Who may file a complaint?
Any person (e.g., faculty, staff, student, visitor) may report what they believe to be an act of discrimination or harassment based on race/ethnicity, age, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression to the Office of Equal Opportunity as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s).
How do students file complaints?
Students wishing to report concerns about a staff member or faculty member should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity: 101 Student Services Building, (970) 491-5836, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students wishing to report concerns about another student should contact Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, 325 Aylesworth NW, (970) 491-7165.
How do I file a complaint through the Office of Equal Opportunity?
You may file either an Informal or Formal complaint by scheduling a meeting with the Office of Equal Opportunity. During this meeting, available options and processes will be reviewed so that an individual wishing to file a complaint can make a decision on how s/he wishes to proceed. To assist in this process, an individual can complete the Office of Equal Opportunity's Complaint Intake Form, which is available from the Office of Equal Opportunity or online. The completed form should be submitted to the Office of Equal Opportunity.
Formal complaints should include a letter describing the alleged incident(s) along with relevant date(s), name(s) of the respondent(s) and witnesses. The complaint letter should be dated and signed by the complainant.
What is the difference between a Formal and an Informal complaint?
Both the Informal and Formal complaints are official University complaints of discrimination and/or harassment; however, there are some key distinctions between the two types of complaint processes.
Informal Complaint: The goal of the Informal complaint process is to attempt to reach a resolution to the complaint that is acceptable to both the complainant(s) and the respondent(s). The University does not make a determination as to whether a respondent(s) has violated University policy. Instead, the Office of Equal Opportunity attempts to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution through the use of conflict resolution techniques. In the informal process, the Office of Equal Opportunity will only speak to those people whose involvement is necessary to facilitate a resolution to a complaint. Frequently, this includes only the complainant(s) and respondent(s).
Formal Complaint: The goal of the Formal complaint process is to reach an official determination as to whether a respondent(s) has violated the University's Non-Discrimination Statement and/or Sexual Harassment Policy. As a part of the Formal complaint process, the Office of Equal Opportunity will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations of the complaint and prepare a report of the investigation.
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. Additionally, a complainant may during the Informal complaint process choose to file a Formal complaint instead.
A complete description of the Informal and the Formal complaint processes in the area of discrimination can be found online at: http://oeo.colostate.edu/grievances.aspx, and in the area of sexual harassment at: http://oeo.colostate.edu/sexual-harassment-policy.
What are the possible resolutions parties agree to as a result of an Informal complaint?
Possible resolutions might include, but are not limited to: 1) an agreement by the respondent to cease the behavior; 2) assisting the respondent to better understand the effects of his or her conduct and ways in which this behavior might be changed; 3) participation in educational programs about equal opportunity, discrimination or harassment; 4) verbal or written reprimands; 5) taking away of privileges; or 6) termination of employment. The resolution sought depends upon the circumstances of the complaint as well as the wishes of the parties involved.
May I file both an Informal and a Formal complaint?
Yes. The Informal complaint process and the Formal complaint process are not mutually exclusive. An individual may attempt to first resolve his or her concerns through an Informal complaint. If, however, the parties are unable to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of an Informal complaint, a complainant may then file a Formal complaint. Additionally, a complainant may during the Informal complaint process choose to file a Formal complaint instead.
When do I need to file a complaint?
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). A complaint must be filed within 180 days of the incident of discrimination and/or harassment or, where the behavior is of an ongoing nature, within 180 days from the most recent incident.
Do I have to file a complaint once I contact the Office of Equal Opportunity?
Any member of the University community may consult the Office of Equal Opportunity without obligation to file a complaint. Office of Equal Opportunity staff will give University community members information designed to explain the University'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 Office of Equal Opportunity may be of such concern that the University 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 physically harmed if s/he returns to the environment s/he has described.
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 strict 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 the University to take corrective action.
Am I protected from retaliation if I file a complaint?
Colorado State University prohibits retaliation against individuals who file complaints or who participate in the complaint process. Retaliatory action is regarded as a basis for a separate complaint under the University's procedures. If you believe that you have been retaliated against for filing a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, or for participating in the resolution of a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity.
What is the role of the Office of Equal Opportunity?
The Office of Equal Opportunity is an administrative office, not a judicial or legal office. The role of the office is to assist campus community members in understanding the University's policies and procedures in the areas of discrimination and harassment and to assist in resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. The Office of Equal Opportunity staff members are impartial administrators who are neither advocates nor adversaries with respect to the parties and witnesses in a complaint. Instead, the Office of Equal Opportunity staff members are advocates for the proper and fair administration of the complaint process.
May I file an anonymous complaint?
Colorado State University prefers not to accept anonymous complaints of discrimination and/or harassment.
Where can I get more information?
The Office of Equal Opportunity can further explain the University's policies and procedures to you and can assist in initiating the complaint process. To make an appointment, please call (970) 491-5836.
Students who have concerns about or wish to file a complaint against another student may contact Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, 325 Aylesworth NW, (970) 491-7165.
Individuals who wish to file a complaint outside the University may be able to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, or the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Information regarding filing charges with any of these agencies may be obtained from the Office of Equal Opportunity or directly from the agencies.
Are there additional resources for employees and students experiencing conflict at the University?
Yes, there are. This information sheet outlines additional offices on campus that serve as resources and in what capacities they can be of assistance.
For printable version, please click here. Need Adobe Acrobat Reader? Please click here.