Administrative Services

Policy on Discrimination Complaint Procedures

File Code: PRES.DISCRIM.POL
Approval Date: 07/1997
Revised: 04/12/06, 02/06/09, 09/30/14, 08/01/16
Approved By: President

Western Illinois University has established the following complaint procedures to demonstrate its commitment to non-discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and any other classes protected by state or federal law. These procedures also fulfill obligations established by laws, statutes, and other non-discrimination guidance. Members of the University community who believe they have been discriminated against on any of these bases may file a complaint under these procedures.

The consideration of a complaint, including the investigation, attempts at informal resolution, and the formulation of a final decision will ordinarily be completed within 60 calendar days, inclusive of holidays, after receipt of a complaint. If consideration cannot be completed in the 60-day interval, the complainant, respondent, and other parties as appropriate will be notified, in writing, as to the delay.

If action is proposed as a result of a finding of discrimination, procedures required under relevant collective bargaining agreements, Board Regulations, or the State Universities Civil Service Statute and Rules will apply.

The following steps will be taken to resolve complaints filed under these procedures:

  1. Complainants must file a written statement outlining the nature of the complaint, naming the respondent(s), and indicating the remedy sought.
  2. The complainant will be interviewed by the Investigating Officer (investigator), at which time all materials provided by the complainant will be reviewed. Following this interview, the investigator will evaluate the complaint (including materials submitted) to determine if the allegation warrants further investigation under these procedures. If it is determined that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation, the complainant will be notified in writing.
  3. If it is determined that the complaint justifies further investigation, the Investigating Officer will send notice to the individual(s) named as respondent(s) in the complaint. The respondent(s) will be required to submit a written response within five (5) calendar days, and an interview will be conducted by the investigator to review their response to the complaint.
  4. If needed, the investigator will conduct additional interviews with the complainant, respondent, or other individuals deemed appropriate to obtain additional information related to the charge.
  5. Where there are conflicts of information or opinion, except in cases of sexual misconduct, the investigator may elect to conduct an informational meeting including both parties. The complainant and respondent will receive at least three (3) calendar days’ notice of this meeting.
  6. After notifying the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, either party may bring a person to serve in a supportive/observer role.

    Those employees covered under collective bargaining agreements have the right to utilize a union representative as a support person; however, it is the employee’s responsibility to affirmatively make such a request from their union.
  7. When all the information has been reviewed, an Investigative Report will be prepared by the investigator.
    1. If the respondent is a student and there is sufficient evidence to move forward, Student Judicial Programs will be notified and will determine charges to be filed pursuant to the Code of Student Conduct.

      Parties will be notified and a hearing will be convened to determine whether the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy or any other Codes of Student Conduct have been violated based on an evaluation of the totality of the record, using a preponderance of the evidence standard. The finding will be provided to both parties in writing.
    2. If the Respondent is an employee the report will include a finding of whether the University's Non-Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct policies have been violated based on an evaluation of the totality of the record, using a preponderance of the evidence standard. The finding will be provided to both parties in writing.
  8. If it is determined that a Code of Student Conduct or policy violation has not occurred, no further action will be taken, unless it is determined that the party (parties) would benefit from further education and/or awareness training. Either party in a complaint involving a student respondent may appeal the outcome to the Vice President for Student Services. Either party in complaint involving an Employee Respondent may appeal the finding to the University President.
  9. If it is determined that a violation of either the Code of Student Conduct, or University Non-Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct & Gender Non-Discrimination policies has occurred:
    1. If the respondent to the complaint is a student a hearing board will list their recommended findings of fact, sanctions, and rationale for the sanctions which will be included in the official record of the hearing. The board will consider the past disciplinary record of the charged student only after a finding of violation has been determined. The entire record will be forwarded to the Associate Vice President for Student Services.
    2. The Associate Vice President for Student Services will, within a reasonable length of time after receiving the judicial board’s recommendation, render a decision in the disciplinary matter and notify both the respondent and complainant. Such notification will be in writing and include the findings of fact, sanction(s), and rationale for determinations.
    3. Either party of a complaint involving a student respondent may appeal the finding to the Vice President for Student Services. Appeals must be filed within 5 calendar days of written decision. Appeals will be limited to a review of the record of the judicial board hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:
      1. To determine whether the judicial board hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complaining party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present information that the Code of Student Conduct had been violated, and giving the accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present a response to those allegations. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.
      2. To determine whether the decision reached regarding the accused student was based on substantial information; that is, whether there were facts in the case that, if believed by the fact finder, were sufficient to establish that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct occurred.
      3. To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Code of Student Conduct which the accused student was found to have committed.
      4. To consider new information sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original judicial board hearing.
    4. If the respondent to the complaint is classified as Faculty or Administrative/Professional staff, the investigator will meet with the appropriate Vice President, and other relevant supervisory personnel to review the Investigative Report. The Vice President will determine what appropriate action will be taken. The Vice President will inform the respondent and complainant of action to be taken and provide a copy of the correspondence to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. If the respondent is a member of a bargaining unit, action will be taken in accordance with the appropriate collective bargaining agreement.
    5. If the respondent to the complaint is classified as Civil Service, the investigator will meet with the appropriate Vice President, the Human Resources Director, and relevant supervisory personnel to review the Investigative Report. The Human Resources Director, in consultation with the Vice President, will determine the appropriate action to be taken. The Human Resources Director will inform the respondent of action to be taken and provide a copy of the correspondence to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. If the respondent is a member of a bargaining unit, action will be taken in accordance with the appropriate collective bargaining contract.
  10. Either party of a complaint involving an employee respondent may appeal the finding to the President. Appeals must be filed within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the finding and must be based on one or both of the following circumstances:
    1. Procedural error; or
    2. New and material evidence exists that was previously unavailable to the party (despite due diligence) at the time of investigation.
  11. The President or his/her designee may request additional information if he/she believes such information would aid in the consideration of the appeal. A decision will be made within a reasonable time and the Office of Equal Opportunity, the appropriate administrator, complainant, and the respondent will be notified of the decision. The President's decision is final.