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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Discrimination and Harassment

Who may make a complaint of discrimination or harassment?

Any member of the UK community may report complaints of harassment or discrimination.  Examples of members of the UK community include faculty, staff, students, vendors, customers, fans, visitors, patients, etc.

Can I anonymously report discrimination and harassment?

Because allegations of discrimination and harassment are considered serious and could result in corrective action, anonymity is not permitted. However, the privacy of persons who make complaints of harassment will be respected and discretion is exercised. Disciplinary action may not occur based on an anonymous complaint.

Allegations of sexual harassment that fall within AR 6:2 Policy and Procedures for Addressing and Resolving Allegations of Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Domestic Violence may be made anonymously although doing so limits the University's ability to investigate and determine an appropriate response.  

What should I do if I feel I have been discriminated against?

Any member of the University community who believes they have experienced any form of discrimination may seek information and advice by contacting the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. Anyone experiencing discrimination at the University of Kentucky is encouraged to file a complaint.

How do I file a complaint?

Individuals who have experienced any form of discrimination or harassment may initiate a complaint by contacting the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. At that time every effort is made to address a complainant's concerns some of which may include; personal safety, workplace climate, retaliation, counseling needs, etc. Each situation is unique and must be addressed as such. The Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity is responsible for providing information, advice, and prompt and equitable resolution to discrimination complaints.

A complaint may also be initiated by talking to any dean, director, department head, manager, supervisor, faculty member, or other person with supervisory responsibility at the University, who will help resolve the matter and contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity.

Must sexual harassment and other discrimination complaints be made in writing?

No. Complaints may be made by speaking to a representative in the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. However, a staff member in the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity may request that you prepare a written statement setting forth the particulars of the complaint.

If an investigation ensues, representatives of the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity will document statements from individuals. Upon concluding interviews, parties may be asked to review notes and verify the accuracy of their statements.

Are discrimination and harassment complaints kept confidential?

It is not possible to guarantee absolute confidentiality or anonymity. The privacy of persons who make complaints is respected and discretion is exercised. The privacy of each party involved in an investigation, complaint or charge is observed, to the extent it does not interfere with UK's ability to investigate the allegations or take corrective action. Due process requires that the alleged harasser know the allegations, know who made them, be allowed to respond to the charges and offer a defense before any disciplinary action occurs.

What can I expect if I make a complaint of harassment?

The University takes complaints seriously and works to investigate promptly and fairly. Complaints of sexual harassment that fall within AR 6:1 are resolved as follows. By reporting the incident and requesting that action be taken, you are asking the University to initiate an investigation. During the investigation of a complaint, due process is observed. Reasonable efforts will be made to interview the alleged victim, the respondent, and any other persons believed to have pertinent factual knowledge. At all times during the course of the investigation and thereafter, steps will be taken to ensure confidentiality to the extent possible. Upon completing the investigation, recommendations to the appropriate administrative official(s) will be made. If there is evidence to suggest that the policy regarding sexual harassment has been violated, disciplinary action up to and including dismissal may be recommended.

To learn about how complaints that fall within AR 6:2 (Sexual Misconduct) are resolved click here. (link Title IX FAQ's)

How does UK determine what is a hostile environment?

A hostile environment exists when unwelcome behavior is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the condition of the work or learning environment. The conduct in question is evaluated from the objective standpoint of a reasonable person in similar or like circumstances.  The same evaluation is used to assess allegations in employment and academic settings. 

Many factors are taken into account when determining whether behavior has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. Every situation is unique and must be evaluated as such. Consequently, the circumstances as a whole are weighed to conclude whether a hostile environment exists. Consideration must be given to the frequency of the conduct, its severity and the context in which the alleged behavior occurred.

How does the University determine if harassment has occurred?

In determining whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment in violation of AR 6:1, University officials look at the record as a whole and at the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual behavior and the context in which the incident(s) occurred. A determination must be made from the facts on a case by case basis.

To learn more about how allegations of behavior that violates AR 6:2 are resolved, see the Title IX FAQ's. (link) 

How does the University determine if other forms of discrimination or harassment occurred? 

