1.2.1 Anti-Harassment & Non-Discrimination Policy Complaint Procedure for Students and Employees
This procedure is for filing an OEOA complaint against an employee or student based on a protected class that is not TITLE IX hostile environment, sexual assault/misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
For those allegations refer to the following University Procedures:
For reporting and complaint procedures related to filing a complaint against a student based on sexual harassment, sexual assault/misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, please see University Procedure 1.2.2.
For reporting and complaint procedures related to filing a complaint against an employee based on Title IX sexual harassment, sexual assault/misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, please see University Procedure 1.2.3.
For reporting and complaint procedures related to filing a complaint against a University Laboratory School student based on sexual harassment, sexual assault/misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, please see University Procedure 1.2.4.
Illinois State University strives to foster an academic, work, and living environment that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination in accordance with law and University Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy 1.2. To achieve this goal, Illinois State University has a responsibility to respond to complaints of harassment and discrimination quickly and fairly. Acts of harassment and discrimination are inconsistent with the University's values and will not be tolerated. Illinois State University maintains a proactive stance in the prevention of harassment and discrimination and imposes strict sanctions against those found responsible for committing such acts. Reporting parties will be provided the active support and intervention needed to aid their continued progress on academic and career goals.
II. Complaint Procedures
Any violations of the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination policy by an employee or student on a protected class basis other than Title IX hostile environment, sexual assault/misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking can be reported in the following manner:
- By phone: OEOA Director at (309)438-3383
- In Person: Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, 310 Hovey Hall, Normal, IL 61790
- Using the Complaint Form: https://equalopportunity.illinoisstate.edu/
For more information about resources and support, please go to the website at https://equalopportunity.illinoisstate.edu/.
A. General Procedures and Rights
Any student, faculty member, or employee who feels they have been the victim of harassment and/or discrimination on the basis of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, order of protection, gender identity and expression, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, unfavorable military discharge, status as a veteran, or sex (not including Title IX hostile environment, sexual assault/misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking) may file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity, and Access (OEOA).
Consistent with Illinois State University's duty to provide an academic and work environment free from unlawful behavior, the University reserves the right to investigate any allegation it receives indicating a possible violation of the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy.
The Reporting Party always has the option to pursue a criminal complaint with the Illinois State University Police Department, or pursue both the OEOA and criminal complaint processes simultaneously.
In circumstances when OEOA is provided with credible information that may violate other law or University policy or procedure, OEOA will refer a reporting party to the appropriate campus resource for the review of their concerns.
1. Role of the Office of Equal Opportunity, and Access in Complaint Investigations
The OEOA is an administrative office charged by the President of Illinois State University to review complaints to determine whether violations of the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy have occurred or are occurring. In doing so, OEOA collects and analyzes relevant information and evidence provided by the Complainant, the Respondent, and other sources as appropriate.
During the investigation process, the OEOA investigator remains impartial and is neither an advocate nor an adversary with respect to the Complainant, the Respondent, or other parties involved in the investigation.
2. Burden of Proof
When a complaint is filed, it is the Complainant's responsibility to articulate allegations of a violation of the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy by providing the OEOA with sufficient evidence, based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, to demonstrate:
- The Complainant qualifies as a member of one or more groups protected by the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy;
- The Complainant alleges treatment/actions in violation of the policy; and
- There exists a causal relationship between the protected status and the alleged treatment/ actions.
When OEOA conducts an investigation, it reviews the information collected using the preponderance of the evidence standard. "Preponderance of the evidence" means there is more credible information supporting the position of one party, in comparison to the other, so that the facts in question were more likely than not to have occurred.
3. Cooperation with an Investigation
It is expected that a Complainant will actively provide information to support the complaint in the time and manner deemed necessary and appropriate by the University to conduct the investigation. Illinois State University reserves the right to continue to investigate allegations of harassment and/or discrimination and take appropriate disciplinary action, even if the Complainant does not wish to pursue the complaint process. However, the University's response to the allegations may be limited based on inaction, non-participation or failure to cooperate.
4. Investigation Time Frame
The OEOA will conduct a diligent and conscientious investigation into the Complainant's allegations based on the information and evidence the Complainant provides the OEOA to support their allegation. The OEOA has 60 business days from the date the Complainant filed the complaint with the OEOA to complete the investigation, make formal recommendations to the appropriate University officials, and issue written findings to the Complainant and Respondent.
