UALR seeks to eliminate sexual harassment on campus by encouraging students, faculty, staff and others to promptly report problems or complaints about sexual harassment. No individual should be deterred from reporting allegations of sexual harassment because of fear of retaliation.
This complaint procedure is internal to UALR and individuals with complaints are encouraged to follow it first. However, an aggrieved party also has the right to file a complaint of sexual harassment with the appropriate state or federal agency, or a suit in a court with jurisdiction.
Offices with Responsibility of Discrimination Issues
The Department of Human Resources has overall responsibility for assuring university compliance with nondiscrimination laws and regulations. The human relations officer receives both informal and formal complaints lodged against faculty, staff, and administration.
The Office of the Dean of Students has responsibility for student-to-student allegations of sexual harassment incidents. The dean of students or his/her designee is responsible for investigating harassment claims and for initiating disciplinary proceedings against students which may arise from a formal complaint. The dean of students may consult with other appropriate university officials if deemed necessary. Disciplinary files are maintained in the Office of the Dean of Students.
In addition to the offices officially designated to deal with grievances, problems, and questions regarding sexual harassment, the complainant may discuss these issues with anyone in a supervisory position and/or the person against whom the complaint is made. For example, faculty members, department chairs, supervisors, deans, or vice chancellors may be consulted.
It is the responsibility of all university faculty, administrators, managers, and supervisors to inform the human relations officer of all allegations of sexual harassment they receive and/or discriminatory situations of which they become aware.
Retaliation against a student or employee for bringing a sexual harassment complaint is prohibited. In addition, retaliation against those persons who participate in such investigations and disciplinary procedures is also prohibited. Retaliation is, itself, a violation of university policy and the law, and is a serious separate offense. Complaints of retaliation for bringing a sexual harassment complaint may be brought through the informal or the formal sexual harassment complaint process.
The goal of the informal complaint procedure is to resolve problems. No disciplinary action will be taken as a result of the informal complaint procedure.
Under the informal complaint procedure, complainants may consult with the human relations officer except that complaints by students against other students about conduct in university-related activities outside of an employment or teaching situation should be made to the Office of the Dean of Students.
Informal complaints may have several outcomes. The person raising the issue may only want to discuss the matter with a neutral party in order to clarify whether discrimination may be occurring and to determine his or her options, including the pursuit of more formal action. In such a situation, the human relations officer will give assistance and offer suggestions as to how the issue might be resolved, without drawing a conclusion as to whether discrimination has occurred. In other cases, the human relations officer may be asked to serve as a mediator, to talk to the other person(s) to see whether an informal resolution of the issue can be reached. The supervisor or department chairperson of the other person(s) in the dispute may be notified that an informal complaint has been received, but that no investigation has taken place. A written record of this complaint will be made and maintained by the human relations officer. If a written record is made and/or the supervisor is notified that an informal complaint has been made, the subject of the complaint must be notified and given the opportunity to provide a response for the written record. If resolution is reached by this process, no further action(s) will be taken and the matter will be considered closed. Issues not so resolved may require that further inquiries be made and/or that supervisors or department chairs take a more active role in finding a solution to the problem. Whenever possible, complaints will be handled at the lowest level possible.
Formal complaints against faculty, staff, and administration should usually be submitted to the human relations officer within thirty (30) calendar days of the most recent alleged discriminatory act. Formal complaints against students should usually be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students within thirty (30) days of the most recent alleged discriminatory act. Complaints by a student about the conduct of another student outside of an employment or teaching situation should be made to the Office of the Dean of Students.
The chancellor, provost, vice chancellors, or deans, may request that the human relations officer conduct an investigation without a formal complaint from any one individual.
Formal stages of procedure commences with the filing of a signed, written complaint to the appropriate authority.
The investigation will begin by providing a copy of the formal written complaint to the individual against whom the complaint is lodged, together with a copy of these procedures. A written response will be required within seven (7) calendar days.
Within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of a complaint, the human relations officer will consult with the complainant, the alleged offender, and his/her supervisor/department chair, in an attempt to resolve the matter and/or determine whether further investigation is warranted. Should no resolution be reached and/or further investigation is warranted, the human relations officer will report the investigative finding within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the written complaint. If, for any reason, an extension is necessary, the complainant will be informed of the reasons for the extension, the status of the investigation, and the probable date of completion. The human relations officer may at any point dismiss a formal complaint if it is found to be clearly without merit.