Findings of harassment and other forms of discrimination depend upon the nature, frequency, and severity of the alleged conduct and the context in which the alleged conduct occurred. All facts regarding the complaint will be examined to determine if different treatment resulted or whether the totality of the circumstances of the discrimination created a hostile or offensive environment.

Is there a time limit in filing a complaint of discrimination?

There is no time limit for bringing a complaint of discrimination; however it may be difficult to substantiate any allegations after significant time has passed. Therefore, prompt reporting of complaints is strongly encouraged.

What if I am treated badly for making a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation?

Each member of the University community has the right at any time to raise the issue of discrimination and make a good faith complaint without fear of reprisal. Retaliation is strictly prohibited by university regulation and is a serious offense. Retaliation may be found to exist even in the absence of a finding of discrimination.

Every effort is made to prevent retaliation directed at a person who has filed a complaint or participated in an investigation. If a person is found to have engaged in or attempted any form of retaliation, they will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion, even in the absence of a discrimination finding.

What will happen to a person who is determined to be responsible for discrimination?

Any member of the University community who engages in any form of discrimination shall be subject to disciplinary action and appropriate sanctions up to and including termination or expulsion.

Can I bring a friend or someone I trust with me when making a report of discrimination or harassment?

Yes, a complainant may choose an individual to accompany them at any time during the process. 

In allegations of sexual misconduct, complainants and respondents may each bring 2 individuals with them in any or all stages of the process. 

What should be done if I witnessed or heard about discriminatory behavior involving another person?

Each dean, director, department head, manager, supervisor, faculty member, or other person with supervisory responsibility is required to help resolve matters regarding possible discrimination by contacting the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity for assistance. Other members of the UK community who become aware of allegations of discrimination should encourage the aggrieved individual to report the alleged discrimination to the appropriate official above, or to the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. All members of the UK community are required to cooperate in the investigation of discrimination complaints.

What should I do if I feel I have experienced some form of discrimination?

Acts of discrimination or harassment inhibit members of the university community from productively fulfilling their charge at the University of Kentucky. If you feel that you have been harassed or discriminated against, contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity at 257-8927 for information and assistance.

 

Sexual Misconduct  (Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Domestic Violence)

How can I learn about the University's policy for handling matters of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct and other related conduct?

For general information regarding our policy and procedures related to sex discrimination and sexual misconduct, see Policy and Procedures for Addressing and Resolving Allegations of Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Domestic Violence.  For specific questions and guidance contact the Title IX Coordinator, Patty Bender, Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity at 13 Main Building,  or by calling 859-257-8927, or by email

What is sexual misconduct?

Sexual misconduct is a blanket term for forms of severe sexual harassment defined in  Administrative Regulation 6:2.  Conduct prohibited by AR 6:2 include sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.  For more information see Administrative Regulation 6:2 Policy on Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Domestic Violence.

Can I file a sexual misconduct complaint with the University against a student or employee?

Yes. If you believe any member of the University community has engaged in sex based discrimination or harassment, including sexual misconduct, you are encouraged to report the matter to the University so that it can be pursued as a disciplinary case.  Please be aware that all University employees are required to share reports they receive from students with the Title IX Coordinator.  We encourage open communication between faculty, staff, and students, but to ensure the safety of all students employees do have to share reports regarding sexual misconduct with the Title IX Coordinator.   If you would like to make a confidential report, University resources for that can be found here.

For more information about filing a complaint, see Administrative Regulation 6:2 Policy on Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Domestic Violence, Section 111: Initiating a Complaint and Investigation Process.

Who do I contact if I am considering filing a complaint or report of sexual misconduct?

Contact the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP) to confidentially discuss filing a complaint.  To make a complaint, contact the Title IX Coordinator, Patty Bender, or Deputy Title IX Compliance Officer, Martha Alexander, at 859-257-8927 for Investigations. 

If you discuss filing a complaint with any University employee outside of the VIP Center, Counseling Center and University Health Services that employee is obligated to share your complaint wit the Title IX Coordinator. 

Will information about alleged sexual misconduct be confidential?

The University will always use discretion to protect the privacy of individuals who are involved in alleged incidents of sexual misconduct or other types of sex discrimination. The University cannot guarantee confidentiality when conducting investigations but does maintain privacy. 

There are confidential resources available to University community members who can maintain confidentiality.

Who can I speak with confidentially?

