All students, faculty, and personnel are encouraged to report any incidents of bias, discrimination, or harassment so that UT Southwestern can take appropriate steps to maintain and improve the campus climate.
If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, we encourage you to immediately report your concern to the Office of Institutional Equity & Access. You will not be required to directly confront the person accused of misconduct. Where applicable, our office also provides you with the option to resolve your concern through an informal or formal resolution process. Questions regarding the complaint process can be addressed directly by OIEA staff by calling 214-648-4343 or by reviewing the policy ETH-151P-01 Equal Opportunity Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedure.
File a Report
Mandatory Reporting Obligations
Concerns of Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation (Not Involving Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct)
Every UT Southwestern official, administrator, or supervisor is responsible for promptly reporting to the Office of Institutional Equity & Access any known or suspected incidents of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation that come to their attention.
Employees who are not UT Southwestern officials, administrators, or supervisors are strongly encouraged to promptly report any known or suspected incidents of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation to the Office of Institutional Equity & Access.
Concerns of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct
All UT Southwestern employees must report all information known about incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, and stalking committed by or against a UTSW student or employee to a Title IX Coordinator. Confidential Employees must report only the type of incident to a Title IX Coordinator. Knowingly failing to report an incident as required could lead to termination of employment and possible criminal charges under state law. If you have questions about your reporting obligations, please contact a Title IX Coordinator.
Who Should File a Complaint?
Every campus community member is encouraged to report complaints alleging discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation on the basis of a protected class, and to seek a resolution through use of UT Southwestern’s internal policies and procedures. UTSW students, personnel, and faculty will not be penalized in any way for bringing complaints of discrimination or for participating in an investigation. To the extent possible, and in accordance with applicable law and UT Southwestern policy, discrimination and retaliation complaints will be treated as confidential.
What to Expect
- Making a Report
- Initial Assessment
The Division of Equal Opportunity reviews the complaint and assesses whether the facts describe an incident or situation that falls within our purview to investigate. Equal Opportunity may contact you to schedule an interview to discuss your complaint to make sure we have an accurate understanding of your concerns.
If your complaint raises allegations of discrimination based on a protected class, Equal Opportunity will either initiate a formal investigation or explore other ways to address your concerns, keeping your preferences in mind. If your complaint does not raise allegations of discrimination based on a protected class, Equal Opportunity may refer the matter to another, more appropriate department for further handling.
- Formal Investigation
During a formal investigation, the Division of Equal Opportunity will gather evidence to determine whether an individual has violated UT Southwestern policy prohibiting discrimination based on a protected class. This process may include interviewing the respondent and any witnesses, reviewing any relevant documents, or otherwise gathering information. Equal Opportunity’s factual findings and conclusions are provided to the relevant UT Southwestern faculty and/or personnel for any appropriate next steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is Protected
UT Southwestern is committed to providing equal opportunities to all members of the campus community and to maintaining an environment that is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In accordance with the Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations, UT System policy, and applicable federal and state law, no individual will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in UT Southwestern services, programs, and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, genetic information, protected veteran status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
- Who May File
Any person, including faculty, staff, students, and visitors, may report what they believe to be an act of discrimination or harassment to the Division of Equal Opportunity as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s). Any member of UT Southwestern can file a complaint against any other member of the community.
- When to File
Individuals wishing to report a concern or file a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment are encouraged to do so as soon as possible following the incident(s). Generally, the employment or academic concern is reviewed under ETH-151 if the complaint is made within 300 days of the occurrence (alleged wrongful act).
Complaints of discrimination and/or harassment are treated with the greatest degree of confidentiality possible, based on the factual allegations presented to our office. In all situations, confidentiality is maintained on a need-to-know basis; however, confidentiality can only be maintained insofar as it does not interfere with UT Southwestern’s obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct, follow applicable laws and regulations, and protect the safety and well-being of the greater campus community.
To file an anonymous complaint, you may call the Compliance Hotline at 877-507-7319. The Compliance Hotline is a 24/7 year-round confidential third-party reporting service. Calls can be made anonymously, or individuals may leave their name. Reports to the Hotline are forwarded to UT Southwestern to be promptly evaluated. Employees who choose to report anonymously via this method must retain a record of the report number demonstrating the employee made the report as required by state law. However, please be aware that electing to remain anonymous (and limiting the information you provide during the investigation) may greatly limit UT Southwestern’s ability to investigate an alleged incident, collect evidence and/or take effective action against individuals or organizations accused of violating this policy.
UT Southwestern prohibits retaliation against individuals who have opposed discriminatory/harassing conduct; participated in investigations; and/or requested accommodations. Retaliatory action is regarded as a basis for a separate complaint under UT Southwestern’s procedures. If you believe that you have been retaliated against for opposing discriminatory/harassing conduct, or for participating in a discrimination/harassment investigation, or for requesting reasonable accommodation or religious accommodation, you should contact the Division of Equal Opportunity.
