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Institutional Equity – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of Institutional Equity?

Institutional Equity (IE) is an administrative office, not a judicial or legal office. Its role is to assist campus community members in understanding the University’s policies and procedures in the areas of discrimination and retaliation and to assist in resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. IE staff are impartial administrators who are neither advocates nor adversaries with respect to the parties and witnesses in a complaint-related matter. Instead, the IE staff advocate for the proper and fair administration of the complaint process.

IE provides expert advice and leadership to schools, departments, faculty and staff in their efforts to retain a diverse workforce and ensure an environment free from discrimination and harassment.

Where can I get more information on the complaint process?

Institutional Equity staff can further explain the University’s policies and procedures to you and can assist in initiating the complaint process. You may also consult the relevant policies: Nondiscrimination Policy and Retaliation Policy. If we can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

When do I need to file a complaint?

Individuals wishing to report a concern or file a complaint of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation are encouraged to do so as soon as possible following the incident(s). In most cases this will be within thirty (30) calendar days. Typically, the sooner a complaint is filed, the more opportunity exists to collect information from respondents and witnesses.

How do I file a complaint?

Please visit Incident Reports and Complaints for details.

Will my complaint be confidential?

Complaints of discrimination and/or harassment are treated with the greatest degree of confidentiality possible. In all situations, confidentiality is maintained on a need-to-know basis; however, confidentiality can only be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct that require it to take corrective action.

Am I protected from retaliation if I file a complaint?

The University prohibits retaliation against individuals who file complaints or who participate in the complaint resolution process. Retaliatory action is regarded as a basis for a separate complaint under the University’s procedures. If you feel you have been retaliated against, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do I have to file a complaint once I contact Institutional Equity?

Any member of the University community may consult Institutional Equity (IE) without obligation to file a complaint. The IE staff provide information designed to explain the University’s policies and procedures so that you may make an informed choice as to whether you would like to file a complaint.

In certain limited situations, however, the information learned by IE may be of sufficient concern that the University must take appropriate action to resolve the concern even though an individual may not wish to file a complaint. An example would be if an individual could be harmed if he or she returns to the environment he or she has described.

What is the difference between a formal and an informal complaint?

UT Dallas recognizes both informal and formal reports as methods to officially file a complaint; however, there are some key differences on how the two types of complaints are handled:

The complaining party selects whether to pursue an informal or formal complaint. A complainant may choose to first file an informal complaint. If, however, the parties are unable to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the informal complaint, a complainant may then file a formal complaint, provided that the complaint is within the time limitations set out in the applicable policy.

Incidents should be reported as soon as possible after the time of their occurrence, in most cases within thirty (30) calendar days. No person is required to report discrimination or harassment to the alleged offender.

To make an appointment, please contact Institutional Equity via email at [email protected]. Normal hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

May I file both an informal and a formal complaint?

Not concurrently. The informal resolution process and the formal resolution process are not mutually exclusive.

An individual may attempt to first resolve his or her concerns through an informal complaint. If, however, the complainant is not satisfied with the result of the informal process, he or she may then file a formal complaint, provided that the complaint is within the time limitations set out in the applicable policy (usually within 30 days of offense).