5.8 Resolution Through the Informal Process
Although an attempt to informally resolve a harassment complaint is not required before an individual may use formal procedures, the University's HCAP favors informal resolution of harassment claims whenever such resolutions can be affected fairly. The exception to this preference is in matters involving allegations of Title IX Sexual Harassment made by a student or allegations of Rape, Sexual Assault, or Sexual Imposition made by any individual. In these circumstances, the matter will automatically bypass the informal process and the Mediation option and process described in Section 5.9.2, and will proceed to a formal hearing process (Section 5.9.3 Formal Hearing Process). Despite use of any process to achieve an informal resolution, formal procedures may be instituted at any time under the procedures described in Section 5.9.
5.8.1. Achieving an Informal Resolution
- Below is a list of common approaches to resolving a matter informally. This list is not exhaustive and other approaches may be appropriate depending on the particular facts and circumstances.
- The Complainant, either alone or with another person, may meet with the Respondent to discuss the situation, identify the unwanted behavior, and make it clear that the behavior must cease. The Affirmative Action Officer or resource person can help the Complainant prepare for this meeting.
- The Affirmative Action Officer or resource person may discuss the alleged conduct with the Respondent, reminding them of University policies against harassment, and seeking a commitment by the Respondent to comply with the HCAP.
- The Respondent’s supervisor or academic advisor may be contacted and asked to help address the situation with the Respondent.
- The Affirmative Action Officer may suggest that the Complainant discuss the situation with individuals who are available through the following offices in order to determine the best way to proceed:
- Human Resources
- Dean of Students
- Center for Diversity and Inclusion
- Health and Counseling
- Psychological Services
- Campus Police
- Title IX Office (in matters of Sex Discrimination only)
5.8.2. Monthly Status Meetings
- During the informal resolution process, monthly status meetings shall be held until an informal resolution is reached, or until the formal process is initiated. This meeting should include the Complainant, the Affirmative Action Officer and/or any resource person involved in the informal resolution process.
- The first meeting shall be scheduled to occur approximately one month after the date of the decision to proceed informally made under Section 5.8.
- At each status meeting, those present will discuss what action has been taken and what action should be taken. This should include discussing whether to continue with the informal process or begin the formal process.
5.8.3. Form of an Informal Resolution
- An informal resolution may include, but is not limited to, the matter being brought to the attention of the Respondent, an agreement to terminate and not repeat specific conduct, an apology, and/or participation in education, training, or counseling. An informal resolution typically will not include any sanction against the Respondent. A complaint may also be resolved informally with the Complainant signing a Request for No Action and submitting it to the Affirmative Action Officer.
- If a complaint is filed against a non-member of the University Community, resolution of the complaint shall be limited to reporting the alleged incident to an appropriate party and/or notifying the individual he or she is not permitted on the Xavier campus.
- The Affirmative Action Officer shall review all informal resolutions so that the parties fully understand the terms.
- All resolutions resulting in an agreement between the Complainant and Respondent (e.g., an agreement not to repeat specific conduct) must be agreed to and signed by both parties. Any breach of the terms of this agreement may result in disciplinary action or a further claim of harassment. If the resolution does not include any agreement (e.g., the matter being brought to the attention of the Respondent), a statement of the resolution must only be signed by the Complainant .
- An informal resolution achieved or agreement signed by the parties does not constitute a finding of harassment. However, any conduct admitted to by the Respondent while attempting to resolve the matter informally or in resolution of the matter, may be considered in any mediation or formal hearing against the same Respondent, brought by the same Complainant. Additionally, the fact that a complaint was filed and an informal resolution was reached may be used by the Affirmative Action Officer in a formal proceeding against the Respondent as described in Section 5.8.3 or Section 5.9.
- A Complainant may request that, whenever possible, a conversation with the Respondent for purposes of resolving a complaint informally will be held without revealing the Complainant's identity directly to the Respondent. If the resolution to a specific matter is to include an agreement between the parties, the Complainant's identity must be revealed to the respondent party.
5.8.5. Record of Informally-Resolved Complaints
- After a complaint has been resolved informally, all documentation concerning the complaint will be maintained in the Affirmative Action Office under both the Complainant’s name and the Respondent's name for the shorter of: (1) five years after the resolution of the matter in which it was created, or (2) one year after the Complainant ceases all employment by and/or enrollment at Xavier University. At the end of that time period, the Affirmative Action Officer shall destroy all the documentation and shall keep permanent record only consisting of the names of the Complainant and Respondent, the status of each (e.g., faculty, student), the incident date and the date of resolution. Such records will be kept in order to document that the claim of harassment was made and that an informal resolution was reached without a finding in the situation. This documentation may be used:
- If the Complainant raises a question about how the claim was handled.
- If the Respondent wishes to establish that the matter which the same Complainant now seeks to pursue formally (by the same or a later complaint) was already informally resolved.
- Any information regarding conduct admitted to by the Respondent while attempting to informally resolve or in an informal resolution of a complaint may be provided by the Affirmative Action Officer to a Hearing Panel or Mediator to be considered in reviewing a complaint pursued formally against the Respondent, if both complaints were filed by the same Complainant.
- The fact that a complaint was filed and an informal resolution was achieved may be used by the Affirmative Action Officer in a future proceeding against the same Respondent as described in Section 5.8.3 or Section 5.9.
- In the unusual circumstance that an informal resolution does involve a sanction against the Respondent, the official responsible for implementing the sanction must maintain a record of the resolution for the purposes of enforcing the sanction. In such a case, see section 5.8.5 to determine the responsible official.