there may be some reports that cannot be investigated within 30 business days. At the conclusion of the investigation, the complainant and respondent will be notified by the University whether any policy was violated by the complained of act(s).  Based on the investigation findings, there may be discipline and/or other measures deemed appropriate to resolve the complaint.  Generally, the employment or academic concern is handled if the complaint is made within 90 days of the occurrence (alleged wrongful act) or 30 days from the end of the semester for students.

The complaining party selects whether to pursue an Informal or Formal Complaint. A Complainant may choose to first file an Informal Complaint. If, however, the parties are unable to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the Informal Complaint, a Complainant may then file a Formal Complaint provided that the complaint is within the time limitations set out in the applicable policy.

A complete description of the Informal Resolution Process and the Formal Resolution Process can be found in the University’s NonDiscrimination Policy, available from the Office of Institutional Equity and can also be found by in the Complaint Process Flow Chart.

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May I file both an Informal and a Formal Complaint?

Not concurrently. The Informal Resolution Process and the Formal Resolution Process are not mutually exclusive. An individual may attempt to first resolve his or her concerns through an Informal Complaint. If, however, a Complainant is not satisfied with the result of the Informal Process, a Complainant may then file a Formal Complaint provided that the complaint is within the time limitations set out in the applicable policy.

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When do I need to file a complaint?

Individuals wishing to report a concern or file a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment are encouraged to do so as soon as possible following the incident(s). Generally, the employment or academic concern is handled if the complaint is made within 90 days of the occurrence (alleged wrongful act) or 30 days from the end of the semester for students.

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Do I have to file a complaint once I contact the Office of Institutional Equity?

Any member of the University community may consult the Office of Institutional Equity without obligation to file a complaint. Office of Institutional Equity staff will give University community members information designed to explain the University’s policies and procedures so that they may make an informed choice as to whether they would like to file a complaint. In certain limited situations, however, the information learned by the Office of Institutional Equity may be of sufficient concern that the University must take appropriate action to resolve the concern even though an individual does not wish to file a complaint. An example would be if an individual could be harmed if s/he returns to the environment s/he has described.

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Will my complaint be confidential?

Complaints of discrimination and/or harassment are treated with the greatest degree of confidentiality possible. In all situations, confidentiality is maintained on a need-to-know basis; however, confidentiality can only be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct that require it to take corrective action.

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Am I protected from retaliation if I file a complaint?

The University prohibits retaliation against individuals who file complaints or who participate in the complaint resolution process. Retaliatory action is regarded as a basis for a separate complaint under the University’s Procedures. If you believe that you have been retaliated against for filing a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, or for participating in the resolution of a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, please contact the Office of Institutional Equity.

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What is the role of the Office of Institutional Equity?

The Office of Institutional Equity is an administrative office, not a judicial or legal office. Its role is to assist campus community members in understanding the University’s policies and procedures in the area of discrimination and harassment and to assist in resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. The Office of Institutional Equity staff members are impartial administrators who are neither advocates nor adversaries with respect to the parties and witnesses in a complaint-related matter. Instead, Office of Institutional Equity staff members are advocates for the proper and fair administration of the complaint process.

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May I file an anonymous complaint?

If you have a concern that you wish to report anonymously, you may do so on the University’s Compliance Hotline www.reportlineweb.com/utaustin or 1-877-507-7321. If you choose not to provide this information, the form will be submitted anonymously. However, in many cases, a more effective response to the campus climate incident can be implemented if university staff has an opportunity to ask follow-up questions if necessary.

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Where can I get more information?

The Office of Institutional Equity can further explain the University’s policies and procedures to you and can assist in initiating the complaint process. To make an appointment, please call (512) 471-1849. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.