New policy in place for reporting discrimination and harassment

Fall campus scene

The start of fall term brings a lot of change this year, including a new policy for reporting discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

The new prohibited discrimination and retaliation policy combines many of the components of the university’s former discrimination complaint and response policy and the student sexual and gender-based harassment and violence complaint response policy. The new policy consolidates employee reporting obligations, captures recent changes to Title IX and more expressly prohibits retaliation against those who file a formal complaint.

It also establishes one set of definitions and prohibited conduct for all campus community members.

“The goal of this new policy is to remove confusion for employees and students when it comes to reporting responsibilities,” said Nicole Commissiong, the UO’s chief civil rights officer and Title IX coordinator. “Having one policy allows us to direct the university community to a single location to understand employee reporting obligations and to find resources and support.”

The most noticeable change, in addition to creating a single policy,  is a title change for one of the reporting categories defined in the policy. The former “student-directed employee” designation has been replaced with a new “assisting employee” designation. Under the new policy, employees may keep disclosures by students and employees private for all protected statuses such as race, gender or age. However, employees are expected to explicitly ask the person making the disclosure whether they want to file a report.

The policy retains the two additional designations for “designated reporters” and “confidential employees.” Descriptions of the responsibilities for each designation, including supervisor reporting responsibilities, are included on the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance website.

A training about the policy and reporting responsibilities is available for employees through MyTrack. The investigations office will also be hosting several Q&A sessions to answer questions and help employees understand the new policy and their obligations. The sessions will be held Sept. 29, 2-3 p.m.; Oct. 22, 11-noon; and Nov. 8, 3-4 p.m. Employees can sign up through MyTrack.

Understanding the policy and meeting reporting responsibilities is critical to demonstrating the university’s strong commitment to campus safety and providing a respectful and inclusive learning environment for students, faculty and staff. The new policy was developed by a committee of students, faculty members and staff, and several university stakeholder groups provided input during the policy approval process.

Questions about reporting obligations can also be sent to icrcinfo@uoregon.edu. The prohibited discrimination and retaliation policy can be found in the UO Policy Library.

—By Jesse Summers, University Communications