Complaint Resolution Process

Complaint Resolution Process

This section is intended to explain the complaint resolution process from making a report to the different pathways for resolution. This section is updated as new revisions to the policy are issued. 

Redwood Forrest
For concerns related to sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and sexual violence that occurred on and/or after August 14, 2020, please go to our Sexual Violence Prevention and Response website to understand the process for reviewing and responding to these concerns.

After a Report is Submitted

Initial Assessment of a Report / Immediate Health and Safety

Once a report is received, HDAPP typically will send an outreach email to the complainant offering them the opportunity to schedule an intake appointment. Please note intake appointments are not always done. For example, an intake would not occur if the report is submitted anonymously and/or the complainant made the report directly to HDAPP. If an intake appointment does not occur, start reading at "Reviewing Information."

  • Intake Appointment
  • During an intake appointment, it is the complainant's opportunity to hear about our process. Support resources (i.e., confidential resources) are also shared in this meeting. This appointment is also the complainant's opportunity to share their experience and answer any additional questions the HDAPP representative may have about the report. It is helpful to hear from the complainant about the impact the experience had on them, and their desired resolution. All complainant's are welcome to have a support person accompany them. These appointments can be done in person or by phone. 

    If other complainant's names are disclosed during the intake appointment, HDAPP may also send these individuals an outreach message allowing them the opportunity to make a report and ensure they are connected to resources.

    Please note complainants are not required to schedule an intake appointment. If someone determines not to accept the offer for an intake appointment,  the University may still need to respond based off the information reported. This is why it is helpful to hear first-hand from the complainant about their experience and their desired resolution.  
  • Initial Assessment 
  • Based on the information received (e.g., by the report and/or intake meeting, HDAPP will make an initial assessment, including a limited factual inquiry when appropriate, to determine:

    • whether the report on its face alleges an act of Prohibited Conduct as defined in the appropriate policy; and
    • if so, whether the Prohibited Conduct is covered by this Policy, as described in the appropriate policy.
  • Consultation/Immediate Health and Safety Assessment
  • The Chief Compliance Officer may consult with other offices as necessary. This can be done once a report is received, after an intake, or before/after an intake. This may include Academic Personnel Offices for complaints involving faculty and other academic appointees, with Student Affairs Offices for complaints involving students, and with Human Resources or Employee and Labor Relations Offices for complaints involving staff.

    The Chief Compliance Officer, in coordination with the Case Management Team, and in consultation with the Complainant when possible, will:
    • make an immediate assessment of the health and safety of the Complainant and the campus community,
    • determine and oversee interim measures that are immediately necessary (including no contact orders), and
    • provide to the Complainant a written explanation of rights and reporting options (including the right to report to the police), and available campus and community resources.

Closure After Initial Assessment

After our initial assessment of the information provided, HDAPP will be closing its file due to the fact the university determines that:

  • even if true, the alleged conduct is not Prohibited Conduct;

  • the conduct is not covered by the appropriate Policy;
  • there is not enough information to carry out a Resolution Process (for example, the identities of the people involved);
  • a Complainant’s request that no Formal Investigation occur can be honored; or
  •  there is not enough nexus between the conduct and the University to carry out a Resolution Process (for example, the conduct did not occur in the context of a University program, activity, or service, and involved only third parties).

This does not mean that the events did or did not occur as alleged, or that they were or were not appropriate. Rather, there was insufficient information to support the allegations of discrimination and harassment under review

Closure with Referral and/or Supportive Measures

When appropriate, HDAPP will take steps to stop the reported conduct, prevent its escalation or recurrence, and address its effects. This can either be done through supportive measures and/or referrals.

  • Supportive Measures
  • Such steps may include, for example, offering resources and supportive measures to the Complainant and providing targeted preventive education (including to the Respondent) and training programs.
  • Referrals
  • When the reported conduct is not Prohibited Conduct (such as stalking or harassment of a non-sexual nature), the Chief Compliance Officer will, if appropriate, refer the matter to another office for review and resolution. These offices include, but are not limited to: The Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs and Employee and Labor Relations

    The concern may be closed without a referral if the concern is a protected action (i.e., Freedom of Expression) or not related to another University department. Often these cases are noted for climate purposes.

Next Steps

After a concern has been initially assessed, Reports of Prohibited Conduct that are not closed after the Title IX Officer’s initial assessment may be addressed through one of our resolution pathways outlined below. Regardless which path is chosen to resolve the concern, the complainant would be informed of the action taken. 

  • Supportive Measures/Early Resolution
  • Most discrimination and harassment cases are resolved via Early Resolution.  Supportive measures are used for sexual violence and sexual harassment  to support a Complainant who is not involved in a Resolution Process (see Section V.A.5), but the information is still concerning that the University determines it needs to respond.

