Civil Rights Investigations

Investigating Civil Rights Complaints

The University is committed to providing a prompt and fair resolution of allegations that the University's civil rights policy has been violated. Investigations of civil rights complaints, including investigations of allegations of sexual violence, are conducted under the auspices of the UD Office of Civil Rights. In the event that a violation of University civil rights policy is identified, the complaint is referred to the appropriate University administrator to implement an appropriate response.

University Policy 1.2.6 Civil Rights Policy - Protocol for Responding to Complaints provides the exclusive process for investigating complaints of violations of the University civil rights policy, including, but not limited to, complaints of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. Below is a summary of certain key parts of University civil rights policy relating to investigations:

Confidentiality

Victims of violations of the University civil rights policy have the right to decide if and when they report the incident(s) to University officials. Nevertheless, the University strongly encourages reporting as soon as possible.  Prompt reporting may preserve options that delayed reporting does not, including immediate police response and preservation of evidence that may be necessary to prove an offense.

If an individual discloses an incident to a University employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality and/or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, the University will balance a request for confidentiality with its responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for the University community.

In addition, when the University conducts an investigation, it will maintain the confidentiality of the parties and witnesses, except as necessary to conduct the investigation, protect the University community, and comply with applicable law.

Amnesty for Complainants and Witnesses

In order to encourage reporting of civil rights violations, a person acting in good faith who reports or otherwise participates in the reporting, investigative, or disciplinary process of an alleged violation of University civil rights policy may not be subjected to any disciplinary action by the University for any violation by the person of the University's code of conduct reasonably related to the incident unless suspension or expulsion from the University is a possible punishment. This amnesty does not apply to a person who perpetrates or assists in the perpetration of the incident that violates University civil rights policy.

Interim Measures

When a violation of the University civil rights policy is reported, the University will consider interim measures to protect involved persons and/or the community while the incident is investigated and during any related disciplinary process. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to, changes to academic, living, transportation, working situations, or protective measures.  The University will make such accommodations or provide such protective measures if requested and if they are reasonably available, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the alleged violations to University Police or local law enforcement. The University will assess whether an interim measure will involve making these changes to the alleged victim or accused person’s circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Investigation Procedures

The Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator assigns an investigator to evaluate a civil rights complaint and to prepare a written investigation report. During a formal investigation, the investigator will follow these steps:

Step One: Formal Investigation Initiated

The investigator opens a formal investigation of the complaint by providing contemporaneous notice to the complainant (the alleged victim) and respondent (the alleged perpetrator). The notice includes (1) a brief description of the factual allegations, (2) notice of the applicable code of conduct or policy that is alleged to have been violated, (3) a copy of University civil rights policy, and (4) a summary of available interim measures and other resources, if applicable.

Step Two: Consideration of Interim Measures

Although interim measures may have already been considered, following the filing of a formal complaint, the Investigator will consider interim measures to protect involved parties while the incident is investigated.

Step Three: Response to a Complaint

A respondent will be expected to respond to a notice of complaint by contacting the investigator within five (5) business days.  The investigator may extend the time for response for good cause. The response, either in writing or in person, should address and respond to the specific allegations made in the complaint and can include any other rebuttal information. An investigation will proceed even if the respondent fails to respond.

Step Four: Investigation

The investigator's full investigation will typically include interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and witnesses. The investigator will also gather such other relevant information, and will also review any information submitted by the complainant, respondent, or witnesses.

Step Five: Investigation Findings and Conclusion

Based on the information developed through the investigation, the investigator will issue findings of facts as soon as practicable following the initial complaint. The investigator’s report must include at least the following: (1) a description of the alleged prohibited conduct; (2) a summary of the evidence and statements of the various witnesses and parties; (3) the investigator’s evaluation of the credibility and reliability of the witnesses and evidence; and (4) the investigator’s findings and conclusions as to whether the respondent violated University civil rights policy. The investigator’s report may include the investigator’s findings and conclusions regarding any alleged violations by the respondent of any other University policy or code of conduct provision.

The investigator submits the final investigation report to the University administrator with designated oversight for the disciplinary process that applies to the respondent (complaints against students are submitted to the Dean of Students; complaints against faculty are submitted to the Provost; complaints against other employees are submitted to the Vice President of Human Resources).