Filing a Complaint

The Complaint Process

The UC Santa Cruz Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is committed to conducting impartial, thorough, and timely investigations carried out by well-trained professional staff. ODEI is an office of record and as campus officials we are required to take action on certain types of reports. We cannot then make promises of absolute confidentiality and cannot always promise to take no action based on what we heard. We do promise to use the strictest “business need to know” confidentiality standard when sharing information. We provide referrals to fully confidential resources upon request.

Our goal is to conduct investigations that are as timely as possible while not sacrificing thoroughness. Barring factors out of our office control (availability and cooperation of witnesses, availability of evidence and needed documents etc.); we aim to complete investigations and relay investigation outcomes within six to twelve weeks after the complainant’s allegations are understood and confirmed. The timeline is often driven by the complexity of the complaint.

ODEI may utilize office/campus investigators or arrange for a qualified outside investigator to conduct investigations.

Investigation Standards

ODEI investigators utilize a preponderance of the evidence standard (“more likely than not”) when determining findings. ODEI investigators do not make legal determinations.  ODEI investigators determine if allegations are substantiated and also determine whether or not campus nondiscrimination policies were violated. Outside investigators usually conduct fact finding investigations into complainant allegations but may not make determinations of whether University policies were violated. ODEI customarily makes such determinations. ODEI findings and conclusions are considered final unless part of a process (grievances and PPSM 70 complaints) that allow for appeals. Complainants have the option to file with external agencies if they are not satisfied with the ODEI investigation effort, findings or conclusion.

 

  • Complaints Received Directly from Complainants

Staff, faculty and other academic employees, student employees or applicants for employment who believe they have been discriminated against are encouraged to contact the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to arrange a confidential appointment with an appropriate staff member to discuss their concerns.

At this initial consultation, the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion investigator will explore the details of the complaint, including but not limited to who is alleged to have discriminated against the complainant, specific incidents, patterns of behavior, consequences of the alleged harassment or discrimination and what remedies are being sought by the complainant. The investigator will also determine if there are any safety issues that must be addressed immediately or if interim administrative actions are prudent.

At the time of the initial consultation, the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion staff member will determine if the complaint falls within the scope of responsibility of the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. If it does not, the complainant will be referred to the appropriate office.

If it is determined that the complaint is appropriate to be handled by the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the investigator will outline the possible next steps or strategies. These might include further investigation into written records, recruitment and screening files, policies or other documents; individual interviews with others involved or implicated in the complaint; further discussions with the complainant; facilitated discussions or mediation for the purpose of attempting to resolve the problem; and/or training and education.

While there are no time requirements attached to the filing of a complaint with the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, complainants are encouraged to file their complaint as soon as possible after the alleged event(s) to allow resolution of the problem at the earliest stage possible and also to ensure that evidence is preserved.

Information contained in complaint case files, including investigation reports are shared on a "business need to know basis" standard. The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion keeps confidential records of all cases according to an established disposition schedule. Notwithstanding the requirements of litigation or court proceedings, access to this written information is limited to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion director and his/her designees including the Assistant Director for EEO. Complainants and respondents will receive an outcome letter from ODEI summarizing the allegations and investigation findings and/or may meet with ODEI staff to discuss the findings. Only the divisional principal officer in question receives the full investigation report. Complaint investigation reports may be requested through the California Public Information Act and redacted copies will be provided pursuant to applicable laws and policies. The redactions will uphold privacy and confidentiality laws and policies. Upon review of the report, findings and conclusion; the divisional principal officer will determine if and what remedial actions are called for and will oversee implementation of such remedial actions.

 

  • Third Party Reports of Alleged Discrimination/Reluctant Complainants or Respondents

As an office of record, ODEI may be required to act once the University is on notice that discrimination may have occurred. On occasion, this may require that ODEI investigates with or without the cooperation of the complainant or target/s of the discrimination.

 

  • Complaints Received from External Agencies

Charges of discrimination received from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or other external agencies are generally received by the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Investigation of these complaints shall be in accordance with the guidelines for response and timeliness established by the external agency.

To file a discrimination complaint on campus, contact:

Ciel Benedetto, Assistant Director for EEO, at (831) 459-3676 or cbene@ucsc.edu or use the Discrimination Complaint form. (This document is in Adobe format for optimal printing. If you do not have the Acrobat Reader, you may download it for free from Adobe Systems.) For a writable form or for Spanish language forms contact (831) 459-3676 or cbene@ucsc.edu. Note: While the ODEI form is not required, it is recommended as a tool to organize thoughts and provide pertinent information.