The University has 3 offices on campus with which community members can speak and access resources confidentially.  Staff at these 2 offices do not have any obligation to share a report with the Title IX Coordinator unless the affected individual asks them to.

Community members may make confidential reports and access University resources through the following offices:

  1. Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP)
  2. University Counseling Center
  3. University Health Services

What if I want to remain anonymous?

Anonymous reporting may limit the University's ability to conduct an investigation.

If the complainant’s identity is made known to the University, but the complainant asks to remain anonymous during the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will consider how to proceed.  The Title IX Coordinator will take into account the complainant’s articulated concerns; the best interests of the University community; fair treatment of all individuals involved, including the respondent’s right to have specific notice of the allegations if the University were to take action that affects the respondent; and the University’s obligations under Title IX.  

Is there a "statute of limitations" on filing a complaint of sexual misconduct?

No, you may report a concern at any time. However, we encouraged reporting as soon as possible because matters can be investigated more effectively when less time has passed between the event and the report.  Additionally, if the alleged perpetrator is no longer a student by the time the report is made, the University may not be able to take disciplinary action against that person.  In all cases the University will still endeavor to provide the complainant with support and service, put a stop to any ongoing misconduct, and address the effects of the misconduct.

May I file a criminal complaint against a student?

Yes. You may do so by contacting the University's Police Department (located on campus at 305 Euclid Avenue) by calling 859-257-8573. You may also contact the Lexington Police Department by calling 911. The University of Kentucky Police Department is available to explain the process to you (e.g., the importance of preserving physical evidence), and to assist you in filing a criminal complaint. 

The criminal process is separate and distinct from the University's disciplinary process. You may use one or both processes. If you have filed a complaint with the University, the University's disciplinary process will proceed whether or not a criminal complaint is also filed, and without regard to the outcome of the criminal process. 

What will happen if I file a complaint with the University alleging sexual misconduct by a student? 

The complaining party (the complainant) has control over what action the University takes on a complaint of sexual misconduct unless the Title IX Coordinator determines the safety of the University community as a whole would be compromised if the University does not engage in a disciplinary process.

All parties to the investigative process are protected from retaliation.

What is the investigation process like? 

The investigative process differs depending on the complainants desired outcome and the complexity of the allegations.  Typically the investigation consists of interviews with complainant, respondent, witnesses, and review of documents provided by those involved in the investigation.  Interim remedies and measures may be provided as necessary to both complainant and respondent.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator reviews the information collected, determines whether the information provided is enough to support a finding the policy has been violated, and provides the Title IX Coordinator with a report and recommended action.  The Title IX Coordinator reviews the report and, if the recommendation is to hold a hearing, drafts recommended sanctions for the respondent.

The investigator contact the parties, and informs them separately, during a pre-hearing meeting the outcome of the investigation and the Title IX recommended sanction.  The respondent has 3 business days to accept the recommendation sanction, forgo a hearing, and waive their rights to appeal.  The respondent may also accept the finding, reject the recommended sanction, and request a hearing on an appropriate sanction only.  Doing so waives the right to appeal and the factual findings of the investigation.

The investigation process concludes with respondent accepts or rejects the sanction and the hearing/sanctioning phase begins.

May I bring an adviser to the interview or other meetings?

The complainant and the respondent may each bring 2 support individuals of their choice to any interview or meeting connected with the disciplinary process; however, the adviser may not actively participate in interviews. Witnesses may not bring advisers. 

If I am a party (complainant or respondent), may I discuss the case with other people?

Yes. You are encouraged to seek support from a confidential resource and to discuss the case with an adviser of your choosing (who may accompany you to interviews and other related meetings, but may not participate in the interview process).

Remember the investigator will consider interviewing any witness you would like them to interview, and will consider collecting any information you feel is necessary.  It is therefore unnecessary for you to directly contact witnesses yourself.  Furthermore, you are discouraged from contacting witnesses directly, because doing so may undermine the integrity of the investigation, and may give rise to the real or perceived experience of retaliation which is also a serious violation of University policy.  Instead, provide witness names to the investigator and inform them of any question you would like the witness to be asked.  

Who decides whether a student violated the policy against sexual misconduct? How is this decision made?

