The University Record, March 14, 1994


Formal Investigation. Either subsequent to or instead of following an informal process, a complainant may elect to make a formal charge of sexual harassment and have it pursued. The University will investigate all formal charges of sexual harassment.

Faculty and staff complainants have two internal mechanisms available to pursue a formal charge and their availability depends on the employment status of the complainant. All employees represented by a union must pursue a formal charge through the grievance procedure in the relevant collective bargaining agreement. All other employees may pursue a formal charge through the use of the appropriate faculty or staff grievance procedure set forth in the Standard Practice Guide or, in the alternative, through the procedures set forth in this policy. A student complainant may elect to pursue a formal charge through the appropriate student grievance procedures or, in the alternative, through the procedures set forth in this policy.

Formal charges under this Policy’s procedures should be made in writing and filed either with a dean or director, the Affirmative Action Office, or the appropriate Personnel Office. If a formal investigation is initiated, the person accused of sexual harassment must be notified of the charge and given the opportunity to respond to any allegations before disciplinary actions are taken.

The purpose of an investigation, which will include interviewing the parties and witnesses, is to gather and verify facts about the case. Formal investigations will be conducted in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, by a three-person team consisting of a representative from the appropriate Personnel Office, the Affirmative Action Office, and the office of the dean or director. Investigation of a complaint against a dean or director will include a representative from the office of the appropriate Vice President or Vice Chancellor in place of a representative from the office of that dean or director. Faculty and student participants in an investigation may elect to have a peer representative included on the investigatory team. Student or faculty peer representatives will be drawn by lot from the student panel which hears complaints under the Interim Policy on Discrimination and Discriminatory Conduct by Students in the University Environment or from the faculty cognate panel for the faculty grievance procedure, respectively, on the Ann Arbor campus, and from an equivalent representative pool on the Dearborn and Flint campuses.

Investigations will be conducted promptly, thoroughly, and fairly, affording both the complainant and the accused a full opportunity to participate. Possible outcomes of an investigation are (1) a finding that the allegations are not warranted or could not be substantiated, (2) a negotiated settlement of the complaint, (3) a finding that the allegations are substantiated and, if so, (4) recommendations to the appropriate supervisor regarding corrective action to be taken. If an allegation of sexual harassment is substantiated, appropriate corrective action will follow. The University utilizes a disciplinary system for this and other misconduct in which the extent of the disciplinary action taken depends on all the facts and circumstances available at the time the decision is made. The severity of the punishment will depend on the frequency and severity of the offense. Corrective action could include a requirement not to repeat or continue the harassing conduct, a reprimand, denial of a merit pay increase, reassignment, and suspension. A finding of sexual harassment may be cause for the separation of the offending party from the University, in accordance with University procedures, including, for qualified faculty, the procedures set forth in Regental Bylaw 5.09. Every effort will be made to assure Universitywide uniformity of sanctions. The complainant and the person complained against will be notified in writing of the final disposition of a formal complaint. In the event the allegations are not substantiated, all reasonable steps will be taken to restore the reputation of the accused if it was damaged by the proceeding.

University Action. At the request of a complainant or with the consent of one or more complainants who agree to participate as witnesses, or in other appropriate circumstances, the University may assume the role of a complainant and pursue a report or complaint of sexual harassment, either informally or formally. The University may respond to complaints or reports by persons external to the University community about conduct of University employees alleged to be sexual harassment.

If an accused is a faculty member to whom Regents’ Bylaw 5.09 applies, the Provost or executive authority of the relevant unit may initiate the procedures of Bylaw 5.09 at any stage in the process, if the circumstances indicate that such action is warranted.

Appeals Process. Complainants as well as faculty and staff members against whom corrective action is taken may use the relevant grievance procedure to appeal the appropriateness of the corrective action and the procedures followed. A student complainant who is not satisfied with the outcome of a formal investigation may appeal the outcome to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (if person complained against is a faculty member or teaching assistant) or relevant Vice President (if person complained against is a staff member). On the Dearborn and Flint campuses student complainants should utilize the appeals process specific to their own campus.

Reporting Requirements. To assure Universitywide compliance with this policy and with federal and state law, the Affirmative Action Office must be advised of all reported incidents of sexual harassment and their resolution. Reports in which the complainant’s and/or the accused’s names are not revealed should be reported generically. The Affirmative Action Office will use this information to prepare annual statistical reports for the campus community on the incidence of sexual harassment. The Office of the General Counsel will monitor repeated complaints within the same unit or against the same individual, where appropriately identified, to assure that such claims are appropriately handled.

General. In all cases, a person who (1) reports or complains, (2) participates in an inquiry or investigation, or (3) is accused of sexual harassment incidents may be accompanied by an individual of his or her choice who shall be permitted to attend, but not participate in, the proceedings. 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 undertake appropriate follow-up measures to assure compliance with settlements and the goals of this policy.

Inquiries and complaints of sexual harassment shall be treated with the maximum degree of confidentiality. Only when required by law or when personal safety is at risk will confidential information be acted upon or disclosed to others without a complainant’s consent.

Sexual harassment complaints should be made promptly and resolved as quickly as possible, generally within two weeks of the date the complaint is made. Formal investigations should be concluded within thirty (30) days from the date of the complaint. The complainant and the accused should be kept apprised of the progress of the investigation as well as the ultimate outcome.

The University will make every effort to accommodate parties who are unable to participate in a formal investigation because of physical incapacity or geographical location.

Complaint Handling Guidelines. The University will issue and make available to persons entrusted with administering this policy and other interested parties appropriate complaint-handling guidelines, consistent with this policy. All guidelines shall be reviewed and approved by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the General Counsel. These guidelines shall be issued within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this policy.

Revisions. This policy and these procedures are subject to revision as determined necessary or desirable in view of experience or changes in the law.