- After the Investigation
In accordance with UTSW Policy ETH-151P-01, the Equal Opportunity investigator will prepare a final report that summarizes the investigation conducted, the facts presented, and the investigator’s findings and recommendations and will submit the report to the Director of Equal Opportunity. The Director of Equal Opportunity will submit a written decision to the complainant and respondent within 14 days of receipt of the investigator’s final report.
- Hostile Work/Learning Environment Defined
Per University Policy ETH-151P-01, a hostile environment exists when harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to deny educational opportunities, interfere with an individual’s work, or limit an individual’s ability to participate in UT Southwestern programs or activities. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a UT Southwestern program or activity (e.g., administrators, faculty members, employees, students, vendors, patients, and visitors). To conclude that conduct created or contributed to a hostile environment, the conduct must create an environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to a reasonable person. A single instance, if sufficiently severe, may be sufficient to create a hostile environment (e.g., sexual assault). Likewise, a series of incidents may be sufficient, even if the harassment is not particularly severe.
A determination of a hostile environment can only be made by the Division of Equal Opportunity following an appropriate investigation into the alleged misconduct.
- Off-Campus Incidents
The ability of the Equal Opportunity team to investigate an incident that occurs away from any UT Southwestern facility, program, or activity may be limited by the degree of control, if any, that UTSW has over the particular area/location where the incident occurred. However, if the incident involved a UT Southwestern employee who engaged in misconduct while conducting UTSW business or job duties, UT Southwestern will take action to address the concern regardless of where it occurred. As each concern contains unique allegations, please call the Division of Equal Opportunity for a consultation about your particular concern.
- Formal vs. Informal Complaints
As determined by the Office of Institutional Equity & Access, only certain concerns will be deemed eligible for an informal complaint process. When available, a complaining party may select whether to pursue an informal or formal complaint. If a complainant selects an informal complaint, he/she may later determine that a formal complaint is still desired because he/she did not receive the desired resolution to the concern (provided that the time to report the complaint is within the time limitations set out in the applicable policy).
You may not file a formal and informal complaint concurrently. The informal resolution process and the formal resolution process are not mutually exclusive, but each complaint process should be used in good faith. Generally, the filing of a formal complaint following the resolution of an informal complaint is appropriate after a reasonable amount of time has passed, and the situation has not improved and/or circumstances have changed, including the occurrence of additional concerning conduct/behavior.
Informal Complaint: The goal of the informal resolution process is to give notice of a perceived wrong and have OIEA informally address the situation. With informal complaints, OIEA does not make a determination as to whether a respondent violated University policy. Instead, OIEA staff will use conflict resolution techniques to attempt to resolve the concern(s) brought forward. Moreover, Equal Opportunity staff members will only speak to those people whose involvement is necessary to facilitate a resolution to a complaint. At times, this might include only the complainant(s) and respondent(s). The Office of Institutional Equity & Access attempts to reach a resolution to an informal complaint within 30 days of the filing of the complaint. This process is not a fact-finding endeavor, no investigation is conducted, and there is no discipline as part of this process.
Formal Complaint: The goal of the formal resolution process is to reach an official determination as to whether a respondent(s) violated a University policy that falls under the purview of the Office of Institutional Equity & Access, including, but not limited to, ETH-151 Equal Opportunity and ETH-154 Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. As part of the formal resolution process, OIEA will investigate formal complaints of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation and determine whether there is more evidence than not that a policy violation has occurred. The investigation may include oral interviews and/or written statements from the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses who may be able to provide pertinent information about the facts of the case. In the course of a typical investigation, the respondent will be informed of the allegations and the facts surrounding the allegations and will be afforded an opportunity to respond to the allegations. In response to most reports of discrimination, the University will complete the investigation within 60 calendar days. However, there may be some reports that cannot be investigated within 60 calendar days.
- Role of the Division of Equal Opportunity
The Division of Equal Opportunity is an administrative office, not a judicial or legal office. One of its roles is to assist campus community members in understanding UT Southwestern’s policies and procedures in the area of discrimination and harassment and to assist in resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. Equal Opportunity staff members are impartial administrators who are neither advocates nor adversaries with respect to the parties and witnesses in a complaint-related matter. Instead, Equal Opportunity staff members are advocates for the proper and fair administration of the complaint process.
- Consulting the Division of Equal Opportunity
Any member of the UT Southwestern community may consult the Division of Equal Opportunity without obligation to file a complaint. Equal Opportunity staff will give UTSW community members information designed to explain UT Southwestern’s policies and procedures so that they may make an informed choice as to whether they would like to file a complaint. In certain limited situations, however, the information learned by the Division of Equal Opportunity may be of sufficient concern that UT Southwestern must take appropriate action to resolve the concern even though an individual does not wish to file a complaint. An example would be if an individual could be harmed if they return to the environment described or the situation described poses a risk to others.