    Supportive Measures/Early Resolution can include remedies such as:
    • Helping you communicate directly with the other person.
    • Arranging for a UCD official to talk with the other person (a “no-fault” or “notice” conversation.)
    • Helping parties agree to certain changes in how you interact.
    • Separating you and the other person.
    • Negotiating a disciplinary agreement with the other person.
    • Conducting training on discrimination for an individual, department or group.
    • Using Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) or the Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) for emotional support.
    • Other strategies you and the University agree to try.

    Please note at this stage no complainants are named. However, respondents may be informed of allegations at this stage and can assume based on the information provided who the complainant is. That is why we emphasize retaliation is prohibited. For information on retaliation, please see Understanding the Process.
  • Alternative Resolution (only Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment cases)
  • After an initial assessment of the alleged facts, the Title IX Officer may—if the Complainant and Respondent agree—begin an Alternative Resolution process. The Title IX Officer will, if appropriate, begin the process in consultation with other offices depending on whether the Complainant and Respondent are faculty, other academic appointees, staff, student employees, or students.

    Alternative Resolution may include, among other responses:
    • separating the parties;
    • providing for safety;
    • referring the parties to counseling;
    •mediation (except in cases of sexual violence);
    • referral for disciplinary action;
    • an agreement between the parties;
    • conducting targeted preventive educational and training programs; and
    • conducting a follow-up review to ensure that the resolution has been carried out effectively.

    Alternative Resolution may be especially useful when:
    • a Formal Investigation is not likely to lead to a resolution;
    • both parties prefer an informal process; or
    • a case involves less serious allegations

    Once the parties have agreed to the terms of an Alternative Resolution, the University will not conduct a Formal Investigation unless the Title IX Officer determines that the Respondent failed to satisfy the terms of the Alternative Resolution, or that the Alternative Resolution was unsuccessful in stopping the Prohibited Conduct or preventing its recurrence. 

    For alternative resolution to be successful, both parties must agree to the outcome. This means that no action, including referral for discipline, will typically occur unless both the Complainant and Respondent agree. Sometimes, though, alternative resolution includes actions by the University to support the Complainant—the Respondent need not agree to or know about these. Either party can terminate the alternative resolution process at any time before it is completed.  If the alternative resolution process is terminated or either party chooses not to agree to the alternative resolution process, either the formal investigation process or DOE grievance process (if applicable) will generally be used to resolve the conflict. Additionally, the Title IX Officer can terminate the process if it appears that the process will not be successful.

    For more information on Alternative Resolution, please see this document: Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Resolution Process Frequently Asked Questions
  • Formal Investigation
  • Most complaints are resolved through Preventative Measures or Alternative Resolution, but some cases may need to be investigated before they can be resolved.The Title IX Officer will begin a Formal investigation when they decide not to close a report after their initial assessment and either (i) Alternative Resolution and Other Inquiry are not appropriate, or (ii) the parties do not agree to participate in Alternative Resolution or it ends before they agree on terms. he Title IX Officer may coordinate the investigation with other offices, depending on the identities of the Complainant and Respondent (that is, faculty, other academic appointees, staff, or students.). Usually in cases of sexual violence, a formal investigation will be charged.

    If the Complainant does not want a Formal Investigation, the Title IX Officer will seriously consider this preference. However, the Title IX Officer may determine an investigation is necessary to mitigate a risk to the campus community. If the Title IX Officer begins a Formal Investigation despite the Complainant’s request, the Title IX Officer will provide the Complainant with all information required by this Policy unless the Complainant states in writing that they do not want it.

    If the Title IX Officer does not begin a Formal Investigation, they will inform the Complainant that this limits possible remedies. The Title IX Officer will nonetheless provide measures as appropriate and consistent with Complainant’s privacy and the absence of a Formal Investigation.

    If the University decides a formal investigation is necessary, the Chief Compliance Officer appoints an official investigator. The complainant and the respondent will be notified of the investigation. The investigator will conduct separate interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and other potential witnesses. The investigator may recommend that certain steps (interim measures) be taken to protect the complainant or witnesses at any time during the investigation. The investigator will prepare and submit a report addressing whether or not University policy was violated. If there is a finding of a policy violation, the University will consider disciplinary action against the respondent and/or other remedies that may be appropriate. 

    Please note the specific procedures for investigating and resolving complaints of Prohibited Conduct depend on the Respondent’s identity and relationship to the University. 
    • Where the Respondent is a student, the procedures are in Appendix E: Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Student Investigation and Adjudication Framework of the Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations, and Students, and local implementing procedures.
    • Where the Respondent is a faculty member, the procedures are in the Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Investigation and Adjudication Framework for Senate and Non-Senate Faculty, and local implementing procedures.
    • Where the Respondent is a staff member or non-faculty academic employee, the procedures are in the Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Investigation and Adjudication Framework for Staff and Non-Faculty Academic Personnel, and local implementing procedures.

    For more information about Formal Investigation for Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment cases, please see this document: Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Resolution Process Frequently Asked Questions