The OEOA reserves the right to extend this time frame by a reasonable period according to the scope of the investigation, the availability of witnesses, and the cooperation of the parties. If additional time is necessary, both the complainant and respondent will be notified of the OEOA's need to extend the investigation beyond the 60-business day time limit.
5. Anti-Retaliation Protection
Retaliation or intimidation against one, who in good faith, brings a complaint alleging a violation of the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy, or who in good faith participates in the investigation of a complaint pursuant to this policy, is prohibited. Substantiated retaliation shall constitute a violation of this policy and result in disciplinary action. The University will not tolerate retaliation against students, employees, or faculty members who exercise their rights by filing a complaint with or participate in a protected investigation. Any action, or attempted action, directly or indirectly, against any person(s), who, in good faith, reports or discloses a violation of this policy, files a complaint, and/or otherwise participates in an investigation, proceeding, complaint, or hearing under this policy. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to harassment, discrimination, threats, or negative impact on employment and/or academic progress. Actions are considered retaliatory if they have a materially adverse effect on the working, academic, or living environment of a person; or if they hinder or prevent the person from effectively engaging in University activities and programs. Any person or group within the scope of this policy who engages in retaliation is subject to a separate charge of retaliation.
While confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, all persons involved in a harassment and/or discrimination complaint are expected to treat all information as confidential unless disclosure of the information is compelled by law or University policy.
7. Right to a Representative
Any individual involved in a harassment and/or discrimination complaint has the right to bring a representative to meetings or interviews scheduled by the OEOA. Please note, however, that any party desiring to exercise this right must notify the OEOA at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.
8. Seeking Assistance/Support Services
If you feel that you have been, or are being harassed, discriminated against, or have been the victim of sexual assault/misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking the OEOA is the appropriate place to bring your concerns. Additionally, Illinois State University offers a variety of support services that can assist you in obtaining counseling, medical services, and assistance.
B. Specific Complaint Procedures
1. Filing a Complaint
Any student, faculty member, or employee who feels they have been the victim of harassment and/or discrimination on the basis of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, order of protection, gender identity and expression, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, unfavorable military discharge, status as a veteran, or sex (not including Title IX sexual harassment, sexual assault/misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking) may file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity, and Access (OEOA). Illinois State University offers a variety of support services that can assist you in obtaining counseling, medical services, and assistance.
2. Review of Allegations/Resources
Upon receipt of a complaint, a representative of the OEOA will review the allegation to ensure the reported behavior meets the criteria of a possible Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy violation. If the alleged behaviors are deemed not to meet the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination criteria, the Complainant will be referred to the appropriate campus resource for review of their concerns.
The OEOA investigator will meet with the Complainant, the Respondent, and any witnesses identified by either party separately to discuss the complaint and gather information related to the allegations. At the close of each meeting, the Complainant, the Respondent, and each witness will be informed of the University's Anti-Retaliation policy.
Individuals who provide a statement to the OEOA Investigator for the purposes of an investigation will be provided an opportunity to review and provide feedback on their draft statement prior to its use in OEOA’s investigation report.
4. Draft Investigation Report
When an investigation is concluded, the OEOA Investigator will typically prepare a written report. The Complainant and Respondent will be given an opportunity to review the draft OEOA report and have five (5) days to submit comments on that draft to the Investigator. OEOA reviews the comments submitted by the parties, if any, and determines whether the report should be modified. All comments from the parties are considered in reaching a determination on the matter.
5. Administrative Report of Investigation
At the close of the investigation, the OEOA will determine whether or not sufficient evidence, based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, was found to support a finding of a violation of the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy. The OEOA will issue an administrative report of investigation to both the Complainant and Respondent.
6. Right of Appeal
Either or both the Complainant and/or Respondent may file a letter of appeal with the President of Illinois State University. Appeal letters to the President must be made in writing and within ten (10) business days from the date of the OEOA administrative report of investigation.
Upon receipt of the appeal, the President will review the OEOA investigation determinations and the information provided in the letter of appeal. The President's decision regarding the appeal will be issued, in writing, to the Complainant, Respondent, and OEOA no more than sixty (60) business days from receipt of the appeal letter. The President's written decision on the appeal will constitute the final step in the University's administrative process.
OEOA may provide a copy of the final report to Human Resources, Student Conduct and Community Responsibilities, Office of the Provost, and/or other appropriate department personnel, who may impose disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment and/or sanctions listed in the Code of Student Conduct.