Formal Complaint FAQ

What happens when I make a Formal Complaint?

The procedures that are used to resolve formal complaints of prohibited discrimination and harassment vary depending on who is involved (student, faculty, and/or staff) and the particular procedure (student conduct, employee grievance, alternative resolution).

**The term “complaint” is a standard term when referring to an allegation made against another individual. It is not a term that implies judgment regarding the allegations. [i.e. It does not mean “complain” in the ordinary sense]

In general, a formal complaint is resolved through:

  1. an investigation and
  2. a sanction or discipline procedure.

When you make a formal complaint to the University, you are making the University aware that an incident of prohibited discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment or sexual violence may have taken place.

This means you are asking the University for assistance to address and resolve the incident and potentially hold someone else accountable.

Will I get in trouble for alcohol or drug use?

Alcohol and Drug Amnesty

To encourage reporting, students (whether reporting, witnessing or being accused of prohibited discrimination or harassment, including sexual misconduct) will not be charged with Student Conduct Code violations or subject to disciplinary sanctions relating to the use of alcohol or drugs in connection with the underlying incident, unless the student’s conduct placed the health or safety of another person at risk, or was otherwise egregious.

However, the use of alcohol or drugs will never function as a defense for engaging in prohibited discrimination or harassment including sexual misconduct.

In all instances, the University may initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs.

Alcohol and drug amnesty do not apply to conduct that involves plagiarism, cheating, or academic dishonesty.

What if I don’t want an investigation or want to remain anonymous?

Requests for No Action by the University or to Remain Anonymous
An individual who reports or discloses having experienced sexual misconduct to the University, either directly or indirectly, may request that:

  1. personally identifying information not be shared with the Respondent,
  2. no investigation be pursued, or
  3. no disciplinary action be taken.

The Title IX Coordinator will seek to honor the individual’s request(s) if it is possible to do so while also protecting the health and safety of the reporting individual and the university community.

In general, the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s) will consider several factors in evaluating such request(s):

  1. the totality of the known circumstances;
  2. the potential impact of such action(s) on the Complainant and/or other members of the University community;
  3. any information showing that the Respondent made statements of admission or otherwise accepted responsibility for the underlying conduct;
  4. the existence of any independent or potentially exculpatory information regarding the underlying conduct;
  5. any other available and relevant information including the interests of the University community; and
  6. the presence of any risk factors, such as those considered for emergency actions.

In instances where a complainant requests no action and the university can honor that request, the university will take all reasonable steps to respond to the complaint consistent with the request not to pursue an investigation. Generally, this may include initiating a discussion with the respondent regarding the allegations and explaining the applicable policy.

Where the university cannot pursue further investigation because a complainant has specifically requested confidentiality (i.e. not to be identified), it will pursue other steps to mitigate the effects of the alleged harassment or misconduct and prevent its recurrence to the extent that it can consistent with the request for confidentiality.

Will I be forced to participate in an investigation?

Non-Participating Complainants
If it is not possible to honor a Complainant’s request for no action or confidentiality, the university will move forward with the formal process and the individual who allegedly experienced the harm will be treated as a Non-Participating Complainant, meaning that the individual does not have to participate in the process.

A Non-Participating Complainant can still choose to participate at any time, can choose to receive updates throughout the process, and can appeal the outcome.

The University will not take disciplinary action against any Non-Participating Complainant for refusing to participate in the process.

As a Complainant, how can I get support or protective measures, or other confidential options?

Interim Support Measures, No Contact Directives and Confidential Options for Complainants

All students have access to interim measures and confidential resources regardless of whether or not a Formal Complaint is made to the University. For a full list of options and resources for Complainants, visit the SAFE website.

No Contact Directives: Either student may request a No Contact Directive. If a No Contact Directive is issued, it shall be issued by email and it shall apply to both the Complainant and Respondent.

The Title IX Coordinator’s designees can work with various campus personnel to help students and mitigate the impact of the student conduct resolution process. This can include working with professors to move exams, grant extensions, withdraw from courses and other resolutions.

After a report is made, a confidential staff member with the Office of Crisis Intervention and Sexual Violence Support Services will reach out to you. You can choose to respond to them or not, and there is no obligation to utilize their services. However, this confidential staff member is available to help provide you with information about the resources and support that the university can provide, as well as to answer questions about the process itself.

Deputy Coordinators are available across campus to help facilitate interim measures and support for students. You can find contact information for all of these resources at on the Deputy Coordinators page.

Who can be an Advisor and what is the role of advisors?

You have the right to an advisor of your choice to help you navigate the student conduct process, and an advisor may be designated at any time throughout the process.  To designate an advisor, simply fill out the Advisor Designation Form and return it to the Administrator that has been assigned in your case.

For more information, please learn about the advisor’s role.

Complainants: Student Survivor Legal Services provides free and confidential legal advice and assistance to student Complainants.

I am a Complainant and I don’t know if I can study for classes or prepare for exams during this process. What should I do?

The Crisis staff person can connect you with priority access to counseling services, with other confidential resources on campus such as free legal resources, the health center and the Ombuds. They can also assist you or connect you with a Deputy Coordinator to assist you with any academic or other support that you may need such as talking with professors about moving exams, changing residences or other support that may be appropriate to help reduce the impact of this process on your academic experience.

You can ask to speak with a confidential crisis staff, or request a different staff member by calling 541-346-3216 or by emailing the Title IX Coordinator at