UMBC Interim Discrimination Complaint Procedure
- Assessment and Resolution of Complaints
- Formal Complaints
- Supportive Measures
- Initial Assessment
- Draft Report
- Final Report
- Sanctions and/or Conditions
UMBC has developed the following procedure to provide prompt and equitable resolution of discrimination complaints under UMBC’s Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy. Matters that are covered by the Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy as well as the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination but are required or permitted to be dismissed under the Sexual Misconduct Policy, may be handled pursuant to this procedure.
Use of this procedure does not affect other rights, remedies or applicable time limits that may apply under other UMBC policies, or local, federal, and state statutes and regulations prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
This Procedure protects and provides recourse to all UMBC students, faculty and staff, guests, visitors, volunteers, invitees, and campers as well as third parties and contractors under UMBC’s control (including but not limited to, admitted students, undergraduate, graduate, exchange, visiting, professional, doctoral, and post-doctoral students, and temporary and contingent faculty and staff) if, when and while they are attempting to participate or participating in a UMBC program, activity or employment.
The Office of Equity and Civil Rights will keep the information reported under the Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy confidential including the identity of anyone who has made a report or filed a Complaint, and the identity of any Respondent or witness, except under certain limited circumstances.
Limited disclosure may also be required: (1) to provide supportive measures; (2) where the information reported discloses an immediate or continuing threat to the health or safety of the parties, witnesses or the University community; (3) where there is a disclosure of apparent or suspected abuse of a child or dependent adult; (4) as permitted by FERPA; or (5) where there is some other legal obligation to make a specific disclosure.
The University must maintain as confidential any Supportive Measures provided to impacted parties, other than as necessary to provide those measures and to the extent that maintaining confidentiality would not impair the ability to provide such measures.
The University may require non-disclosure or confidentiality from impacted parties, complainants and respondents, even where no formal complaint is filed, and no investigation takes place.
Confidentiality restrictions imposed during the investigation must not not restrict a party’s ability to (i) discuss the allegations under investigation, for example with a parent, friend, support person, advisor, advocate or attorney, (ii) gather and present evidence, or to (iii) seek or assist with securing confidential services from a healthcare provider including a mental healthcare provider or other similar resources.
The University may also require the impacted parties, the Complainant, Respondent, Support Person, Advisor, Advocate or Attorney to agree not to further disseminate or disclose evidence, reports or documents shared as part of the investigation process, except as required by law or to comply with a lawfully issued court order.
(3) Resolution of Complaints
Reporting a matter to ECR does not mean that the person intends to file a formal complaint or that the person is requesting that the University take action or investigate the conduct.
Individuals who believe they have experienced or witnessed conduct that may be a violation of the Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy are encouraged to report the conduct as soon as possible.
Employees are asked to report conduct that has been reported to them by a student or another employee immediately, including, if known, the names of those involved, names of any witnesses, and the time, place, location and description of the conduct.
The University will respond to all Formal Complaints of discrimination.
Any Formal Complaint must be filed not later than one hundred eighty (180) days after the person became aware of the alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Prompt filing after an action assists ECR in effectively reviewing the complaint.
Written complaints are encouraged, but not required.
In order to file a Formal Complaint a reporting party may indicate that they are intending to file a Formal Complaint in their online report or can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating they wish to file a formal complaint.
If a verbal complaint is made, the Office of Equity and Civil Rights may prepare a written statement of the allegations and ask that the Complainant acknowledge its accuracy in writing.
All Formal Complaints must contain the following information:
(a) Name, address and telephone number of the person filing the complaint;
(b) A brief description of the alleged discrimination or harassment, including the location and date of the alleged discrimination or harassment, and any other people who may have relevant information; and
(c) The remedy, result or resolution sought.
Supportive Measures may be requested by an impacted party, the Complainant or the Respondent, or continue from a matter initially brought under the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Supportive Measures may also be implemented by the Office of Equity and Civil Rights as an appropriate Interim and/or Supportive Measures while the matter is being assessed, evaluated, resolved or investigated.
Examples of Interim and/or Supportive Measures include, but are not limited to, a referral to the Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”), or the Student Counseling Center, academic adjustments (if such alternatives are feasible and available), modifications in work location or schedule (if such alternatives are feasible and available), academic support, and no contact instructions
The Office will acknowledge receipt of a report or Formal Complaint by sending a notification to and speak to the reporting and/or complaining party and conduct an initial assessment of the complaint to determine whether the matter is covered by the University’s Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy or other Policy, whether informal resolution may be possible, and whether or not a formal complaint should or could be investigated.
In assessing the appropriate response to a report or Complaint, ECR will consider a number of factors including but not limited to: the reporter or Complainant’s position as to whether or not the complaint should be investigated; whether the Respondent is currently enrolled in or employed by the University; whether under the circumstances it will be possible for the University to gather evidence sufficient to reach a determination in any investigation.
If a Formal Complaint has been filed and it has not been informally resolved within thirty (30) days of receipt of the complaint, the Office of Equity and Civil Rights shall confer with the Complainant about how the matter should proceed and whether or not there should be a formal investigation.
Where a Complainant does not request a formal investigation, a formal investigation may also commence at the University’s discretion after consideration of a number of factors, including but not limited to the nature and scope of the alleged conduct, and the University’s obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment.
If the Office of Equity and Civil Rights determines that the matter should be investigated, a Notice of Investigation will be issued which identifies the investigator and provides the Complainant and Respondent written notice of the Complaint. An investigation does not begin until a formal Notice of Investigation has been issued.
