How the University of Dayton Equity Complaint Process Works

This guide describes how to navigate the equity complaint process.  Feel free to contact us with questions.

Stage One: Considering Your Options

You feel as if you are being harassed or otherwise discriminated against by someone because of your gender, race, religion, or membership in some other protected class.  What do you do?  Sometimes the best answer is to talk to that person, to try to work things out before they go too far.  Sometimes simply asking someone to “stop” is enough to get them to stop.  For instance, someone might not realize a certain term is offensive.  But talking is not always a good idea. Some problems are so serious that you need the University’s help.  For instance, you cannot “talk out” a sexual assault, and no one would want you to try.  If you are not sure whether it would be a good idea to try to resolve a situation on your own, contact the Title IX/504 Coordinator & Equity Compliance Officer ("ECO") for advice.  (Click on the "CONTACT US" link for specific contact information.)

Stage Two: Asking the University for Help


  • You might want the University to take official action to remedy the situation.  If you have seen or been a victim of an incident of discrimination, you can file a complaint with the ECO asking the University to remedy/fix the situation.  Doing so triggers the Equity Complaint Process.
  • You might want to talk someone secure in the knowledge that they will not share your story with University officials.  In other words, you may not want the University to take action.  You may just want to talk to someone.  If so, you can contact Campus Ministry, the Counseling or Health Center (if you are a student), or the Employee Assistance Program (if you are an employee) and ask to schedule a meeting with someone with whom you can speak confidentially.
  • You might want to seek advice from a professor, supervisor, or another University employee you trust.  If that is your choice, you need to know that almost all University employees are required to report incidents of unlawful discrimination or harassment to the University.  So, if you talk about an incident with an employee other than a counselor, doctor, etc. that employee must share at least some of what you said with the ECO.  If you do not want your name used, tell the employee.  The employee will still have to report, but unless the incident involves a danger that could threaten others in the community, he or she will not have to share your name or other identifying information.  Of course, the tradeoff for choosing anonymity is if the University does not know who you are, it may not be possible for it to help you.

Stage Three: The University Reviews the Complaint

The University always acts on a complaint or report of discrimination.  But the type of action it takes depends on the facts of each case.  When a complaint or report is made the ECO acts as a “gatekeeper.”  His or her first job is to look at the facts to see if, assuming they are true, they might violate the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.  Not every wrongful act is sufficient to violate the policy.

If the answer, is “no,” the process/investigation ends.  The ECO will let you (the “complainant”) and the accused party (the “respondent”) know the outcome.  If the conduct may violate some other University policy or otherwise merit some action, he or she will pass your complaint on to the right officials.  If the answer is “yes,” he or she will inform you and the respondent and determine what the next steps should be.

What the next steps are depends on the facts of each case.  If the ECO thinks this complaint may be one that could be resolved informally using something like a mediation, and if both parties agree, informal resolution is a possibility.

Stage Four: The University Investigates the Complaint

If informal resolution is not a possibility or does not work, the ECO will assign your case to a specially trained investigatory team to investigate the facts.  The team will interview you, the respondent, and others with information about what happened. It will also gather other materials (e.g., texts, emails, etc.) that may help show what happened.

Both parties have the option of participating as much or as little in the process as they choose, but choosing not to participate typically weakens that person’s case.

The investigatory team will compile all of the evidence it has gathered into a report and will determine whether if all of the evidence is viewed in a light most favorable to you there is probable cause to believe that the respondent might have violated the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.  If the answer is “no,” the process will end and the ECO will inform you and the respondent of the outcome.

Stage Five: The University Resolves the Complaint

If the answer is “yes,” the next step depends on whether the respondent is a student, employee, or visitor.

  • If the respondent is a student, the case file is sent to the Office of Community Standards and Civility for an Accountability Hearing.  The Hearing Board will determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether a violation has occurred and will notify you and the respondent of the outcome. See the Student Handbook for more information.
  • If the respondent is a University employee (faculty or staff) or a visitor to campus, the investigatory team keeps the case.  The investigatory team will determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether a violation has occurred and make recommendations to the appropriate University official as to how to remedy any violation. Once the official has determined whether and how to follow the recommendations, the ECO will notify you and the respondent of the outcome.  Neither you nor the respondent will receive a copy of the investigatory report, but you will both be provided with the opportunity to view a notice of outcome that outlines the team’s findings. You will also be informed of any actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint, if any, that are directly related to you, such as a recommendation that the respondent not contact you.  The respondent will also be informed of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint and will be notified of referrals for disciplinary action and recommended disciplinary action. See the Equity Complaint Process for more information.