If, in the course of the investigation, the human relations officer determines that corrective action is needed, that office will initiate discussions with the appropriate administrator to attempt to resolve the complaint. A formal investigation can be terminated at any time, e.g., if a satisfactory resolution is agreed to before a written finding is made or if an appropriate resolution is implemented without an agreement.
Upon completion of the investigation, the human relations officer will notify the complainant and respondent(s), if any, and the chancellor, appropriate dean, vice chancellor or provost, department head or chair, or supervisor, in writing, of the findings and recommendations. Based on this information, the appropriate university official will determine the action he/she deems necessary to resolve the complaint and will communicate that decision to the involved individuals.
A complainant or respondent dissatisfied with the findings or recommendations may file a rebuttal statement with the human relations officer, for inclusion in the investigation file. Such statements must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the date the decision is received and will become part of the investigation file.
Should the resolution of a complaint result in a disciplinary action, the faculty member, staff member, administrator, or student can seek review of such action using the appropriate university procedures. Appeals Procedures for faculty, students, and staff will follow the procedures required in the appropriate sections of the UALR Classified Handbook, UALR Faculty Handbook, or UALR Student Handbook.
Student Sexual Offenses
Student sexual offenses are to be processed through the procedures set forth in the UALR Student Handbook. Appeals will be made through the normal procedures set forth in the handbook.
Every possible effort shall be made to ensure the confidentiality of information received as part of the university’s informal complaint procedure. The names of the parties involved will not be a part of the informal report about the situation. The human relations officer, and the Office of the Dean of Students will disclose the name of the individual in their review/mediation of the complaint only if the complainant has given permission to disclose his/her name. If, due to the circumstances of the alleged harassment, it is not possible to conduct a review or resolve the complaint and yet maintain confidentiality, the human relations officer will discuss this with the complainant.
Although a complainant requests confidentiality, it may be possible to attempt some mediation or resolution of the complaint, to address the situation in some other manner, or to take corrective action as appropriate for the situation. The human relations officer, therefore, should explore these alternatives rather than failing to take action because of the request for confidentiality. Action requiring disclosure of the complainant in some manner would not take place without consent of the complainant.
In the interests of fairness and problem resolution, disclosure of complaints and substance, except as compelled by law, will be limited to the immediate parties and other appropriate administration officials.
Because of the nature of the problem, complaints of sexual harassment cannot always be substantiated. Lack of corroborating evidence should not discourage complainants from seeking relief through the formal procedures delineated in this document. However, charges found to have been intentionally dishonest or made maliciously without regard for truth will subject complainants to disciplinary action.
Individuals who believe they have been the target of willfully false or maliciously reckless formal charges should file a written complaint no later than thirty (30) calendar days after they learn the nature of the allegations against them. If, for any reason, any extension is necessary, the time limits may be modified by the consent of both parties. They should submit their complaints to the Department of Human Resources. The human relations officer will make the complaint(s) part of the formal investigation process. If the officer finds sufficient grounds for the false-charge complaint, he/she must recommend to the chancellor that disciplinary action be taken against the person who filed the false charges. If the evidence does not support the false-charge complaint, they will so inform both parties. Disciplinary action will be taken against the person(s) filing false charges.
The facts about individual complaints and their dispositions are confidential. An employee’s supervisor will, however, inform the complainant and respondent, in confidence, of the result and/or sanctions associated with a formal case. Students will be similarly informed by the Office of the Dean of Students.
A permanent written record of the formal complaint process and its outcome is ordinarily retained by the Department of Human Resources.
An annual report will be prepared for the chancellor, the Faculty Senate, and the University Assembly on the number and types of complaints. The Office of the Dean of Students will prepare and submit a report to the human relations officer who will compile the record of both formal and informal complaints for submission to the above parties.
When any member of the university community or persons denied admission, employment, or services files a complaint of discrimination with an outside federal or state agency, that agency will, as part of its investigation, request a response from the university to the charges in the complaint. The human relations officer will prepare this response, usually after conducting an internal investigation of the complaint. Such investigations will not conform to the procedures for internal complaints, but instead to those of the outside agency.
Complaints from outside agencies sent directly to departments should be referred to the human relations officer for response.
The aim of the education on sexual harassment is not just to end specific harassment cases nor to combat something negative, but rather to help create a positive climate in which such harassment could find no place. Building this kind of positive climate involves everyone and encourages an environment that benefits all. Within this perspective, the discussion of sexual harassment is seen as one of many conditions that are symptoms of negative and limited perception which manifest themselves in other ways as well. The development of an attitude of appreciation of human diversity can reduce expressions of the negative symptoms. This policy shall be disseminated to all faculty, staff, students, and administrators.
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