Three members of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel (SMHP) determines after a hearing whether by preponderance of the evidence (i.e. more likely than not) the alleged behavior violates  AR 6:2.

The membership of the SMHP for any hearing is randomly selected by the hearing officers.  Hearing officers are selected from a pool of individuals with legal training by the Title IX Coordinator based on availability.  Both respondent and complainant have the ability to challenge the members of the SMHP.

Additional information regarding pre-hearing and hearing procedures can be found in AR 6:2.

What if a student may have violated a University policy other than sexual misconduct?

The SMHB addresses only violations of AR 6:2.  After that hearing, the Dean of Students Office will adjudicate all other policy violations.

If the panel finds a student responsible, who determines the penalty and how?

The SMHP reconvenes to consider impact statements from complainant and respondent, then adjourns to determine an appropriate sanction.

What is the range of possible penalties?

AR 6:2 includes a recommended range of sanctions to include:

 

Recommended Range of Sanctions (Students)

Recommended Range of Sanctions (Employees)

Sexual Assault

Suspension, Dismissal, Revocation of Admission and/or Degree

Suspension, Termination

Dating Violence or Domestic Violence

Disciplinary Probation, Counseling Assessment, Social Restrictions, Social Suspension, Suspension, Dismissal, Revocation of Admission and/or Degree

Probation, Counseling Assessment, Suspension, Termination

Stalking

Disciplinary Probation, Counseling Assessment, Social Restrictions, Social Suspension, Suspension, Dismissal, Revocation of Admission and/or Degree

Probation, Written Warning, Counseling Assessment, Suspension, Termination

The hearing panel may also recommend additional sanctions not specifically listed above when appropriate.  The Dean of Students (students), Human Resources (employees), and Faculty Advancement (faculty) may alter a recommended sanction, provided the sanction implemented is within those listed above. 

Who will be informed of the decision? When? How?

Immediately following the resolution of the case, the complainant and respondent will each be informed of the decision in writing. Notification will be made separately but simultaneously. 

Who can appeal the decision? How does the appeal process work?

Both the complainant and the respondent are entitled to participate equally in the appeal process. Information regarding the appeals process can be found in AR 6:2.

How long will the whole disciplinary process take?

Every effort will be made to complete the investigation, adjudication, and (as necessary) sanctioning within 60 calendar days after receipt of the complaint or report. 

Both parties will be kept informed of the progress of the investigation at regular intervals.

What if the complainant or respondent is a third party?

Third parties (parties who are not current University of Kentucky students, faculty, or staff members) are both protected by and subject to the University’s policy on Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct.  . 

If a third party complainant wishes to make a complaint or report of a violation of this policy committed by a student, they should contact the Title IX Coordinator.  Such complainants will be bound by the terms of the policy, including making themselves available for meetings with University officials and meeting deadlines set by the panel.  Both third party complainants and third party respondents will be required to abide by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibits improper disclosure or redisclosure of confidential student information. 

In cases involving 3rd party respondents, the University may be limited in its ability to respond.  However, the University will always attempt to stop the harassment, remedy its affects, and prevent its recurrence.

What if a complaint is made during summer break?

The investigation process will proceed even if the University is not in session and students are not on campus. 

What if a complainant changes their mind and decides they do not want the matter investigated or adjudicated?

If the complainant wants the University’s investigation or adjudication to stop, the complainant should convey this request to the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Coordinator will consider the complainant’s articulated concerns; the best interests of the University community; fair treatment of all individuals involved, including the respondent’s right to have specific notice of the allegations if the University were to take action that affects the respondent; and the University’s obligations under Title IX.  Generally, the University has an obligation to make reasonable efforts to investigate and address complaints or reports of sex or gender discrimination, including sexual misconduct, whenever it becomes aware of such a complaint or report.  In certain cases, the Title IX Coordinator may ask the investigator to proceed with the investigation/adjudication even if the complainant would prefer otherwise.  

What are the complainant and respondent's rights and opportunities throughout the process?

