Investigation Overview

Overview

The Office of Equity and Inclusion can respond to reported incidents by facilitating formal and informal resolutions.

Formal resolutions are commonly referred to as "investigations" and include the gathering of evidence, interviews with involved parties, the creation of an formal investiagtive report, and a determination made by the Executive Director of OEI about policy violations and sanctions (if appropriate).

Informal resolutions involve parties involved reaching mutually agreeable terms to resolve a complaint alleging harassment or discrimination. Not all alleged violations of the Harassment, Discrimination, Sexual and Relationship Misconduct policy can be resolved informally. Allegations of sexual misconduct, for instance, must be addressed through the formal resolution process.

Reports made to OEI will typically result in some level of preliminary inquiry (i.e. fact finding) by the office to determine the most appropriate steps for addressing the alleged misconduct and resolving the complaint.

Investigation Flowchart (PDF)

Preliminary Inquiry

Preliminary Inquiry

Upon receipt of a report, the Office of Equity and Inclusion will conduct a preliminary inquiry to make a threshold assessment as to whether the report states allegations, that if substantiated, would violate the policy or a potential violation of federal and/or state laws has occurred.

If the preliminary inquiry determines the allegations, if substantiated, the inquiry will continue with the resolution process. If the preliminary inquiry finds that the allegations are insufficient to rise to the level of a policy violation, the Office of Equity and Inclusion will notify the reporting party (and responding party, if applicable) of this result, and no further action will be taken at that time. In this case, the reporting party retains the ability to provide further information and/or evidence regarding their complaint to the Office of Equity and Inclusion in the future. Should new information/evidence be provided to the Office of Equity and Inclusion after the threshold assessment process has been completed, the Office of Equity and Inclusion may revisit the original assessment to determine the impact the new information/evidence may have on the Executive Directorís original determination.

A preliminary inquiry will be completed as soon as possible; the time required to complete a preliminary inquiry will depend on the nature and scope of the complaint.  The Office of Equity and Inclusion will communicate progress and delays with the preliminary inquiry to the reporting party.

If the Preliminary Inquiry indicates that the allegations, if substantiated, would violate the policy, the reporting party has the right to request an informal or formal resolution process.  A formal resolution may be required in situations where the responding partyís behavior has an impact on individuals other than the reporting party or in situations where the complaint indicates an escalating pattern of harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct.

Informal Resolutions

Informal Resolutions

Informal resolution is an alternative to the formal complaint resolution process. The Office of Equity and Inclusion will determine if informal resolution is appropriate, based on the nature of the alleged conduct and the desire of the parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Sanctions are generally not pursued as the result of an informal resolution process, although the parties may mutually agree to appropriate remedies (e.g. no contact restriction).

The Office of Equity and Inclusion will keep records of any informal resolution that is reached, although the outcome of an informal resolution will not become part of a student, staff, or faculty memberís official disciplinary record with the University. The University reserves the right to cancel the informal resolution process if sufficient evidence suggests a formal investigation or other sanctions or remedies may be necessary and appropriate.

It is not necessary to pursue an informal resolution in order to make a formal complaint.  Anyone participating in informal resolution can choose to discontinue that process at any time and request the formal process.

For more information about Informal Resolutions, please see the "Investigative Procedures" portion of the Harassment, Discrimination, Sexual and Relationship Misconduct Policy.

Full Policy (PDF)

Fomal Resolutions

Fomal Resolutions

In situations alleging harassment, discrimination, sexual and/or relationship misconduct, the individual(s) making such allegations has the right to bypass the informal resolution process and file a formal complaint.  If an individual has completed the informal resolution process and the allegation of harassment, discrimination, sexual and/or relationship misconduct is not resolved to the satisfaction of the individual, they have the right to submit a formal complaint to the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Additionally, the Office of Equity and Inclusion has the authority to pursue a formal complaint with the Office serving as the reporting party.

a. The complaint shall set forth in reasonably sufficient detail the nature of the alleged harassment, discrimination, sexual and/or relationship misconduct, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is made, the name(s) of any witnesses, and any available evidence or sources of evidence.

b. If there is the potential of a violation of the Harassment, Discrimination, Sexual and Relationship Misconduct Policy or violation of federal and state laws, the Office of Equity and Inclusion will assign an investigative team consisting of one or more trained investigators to conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation. This process starts with a Preliminary Inquiry.

c. At the commencement of the formal investigation, the reporting party and responding party will receive concurrent written notification of the formal resolution process.  This notification will include information on the investigative process, including but not limited to the rights of both parties and any protective measures that have been put into place. 

d. If an investigative team is assigned, both the reporting party and responding party have the right to consult with an advisor of their choice throughout the investigative process (see Investigative Procedures,  (d) for additional information on advisors.)

e. The investigative team will objectively gather and consider relevant facts. The investigative team will ensure that statements of the reporting party, the responding party, and all witnesses are documented and that the investigation is conducted in a thorough, objective, and timely manner and is respectful of all of the parties involved. The investigative team will also gather relevant evidence from the reporting party, responding party, and witnesses, as well as from other sources as necessary. Incidents reported to the Office of Equity and Inclusion under this policy that involve students may, at times, also involve allegations of Student Code of Conduct violations.  To the extent that these alleged violations directly relate to the allegations under the Harassment, Discrimination, Sexual and Relationship Misconduct Policy, they may be evaluated as part of the Office of Equity and Inclusion investigation and addressed as a part of the investigation outcome.   For more information on how Code of Conduct violations will be addressed in this process, see the Creighton University Student Handbook.

f. The Office of Equity and Inclusion strives to conclude the formal resolution process within 60 calendar days.  This timeline includes the investigative team conducting interviews, gathering evidence, affording the reporting and responding parties the opportunity to respond to the evidence, and completing the investigative report. The reporting party and responding party will be notified in writing of any reasonable delays during this process.

g. In consultation with the appropriate University authority, the Executive Director for Equity and Inclusion will make a decision on the action, if any, to be taken.

i.  The appropriate University authority in matters involving complaints where the responding party is a student is the Vice Provost for Student Life or designee

ii. The appropriate University authority in matters involving complaints where the responding party is a member of the faculty is the Dean of the College or School of the responding party or designee. 

iii. The appropriate University authority in matters involving complaints where the responding party is a member of the staff is the Associate Vice President for Human Resources or designee.

iv. Additionally, the Executive Director for Equity and Inclusion may also consult other University officials in order to make a determination.

h. In all cases of formal investigations into allegations of harassment, discrimination, sexual and/or relationship misconduct, an investigative report summarizing the findings of the investigative team shall be available for review by the reporting party, the responding party, and to the appropriate University authorities. Copies of investigative reports are not provided to participants, but are available to view upon request to the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

i. The Executive Director for Equity and Inclusion will accept or reject the findings and/or recommendations of the investigative report using a preponderance of evidence standard.

j. The Executive Director for Equity and Inclusion will communicate notice of the findings and recommendations to the reporting party and the responding party at the same time. The University will take immediate and corrective action if appropriate.