Table of Contents
Please use the contact section in the governing policy.
Is it retaliatory for a respondent to contact a complainant during the grievance process?
Depending on the nature of the contact, a respondent’s contact with a complainant could be retaliation in violation of University policy. Therefore, we advise against it. In addition, a respondent’s contact with a complainant during the grievance process into the complainant’s concerns could undermine the integrity of that grievance process.
Where ongoing contact between the parties is necessary and appropriate, the campus Title IX office can help put measures in place to mitigate that contact. For example, in some cases involving coworkers, it might be necessary and appropriate for the parties to continue some contact in the employment setting. In these cases, the campus Title IX office may help implement requirements that a third party be present during meetings or be copied on emails between the parties, or some other intervention.
Can a complainant retaliate against a respondent?
To retaliate against a respondent under this policy, a complainant would need to take adverse action against the respondent: 1) with the purpose of interfering with a right under this policy; or 2) because the respondent reported prohibited conduct, expressed opposition to prohibited conduct, participated in a grievance process, or refused to participate in a grievance process. A complainant’s adverse actions against a respondent for other reasons would not constitute prohibited retaliation.
Is it retaliation for a complainant to publicly state that the respondent engaged in prohibited conduct?
Generally not. This conduct would only constitute retaliation if done 1) with the purpose of interfering with a right under this policy; or 2) because the respondent reported prohibited conduct, expressed opposition to prohibited conduct, participated in a grievance process, or refused to participate in a grievance process. However, a complainant’s discussion with potential witnesses about the facts underlying an investigation or the investigation process, or public dissemination of this information, could undermine the integrity of an investigation and is not recommended.
Can a respondent retaliate against a complainant even if it is determined in the grievance process that the respondent did not violate the prohibited conduct policy as the complainant alleged?
Yes. Retaliation against a complainant for making a prohibited conduct report is prohibited even if it was determined that the respondent did not engage in prohibited conduct in violation of University policy.
Does the retaliation policy apply to witnesses?
Yes. Witnesses are protected from being retaliated against for their participation in a grievance process, or decision not to participate in a grievance process. Witnesses are also prohibited from engaging in retaliation against others.
When does one student’s conduct against another student rise to the level of retaliation?
In most cases, retaliation occurs when one individual has formal power over the other (because they are a supervisor or instructor) and uses that power to disadvantage the other individual because they reported or opposed misconduct.
However, retaliation can also occur in a peer to peer context. For example, threats of violence, actual physical violence, sharing of intimate or personal images, and destruction of property are adverse actions that could constitute retaliation if undertaken because a peer reported or opposed misconduct. Actions by an individual that directly disrupt a peer’s ability to participate in University programs and activities could also constitute retaliation if undertaken because the peer reported or opposed misconduct.
Alternately, an individual’s decision not to associate with a peer outside the academic context, or to make negative comments about a peer outside of and unrelated to the academic context, are unlikely to be the types of adverse actions that would constitute retaliation.
What should I do if I believe I am being retaliated against?
We encourage you to contact the campus Title IX office if you believe you are experiencing retaliation. Employees may also contact their supervisor or Human Resources.