Both the complaining witness and the respondent have the right:

  1. To be treated with respect by University officials;
  2. To take advantage of campus support resources;
  3. To experience a safe living, educational, and work environment;
  4. To have up to two (2) support persons present during meetings and hearings;
  5. To refuse to have an allegation resolved through conflict resolution procedures;
  6. To receive amnesty for certain student misconduct, such as alcohol or drug violations, that occurred ancillary to the incident;
  7. To be free from retaliation for reporting violations of this policy or cooperating with an investigation;
  8. To have complaints heard in accord with University procedures;
  9. To be informed in writing of the outcome/resolution of the complaint, sanctions where permissible, and the rationale for the outcome where permissible;
  10. To have minimal interaction or contact with the responding party or complaining party; and
  11. To request interim remedies from the University to ensure minimal interaction or contact with the responding or complaining party.

What resources and accommodations may be available to a complainant?

The Title IX coordinator is available to discuss resources and accommodations that may be helpful to the complainant during the investigative process. The complainant is strongly advised to use the services of the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP), the University Counseling Center and University Health Services.  The complainant should contact the University of Kentucky Police Department with any questions about safety and security measures or if the complaint believes they may have been the victim of a crime.

There are a number of interim measures available to complainants on an as needed basis.  These measures may be obtained by speaking with a confidential resource or the Title IX Coordinator.

Additional resources may be found here. (Hyperlink to Resource Page)

What resources and accommodations may be available to a respondent?

The respondent is advised to work with confidential resources and to contact University of Kentucky Police Department with questions about safety/security measures.  There are a number of interim measures available on an as needed basis.  These measures may be obtained through confidential resources or the Title IX Coordinator. 

Additional resources maybe found here.

What resources are available on campus for those affected by sexual misconduct?

Emergency Resources and Law Enforcement:

Emergency medical assistance and campus safety/law enforcement assistance are available both on and off campus.  Individuals are encouraged to contact law enforcement and seek medical treatment as soon as possible following an incident that poses a threat to safety or physical well-being or following a potential criminal offense. Local law enforcement agencies:

University of Kentucky Police Department
305 Euclid Avenue
Lexington, KY 40508-3015
(859) 257-UKPD (8573)
Free Cell Phone Call: #UKPD (#8573)
859-257-SAFE (7233)

Lexington Metro Police Department
150 E. Main Street
Lexington, KY 40507
(859) 258-3600
911 (Emergencies)

Confidential Resources:

Information shared with the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP), The University Counseling Center and University Health Services will only be disclosed to the Title IX Coordinator or any other person with the individual’s permission, unless there is an imminent threat of serious harm to the individual or to others, or a legal obligation to reveal such information (e.g., if there is suspected abuse or neglect of a minor).

The University’s Violence, Intervention and Prevention office is a confidential resource offering support and advocacy services. Individuals are encouraged to access support services and learn about their options by contacting VIP. The VIP office can provide information about the roles and reporting obligations of other offices at the University in order to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their options. 

Campus Confidential Resources include:

VIP Center
1 Frazee Hall
Administrative Drive
Lexington, KY 40506-0031
(859) 257-3574
vipcenter@uky.edu

University Counseling Center
106 Frazee Hall
Administrative Drive
Lexington, KY 40506-0031
(859) 257-8701

University Health Services
830 S. Limestone
Lexington, KY 40536
(859) 323-APPT (2778)

Other campus and community resources may be found here. (link to resources page)

 

ADA

Where can I file an ADA Reasonable Accommodation Form? 

For University Students

If you are a UK student and need reasonable accommodation, you should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Associate Dean of Students and Director, David Beach and the DRC staff are available to answer questions, review medical documentation, and arrange services for all qualified students admitted to the University of Kentucky.

Disability Resource Center
725 Rose Street, Multidisciplinary Science Building, Suite 407
Lexington, KY 40536-0082
(859) 257-2754

For University Employees

If you are a qualified UK Faculty member or staff employee with a disability you may request reasonable accommodation from your supervisor, chair, dean, or the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity by completing a Reasonable Accommodation Form. The form can also be found under ADA Accommodation Request Form on the UK Forms Page. You may also contact the office at

Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity
13 Main Building
Lexington, KY 40506-0032
(859) 257-8927

Applicants for Employment:

If you are interested in employment opportunities at the University of Kentucky and require reasonable accommodation during the application process, contact Human Resources at (859) 257-9555.

Additional FAQ's can be found on the American's with Disabilities webpage at Americans with Disabilities Act Questions and Answers