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Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Equal Opportunity, Equity and Compliance

Contact Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion  

Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Address:
13/15 University Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383


Phone: 610-436-2433
Fax: 610-436-3164

Equal Opportunity, Equity and Compliance

To achieve our educational mission, West Chester University is committed to creating pluralistic learning communities. As an equal opportunity employer, we comply with federal and state laws and regulations, while demonstrating our commitment to equal opportunity for all persons and not discriminating on the basis of race, color, sex, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, religion, veteran status, genetic information or legally protected statuses in all aspects of employment.

All members of the West Chester University community must work collectively to prevent discrimination or harassment by proactively engaging in training and educational opportunities to stay informed of university policies and protocols, as well as implementing initiatives to eliminate inequities and resolve issues that may occur.

The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a resource for you if you have questions or concerns related to equal opportunity, equity or compliance with federal, state and local laws related to civil rights.  This includes, but is not limited to ADA accommodations, protected classes, and discrimination and harassment prevention and response.

 

The Complaint Process

In the event that a member of the West Chester University Community feels that he or she has been the subject of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status which is a violation of the University's Affirmative Action - Equal Opportunity Policy Statement, the matter should be brought to the attention of the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The Director for Equity and Compliance will be responsible for making an initial determination as to whether the allegations may represent a violation of the University's Affirmative Action - Equal Opportunity Policy. If it is  determined that the allegations do not constitute discrimination, the complainant will be so advised and he/she/they will be advised of any other recourse that might be appropriate. The Director for Equity and Compliance has the right to refer the case to other appropriate officials if it appears there may be violations of University policies other than the Affirmative Action - Equal Opportunity Policy. If  it is determined that the allegations may constitute discrimination, the complainant may choose to follow either the formal or informal process outlined below.

The Informal Process

The informal process, which will not result in disciplinary proceedings, includes efforts to mediate a resolution upon which both the complainant and the individual accused can agree.

The complainant initiates the informal procedure by filing a written complaint with the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. After reviewing the complaint and making an initial determination that the allegations may represent a violation of the University's Affirmative Action - Equal Opportunity Policy, the Director for Equity and Compliance will contact the accused to arrange a meeting to inform the individual of the complaint and to inform him or her of the process. If the complainant is a student enrolled at the time in the class of the accused, he or she may request that notification and mediation be delayed until after the completion of the semester.

Upon receipt of the complaint, notification to the accused of the allegations, the complainant's desire for mediation, and the accused's concurrence to the informal process, the Director for Equity and Compliance may facilitate a resolution or appoint a mediator(s) and notify the parties of the mediator(s) identity. Mediation occurs by mutual consent, therefore, at any stage of the mediation process either party has the opportunity to withdraw from the process.

The mediator(s) will serve as the facilitator(s) to seek resolution. Information regarding the circumstances and perceptions of the complainant will be shared by the mediator with the accused and the accused will have an opportunity to respond. Depending upon the circumstances of the complaint and/or the willingness of the complainant to meet with the accused, the mediation may be conducted by separate discussions with the accused and the complainant or by meetings in which both parties are present. At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator(s) will provide a written statement of the resolution agreed to by both parties to the Director for Equity and Compliance. The director will send a written summary of the outcome to the parties.

If either party chooses to withdraw from the mediation process at any time, or if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal process, the complainant may choose to go forward with the University's formal complaint procedures or may pursue the matter through external agencies.

If the Director for Equity and Compliance makes a determination that there is a need for a formal investigation, the formal process may be initiated on behalf of the University. All written summaries of the informal complaint process will be maintained by the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for a period of 5 years. No written record will be forwarded to the official personnel file.

The Formal Process

 

Formal procedures, which may result in a disciplinary proceeding, include an investigation and review process. The investigatory procedure is not intended to interfere with any legal rights an employee or student has under the statutes and other laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the government of the United States of America, or an employee's collective bargaining agreement.

The complainant initiates the formal process by filing a formal written complaint with the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  After reviewing the complaint and making an initial determination that the allegations may represent a violation of the University's Affirmative Action - Equal Opportunity Policy, the accused will be informed of the allegations and provided a copy of the written complaint. The Director for Equity and Compliance or designated staff member will meet with the accused to review the complaint, outline the the formal procedures and make him/her/them aware of their rights to union representation.

The Director for Equity and Compliance will provide an opportunity to meet with the accused in a timely manner to review the formal complaint and the University's non-discrimination policy. The employee may choose to be accompanied by a union representative at this meeting.

After accepting a written formal complaint, Director for Equity and Compliance will appoint a fact finder. When appropriate, as determined, two fact finders may be assigned to a case. The Director for Equity and Compliance will notify the parties of the fact finders' identities. In addition, the appropriate manager, supervisor and/or chairperson will be advised. Fact finders are specially trained and impartial faculty or staff member. The fact finders' role is to investigate the complaint and to make findings of fact pertaining to the complaint. The investigation may include, but is not limited to accessing records and interviewing the complainant, accused and others who may have relevant information. The fact finders have sole discretion to determine the scope and format of the investigation.

The fact finders will submit a report of their findings to the Director for Equity and Compliance. The Director for Equity and Compliance will then convene the Review Panel. This panel, consisting of three individuals selected by the Director for Equity and Compliance from a pool of  trained and impartial faculty or staff members, will serve as consultants to the office in formulating an opinion as to whether reasonable cause exists to believe that a violation of the University's Affirmative Action - Equal Opportunity Policy has occurred. In consultation with the Review Panel, the Director for Equity and Compliance will formulate an opinion as to whether there has been a violation of the University's Affirmative Action - Equal Opportunity Policy which prohibits discrimination.

If it is the opinion of the office that there is not enough evidence to warrant a finding of discriminatory conduct, the complainant and the accused will be so notified and the case will be closed. The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion however, maintains the right to refer the case to other appropriate University officials if it appears that there may be violations of University's Misconduct Policy or other University policies that do not constitute discrimination.

If it is the opinion of the Director for Equity and Compliance that there is reasonable cause to believe that the University's Affirmative Action-Equal Opportunity Policy has been violated, the office will forward the fact-finders' report, the Review Panel's recommendations and the Director for Equity and Compliance's opinion to the appropriate manager. Copies of these documents will also be provided to the accused.

The manager will utilize the existing University pre-disciplinary conference procedures ensuring that the accused employee has the opportunity to be represented, if so desired, by his or her union representative during the pre-disciplinary conference. At the pre-disciplinary the accused will have an opportunity to rebut the findings of the fact finders' report, the recommendations of the review panel, and the opinion of the Director for Equity and Compliance.  After completing the pre-disciplinary conference, the manager in consultation with the Associate Vice President for Human Resource Services and other University officials, as needed, will determine if discipline is appropriate and what level of discipline should be imposed. Possible disciplinary actions for violation of the University's Affirmative Action - EEO Policy include oral or written reprimand, suspension, or termination of employment. The manager is not bound by the opinion of the Director for Equity and Compliance and reserves the right to make his or her own final determination.

Disciplined employees will have the right to appeal and/or grieve management's decision to the extent provided in the appropriate policy and/or collective bargaining agreement.

The complainant will receive written notification of the final disposition of the complaint. If the complainant finds the resolution or disciplinary action unsatisfactory he or she may pursue the complaint with the appropriate external agencies.

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