Complaint Resolution Process
The University of Kansas is committed to resolving complaints in a timely and effective manner and providing prompt corrective action if a violation of university policy is believed to have occurred.
The complaint resolution process is intended to provide effective resolution for complaints of sexual misconduct, harassment (sexual and racial/ethnic) and discrimination based on religion, color, sex (including pregnancy), disability, national origin, ancestry, age, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity and gender expression.
Complainant — The person alleging harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and/or retaliation.
Respondent — The person alleged to have engaged in behavior that is harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and/or retaliation.
Who May Use the University Complaint Procedures?
Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a prohibited practice at the university may use this procedure. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Current students, faculty and staff.
- Individuals applying for enrollment or employment with the university.
- Individuals with visiting appointments.
- Other persons receiving university services or participating in university programs.
Affected persons may use the process to address complaints of related to university hiring and selection procedures, employment practices, conditions of employment, personnel actions, or university educational programs and activities.
A person in the university community may ask that the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX initiate an investigation of a specific matter. Our office may also initiate an investigation when we has reason to believe that discriminatory or retaliatory action is occurring.
Who Must Report Discriminatory Actions?
All employees at the University of Kansas are required to report incidents of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual violence, of which they know or have reason to believe, may have occurred (see exceptions below). For example, if a student shares information about discrimination or sexual harassment, including sexual violence, with a faculty or staff member, the faculty or staff member must report the information to the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX.
Exemptions from the reporting obligation outlined above are:
- Health care providers and pastoral and professional counselors while acting in their official capacity.
- The CARE Coordinator, who is the employee designated to provide information about reporting options on a confidential basis.
- The University Ombuds and Faculty Ombuds.
- Faculty or Graduate Students who receive information about discrimination or sexual harassment, including sexual violence, while engaged in legitimate research practices towards publication or dissertation.
- Information obtained in the course of administering a KU approved climate study.
Employees who are exempt from reporting to the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX still have an obligation to exercise reasonable care to protect a foreseeable victim from danger and to make reports mandated by law. In addition, employees who are exempt from reporting requirements shall encourage individuals to report discrimination or sexual harassment, including sexual violence, to the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX and other appropriate authorities.
Role of the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX
The Office of Civil Rights & Title IX is a neutral fact finder conducting investigations in response to allegations of discrimination and harassment. Our staff will investigate allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and discrimination. At the conclusion of an investigation, the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX will make a determination of whether there has been a violation of university policy based on a preponderance of the evidence standard and make appropriate recommendations for resolution of the complaint.
Complaint Resolution Actions and Procedures
The process for resolving discrimination complaints may include some or all of the following actions:
- Informal inquiry and discussion.
- Mediation (except in cases of sexual misconduct and sexual violence).
- Disciplinary action, or other appropriate action.
If the subject matter or issue of the complaint does not fall within the jurisdiction of university policy, our staff will advise the complainant of other available procedures.
If the complainant is comfortable doing so, the complainant may bring the concerns to the attention of the person responsible for the behavior or action. In many cases, respondents will take appropriate corrective action when they are made aware of how their actions or behaviors are being perceived.
Support Resources and Protective Measures
Any experience with sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination or retaliation is difficult. The Office of Civil Rights & Title IX can refer individuals to on-campus and community resources to help support and assist them.
Our office also can provide a variety of support and protective measures to assist complainants and prevent them from harm. These support services are available regardless of whether the complainant decides to file a complaint with our office or a criminal complaint with law enforcement. Examples of support measures include, but are not limited to, contact restrictions placed on the parties, academic accommodations, alternative housing placements, alternative work schedules/locations, course schedule changes, legal assistance referrals, student financial aid assistance, health and mental health support, visa and immigration assistance, and course withdrawal/load reductions.
Extensions of Time
The Office of Civil Rights & Title IX will make every reasonable attempt to adhere to the time limits set forth in these procedures. However, there are circumstances that may necessitate an extension of time. Therefore, the Director of Office of Civil Rights & Title IX may extend the time limits set forth in these procedures.
Retaliation against persons who file complaints or persons who participate in an investigation of a complaint, whether by an individual directly involved or by associates of the individual involved, is a violation of law and university policy. Complainants who use these procedures or persons who participate in an investigation of a complaint must not be subjected to retaliation.
Retaliation may take the form of unwanted personal contact from the respondent or giving additional assignments that are not assigned to others in similar situations, poor grades or unreasonable course assignments. Phone calls, e-mail or other attempts to discuss the complaint may be perceived as retaliation under certain circumstances. Disciplinary action, harassment, unsupported evaluations, or other adverse changes in the conditions of employment or the educational environment may also constitute retaliation.
Retaliation will not be tolerated and could result in suspension, reassignment, salary reduction, termination, expulsion or other disciplinary action.
Abuse of the Complaint Resolution Process
The university takes all complaints seriously. However, knowingly filing a false complaint is considered serious misconduct and is subject to sanction. An individual who establishes a pattern of repeatedly filing frivolous complaints that harass colleagues and/or abuse the complaint resolution process may lose the right to file complaints for a specified period of time. Such cases shall be treated in accordance with the provisions of University Senate Rules and Regulations section 6.5.4, Abuse of Grievance Process.
State and Federal Reporting of Discrimination
In addition to filing a complaint with KU's Office of Civil Rights & Title IX, those who experience discrimination, harassment or retaliation are encouraged to also pursue other options, including contacting law enforcement and state and federal agencies.
- Employees may file employment discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Kansas Human Rights Commission.
- Students may file discrimination complaints through the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education or the Kansas Human Rights Commission.
The Office of Civil Rights & Title IX can provide information about deadlines and filing procedures for state and federal agencies.