All parties and identified witnesses shall cooperate during the investigation by being available during reasonable business hours to discuss the complaint and provide relevant information requested by the investigator.
The investigator will interview the Complainant and the Respondent and other available relevant witnesses, review available relevant documents and prepare a written report. The investigator in consultation with ECR will determine the order of any interviews and the relevancy of witnesses and documents.
The Office seeks to complete a Formal Investigation within ninety (90) business days and may extend the time frame set forth in these procedures for good cause.
The time frame may be extended by the University for good cause, as determined on a case-by-case basis, including, but not limited to the following: to ensure the integrity and completeness of an investigation, to comply with a request by a state or federal agency, to reasonably accommodate the access to and the availability of witnesses, to accommodate reasonable requests for additional time by the parties, to account for University closures or limitations on operations, for other reasons, including the complexity of the investigation (e.g. the number of witnesses and volume of information provided by the parties) and the time period, length of time, severity and extent of the alleged Prohibited Conduct.
After completion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a report.
The report will provide a determination as to whether, based on a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), the conduct violates the University’s Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy and/or other UMBC policies, applicable local, state, and federal harassment, anti-discrimination and retaliation laws.
In addition, if applicable, the report may recommend options for substantive resolution of the complaint and recommendations for corrective measures, conditions or sanctions. In making any such recommendations, the investigator may confer with Student Conduct, Student Affairs, the Office of the Provost, Human Resources, and/or ECR as appropriate.
After a Draft Report has been prepared, the parties will be provided with an opportunity to review and respond to the Draft Report, and all documents relied upon by the investigator.
Responses to the Draft report must be provided within 10 business days. Requests for additional time will be determined on a case-by-case basis, however, reasonable requests will be granted.
The Draft Investigative Report review period is both parties’ final opportunity to identify or submit any additional evidence, information, questions, or witnesses, before the report and investigative recommendation are finalized and issued.
In the absence of demonstrable good cause, information discoverable through the exercise of due diligence that is not provided to the investigator during the Draft Report review period will not be considered by the Investigator or decision-maker/s or during any appeal.
After the parties have reviewed the Draft report and provided any comments, a Final Investigative Report will be issued. The report will then be sent to the Provost or their designee for a decision.
Within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the Final Report, the Provost (or their designee) shall make a decision based on the investigation record and shall notify the Complainant and Respondent, in writing, of the decision and the basis for the decision.
With respect to any remedy or sanction, the Provost or other decision maker/s may confer with Student Conduct, Student Affairs, the Office of the Provost, Human Resources, and/or ECR as appropriate.
If either the Complainant or Respondent is not satisfied with the decision of the Provost (or their designee), the party may file a written appeal within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the Provost (or designee)’s decision.
The written appeal must include a detailed statement of the basis of the appeal. If an appeal is received from one party, the other party will be notified and given ten (10) business days to submit a response.
Permissible grounds for appeal are limited to the following:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
- The investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter; or
- Excessiveness or insufficiency of the remedy or sanction.
Mere dissatisfaction or mere deviations from procedures that were not so substantial as to deny a party notice or a fair opportunity to be heard, are not valid bases for an Appeal.
The University has the discretion to use either a Sole Decision-Maker or Board of Review composed of trained personnel to determine an appeal. The Decision-Maker or Board may not be the same as the original decision maker.
The appeal review decision-maker or review panel shall review the decision and notify the Complainant and Respondent of the final decision within thirty (30) calendar days of the receipt of the appeal.
(6) Sanctions and/or Conditions
In certain circumstances, even when there is no finding and/or there are no disciplinary actions or sanctions imposed, the University reserves the right to impose Conditions upon any party who is subject to the Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy.
Conditions are designed to prevent violations of the Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy and cultivate a safe and equitable academic and employment environment, while supporting the University’s mission and federal obligations. Conditions are non-disciplinary and may include educational, remedial or Supportive Measures that may be imposed by the University upon any party who is, or was at the time of the events, subject to this Policy. The University may impose Conditions even where no formal complaint has been filed, and no formal finding or decision regarding responsibility for prohibited conduct has been made.
Sanctions are effective after a Final Decision has been issued and any Appeal has been decided. Sanctions are designed to eliminate violations of the Policy, prevent their recurrence, and remedy their effects, while supporting the University’s mission and federal obligations.
Sanctions may include educational, restorative, rehabilitative, and punitive components. Some conduct, however, is so egregious in nature, so harmful to the individuals involved and the entire UMBC community, or so deleterious to the educational or working environment, that it requires severe disciplinary action, up to and including suspension, termination from or dismissal from the University.
Sanctions for employees (including student employees) may include, but are not limited to: a no contact order, letter of reprimand or warning, censure, service to the University, counseling, retraining, transfer, demotion, suspension, and/or termination.
Sanctions for students may include, but are not limited to: no contact orders, housing restrictions (including removal from on-campus housing), community service, educational requirements, written warning, reprimand, probation, suspension, and/or dismissal. The University also reserves the right to delay or refuse the conferring of an academic degree—undergraduate or graduate.
With respect to faculty Respondents, matters decided under this Procedure are not subject to the faculty grievance procedures. However, if the final decision is a recommendation for termination or dismissal of a tenured or tenure-track faculty member, the Respondent may request review of the recommendation consistent with the University System of Maryland Policy on Appointment, Rank, and Tenure of Faculty.
Amended Effective: November 29, 2021