Stage Six: The Appeals Process

Either party may appeal the findings of the Hearing Board or investigatory team. Findings of the Hearing Board are appealable to the Judicial Review Committee (JRC), and findings of the investigatory team are appealable to the Complaint Review Committee (CRC).

An appeal will be granted only if:

  • New evidence or information that did not exist at the time of the hearing or investigation that could have a bearing on the decision is discovered, or
  • There was a clear error in the process

If an appeal is denied, both you and the respondent will be notified and the process/investigation will conclude.  If an appeal is granted, both you and the respondent will be notified of the corrective action taken by the Review Committee.  Once a final decision is made, you and the respondent will be notified. No further appeal will be available.

Statement of Rights

Complainant's Rights

  • To be treated with respect by University officials.
  • To an investigation and appropriate resolution of all complaints of discrimination and/or harassment made in good faith to the appropriate University official(s).
  • To receive written notification that the respondent has been officially notified of the allegation of violating the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.
  • To be notified of the substance of respondent’s response, if any, to the allegations.
  • To take advantage of campus support resources (such as Campus Ministry, the University Health and Counseling Centers for students, and Employee Assistance Program services for employees).
  • To experience a safe living, educational and work environment.
  • To have a support person of his or her choosing, including, but not limited to, a licensed attorney, during any meeting with investigators.  The support person cannot be someone who may be called as a witness.  The role of the support person is to serve as an advisor.  He/she may be present at interviews, hearings and other proceedings, but is not permitted to speak.
  • To decline to participate in conflict resolution procedures as the means for resolving an allegation.
  • To receive amnesty for minor student misconduct (such as alcohol or drug violations) that is ancillary to the incident.
  • To be free from retaliation for complaints made, or otherwise participating in an investigation, in good faith.
  • To have complaints heard in substantial accordance with these procedures.
  • To full participation in this process, whether the injured party is the actual party or the University has brought the complaint.
  • To be informed in writing of the outcome/resolution of the complaint, sanctions where permissible and the rationale for the outcome where permissible.
  • The ability to refer to law enforcement and have assistance.
  • For residential students, the ability to request housing and living accommodations, if appropriate.
  • A “no contact order,” if appropriate.  A no contact order is an order from a University Official to have no contact with a particular person or persons.  Contact is considered any verbal, written, electronic, non-verbal gesture, third party messages, indirect loud talking in the vicinity of the person and could include indirect actions that appear to the University to be intimidating.  The University may add to the terms of no contact within the context of the reported incident that preceded the order or concerns that have arisen during the investigation.

Respondent's Rights

  • To be treated with respect by University officials.
  • To an investigation and appropriate resolution of all complaints of discrimination and/or harassment made in good faith to the appropriate University official(s).
  • To receive written notification if officially accused of violating the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.
  • To take advantage of campus support resources (such as Campus Ministry, the University Health and Counseling Centers for students, and Employee Assistance Program services for employees).
  • To experience a safe living, educational and work environment.
  • To have a support person of his or her choosing, including, but not limited to, a licensed attorney, during any meeting with investigators.  The support person cannot be someone who may be called as a witness.  The role of the support person is to serve as an advisor.  He/she may be present at interviews, hearings and other proceedings, but is not permitted to speak.
  • To decline to participate in conflict resolution procedures as the means for resolving an allegation.
  • To receive amnesty for minor student misconduct (such as alcohol or drug violations) that is ancillary to the incident.
  • To be free from retaliation for complaints made, or otherwise participating in an investigation, in good faith.
  • To have complaints heard in substantial accordance with these procedures.
  • To be informed of the outcome/resolution of the complaint and the rationale for the outcome, in writing.
  • The ability to refer to law enforcement and to have assistance.
  • For residential students, the ability to request housing and living accommodations, if appropriate.
  • A “no contact order,” if appropriate.  A no contact order is an order from a University Official to have no contact with a particular person or persons.  Contact is considered any verbal, written, electronic, non-verbal gesture, third party messages, indirect loud talking in the vicinity of the person and could include indirect actions that appear to the University to be intimidating.  The University may add to the terms of no contact within the context of the reported incident that preceded the order or concerns that have arisen during the investigation.

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