Discrimination and Harassment
In an effort to foster an environment of respect for the dignity and worth or all members of the University community, the University of Kentucky is committed to maintaining an environment free of prohibited discrimination. Any member of the University of Kentucky community who believes they have experienced discrimination, harassment, or retaliation may bring their concerns to the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity (IEEO). A staff member of IEEO is available to provide information of the investigative and resolution process.
The Role of the Office for Institutional Equity in Responding to Reports and Complaints of Discrimination
The Office for Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity is responsible for upholding the University’s commitment to equal opportunity for all members of the University’s community in academic programs, research, service, and employment. OIEEO’s function is to determine whether University policies or procedures regarding discrimination and harassment have been followed. If policy violations are found, the office works to remedy the situation and relieve the complainant of the burden forced on them by the inappropriate behavior.
IEEO provides timely, sensitive, and discreet responses to complaints and reports of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. IEEO investigates complaints and reports thoroughly and impartially and works with University officials to arrive at an appropriate and equitable resolution.
Discrimination and Harassment Resolution Goals
- Provide timely, sensitive, and discreet responses to complaints and reports of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation.
- Investigate complaints and reports of discrimination thoroughly and impartially. Address problematic behavior through appropriate and equitable resolution.
- Work to improve the University's response to reports and complaints of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and retaliation.
Procedures for Allegations of Discrimination, Harassment and/or Retaliation
A complaint of discrimination or harassment should be filed as soon as possible after the alleged discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory action. A complaint of discrimination or harassment may be initiated by contacting any dean, director, faculty member, department head, manager, supervisor, or other individual with supervisory or administrative responsibility. Any such individual who receives a complaint of discrimination or harassment shall report that to the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. Once the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity Office receive the complaint an investigation will begin immediately.
After reviewing the initial report, departmental administrative authorities are notified so suitable arrangements can be made for interviews with the complainant, respondent, and witnesses that are necessary to the investigation.
In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes harassment, the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances will be considered. This means the nature of the alleged conduct and the context in which the alleged conduct occurred will be examined and evaluated to determine whether the totality of the evidence created a violation of University policy.
If necessary, informal mediation may be recommended but not required for complaints to be fully processed. Mediation is not an option if the alleged conduct consitutes sexual assault.
All parties involved in the investigation will be informed retaliation is prohibited against anyone making or participating in the investigation of a complaint. If retaliation is found to have occurred, that may be grounds for immediate termination or expulsion even in the absence of a finding of discrimination.
The investigation shall be completed in a timely manner after filing the complaint. The investigation period will vary as necessary for an equitable resolution of the situation.
Findings and Resolution
After all interviews are complete the information is reviewed to determine whether AR 6:1: Discrimination and Harassment Policy has been violated. If the policy was violated, individual circumstances, including the severity of the violation, will influence the corrective action recommended by the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity to the department.
Notification of the outcome of the complaint and the basis for the decision will be given to the parties involved in the investigation either orally or in writing. All parties involved in the investigation are informed that information regarding the complaint, its investigation and its disposition is to be kept private. The University will maintain the complainant’s privacy to the extent possible within the law. The Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity will recommend the University take steps to prevent further harassment and to correct its effects, if appropriate.
The IEEO strives to complete investigations in a timely manner. However, the time required to complete the investigation will vary depending upon the individual circumstances of each complaint, as well as the nature and sufficiency of the information provided to the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. The IEEO recognizes harassment and discrimination is an interruption to the work and academic environment and until there is a resolution work performance and production may be impacted. Thus, the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity makes every effort to complete an investigation in a timely manner.
The University of Kentucky requests that all internal resources be exhausted before using external resources; however, at any time a complaint may be filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Department of Labor, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Once a complaint has been with made with an external agency the Office of Institutional Equity will work directly with the agency to come to a resolution.