Office of the Provost

The University of Michigan Faculty Handbook

11.C Procedures for Addressing Sexual Harassment Claims/Resources

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) is responsible for ensuring the University’s compliance with federal and state nondiscrimination laws. However, a discrimination free environment is the responsibility of every member of the community. The University can take corrective action only when it becomes aware of problems. Therefore, persons who believe they have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment are encouraged to come forward promptly with their inquiries, reports, or complaints, and to seek assistance within the University. A number of options exist for resolving sexual harassment complaints, from informal resolution processes to formal investigations and grievance procedures. Individuals also have the right to pursue a legal remedy for sexual harassment in addition to or instead of proceeding under the University Sexual Harassment Policy, SPG 201.89-0.

Information about or assistance with discrimination and harassment issues may be obtained from a variety of University resources. Prior to or concurrent with lodging a complaint, individuals may find it helpful to consult with a counselor or otherwise seek assistance.

The following offices can provide advice and support to individuals who believe they are experiencing discrimination or harassment. All information shared with these offices will remain confidential to the extent permitted by law and University policy. Discussions with representatives of these offices will not be considered a report to the University regarding the problematic behavior and will not, without additional action by the Complainant, result in intervention or corrective action.

  • FASAP – Faculty and Staff Assistance Program - www.umich.edu/~fasap/
  • UMHS Employee Assistance Program (Hospital and Health Centers staff) -www.mhealthy.umich.edu/eap
  • CAPS – Counseling and Psychological Services - www.umich.edu/~caps/
  • SAPAC – Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (faculty, staff and students) - www.umich.edu/~sapac/
  • Office of the Ombuds (students)- www.umich.edu/~ombuds/
  • University Faculty Ombuds (faculty)- www.umich.edu/~facombud/
  • UM-Dearborn Counseling and Support Services (faculty, staff and students – (http://www.umd.umich.edu/css_support/
  • UM-Flint Office of Student Services and Enrollment Management - Counseling Services and Ombuds (students) -  www. UM-Flint.edu/ssem
  • UM-Flint Faculty Ombuds (faculty) -  www.um-Flint.edu/provost

 

When the behavior may constitute a threat to the individual’s safety, he or she should promptly alert the Department of Public Safety or call 911.

Lodging a complaint

An individual may file a complaint about alleged sexually harassing behavior or retaliation by contacting a University official such as a supervisor; dean, director or department head; the Office of Institutional Equity; the appropriate human resources office; the dean of students (for students); the Dean's Office of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies (for graduate students); the Center for the Education of Women; or the Department of Public Safety. If an employee is represented by a bargaining unit and the terms of the relevant agreement provide for a different procedure for pursuing a sexual harassment complaint, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will prevail. If the complaint is against a student, the complainant may elect to pursue a formal charge through the appropriate student grievance procedure. In addition, any member of the University community may use appropriate University resources for guidance and support during the investigation process. In addition, the University may assume the role of complainant and pursue a report or complaint of sexual harassment, either informally or formally. The University may also respond to complaints or reports by persons external to the University community about alleged sexually harassing conduct by University employees.

Investigation of complaints

After a complaint has been filed, a staff member in the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) determines the most effective method of investigating the concerns raised by the complainant. In most cases, this involves conducting a thorough fact-finding investigation. The purpose of an investigation, which includes interviewing the parties and witnesses, is to gather and assess evidence. An investigation or review may be performed by the OIE, by another office, or jointly as determined by the OIE. As appropriate, the investigating office works collaboratively with other University offices. After concluding the investigation, the investigator prepares a draft of the written report, which he or she then provides to the complainant, the respondent, to the appropriate supervisor, to the OIE if the investigation has been conducted by another office, and to other pertinent University officials, as needed.

Determination of findings and corrective action, where applicable

Following an opportunity for the complainant and respondent to review a summary of the evidence gathered during the investigation and to submit comments on the draft summary, and after additional steps are followed as described in the procedures, the investigator makes a determination regarding the merit of the allegations. If the report finds that discrimination or harassment occurred, the University will determine appropriate corrective action up to and including dismissal, in accordance with University procedures, including, where applicable, the procedures set forth in Regents' bylaw 5.09. If the investigator determines that the respondent did not engage in discrimination or harassment but did engage in inappropriate workplace behavior, the University may also take corrective action.

Appeals

The respondent may grieve any corrective action that is disciplinary in nature through the grievance mechanism available to him or her.

Retaliation

The University will take appropriate steps to assure that a person who in good faith reports, complains about, or participates in an informal resolution or formal investigation of a sexual harassment allegation will not be subjected to retaliation. The University also will take appropriate steps to assure that a person against whom such an allegation is made is treated fairly. The University will also take appropriate follow-up measures to assure that the goals of this policy are met. Persons who believe they are experiencing retaliation are strongly encouraged to lodge a complaint with the University, using the same procedure for lodging a complaint of sexual harassment.

Faculty Handbook: Sexual Harassment: