OIE Discrimination Complaint Procedures:


The University of Iowa Office of Institutional Equity investigates complaints of discrimination pursuant to the University's Policy on Human Rights, which provides, in part:

The University is committed to the principle of equal opportunity including access to facilities. Differences in treatment are prohibited when based on race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy (including childbirth and related conditions), disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preferences. This principle must be observed in the internal policies and practices of the University; specifically in the admission, housing, and education of students; in policies governing programs of extracurricular life and activities; and in the university’s treatment of applicants and its employees. Consistent with state and federal law, reasonable accommodations will be provided to persons with disabilities and to accommodate religious practices. The University shall work cooperatively with the community in furthering these principles.



Any university community member or third-party reporter may file a complaint of discrimination with the Office of Institutional Equity against any member of the university community who is believed to have violated the policy. The university itself also may bring a complaint. Where appropriate, such complaints may be filed against units, departments, or other organizational components of the University.

Complaint options

Reporting parties may file either informal or formal complaints with the Office of Institutional Equity.

Informal complaints

An informal complaint is a request that the Office of Institutional Equity seek to reach an informal resolution of the reporting party’s concerns. The procedures for such complaints are designed to be very flexible so as to enable the Office to address an individual's situation in the most effective and expeditious manner possible. Resolutions of informal complaints are accomplished with the assistance of other offices or administrators on campus in the area relevant to the complaint, and may include interim actions to protect the health or safety of the impacted party, reporting party, and/or potential witness(es) in an investigation.

In the case of an informal complaint, the responding party normally will not be informed of the reporting party’s action or identity without the consent of the reporting party unless circumstances require. No disciplinary action can be taken against the responding party on the basis of a complaint of which the responding party has not been informed.

Formal complaints

A formal complaint of discrimination involves an impartial investigation of the reporting party’s allegations by the Office of Institutional Equity. The Office will conduct an initial assessment of the allegations as stated in the complaint to determine whether to initiate an investigation. An investigation will not be initiated if: 1) the factual allegations, if true, would not constitute a violation of the policy, 2) the allegations are clearly frivolous or not made in good faith, or 3) other good cause exists to decline to investigate. Good cause may include, but is not limited to, situations where the allegations have already been investigated in a separate internal or external complaint process. When the Office determines that an investigation will not be initiated, it will inform the reporting party of that decision.

The investigation begins when the Office provides written notice to the responding party of the filing of the complaint, the identity of the reporting party, and the general allegations of the complaint. The responding party is then interviewed regarding the specifics of the allegations and given an opportunity to respond fully to the allegations. The Office may also interview other persons believed to have factual knowledge relevant to the allegations. The purpose of the investigation is to establish whether a reasonable basis exists, based on a preponderance of the evidence, to conclude that the responding party violated the Policy on Human Rights.

The Office of Institutional Equity will issue written findings outlining the basis for its conclusions. The written finding normally will be issued within sixty (60) university business days of when the complaint was filed. When it is not reasonably possible to issue the finding within that time, the Office of Institutional Equity will notify the impacted party and the responding party that the finding will be delayed and indicate the reasons for the delay. This report is provided to the administrative official responsible for the area in which the responding party is involved and the chief administrative officer in the unit (i.e., the provost in a complaint filed against a faculty member; the Vice President for the unit in the case of a staff member; or the Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students in the case of a student). Both the impacted party and the responding party also receive copies of the finding. Third-party reporting parties will be notified only that the proceedings are concluded.

If the Office of Institutional Equity concludes that a complaint of discrimination is founded, the administrative official to whom the finding has been forwarded is responsible for determining whether a sanction is appropriate. Appropriate sanctions

may range from verbal reprimand up to and including separation of the responding party from the University, in accordance with established University procedures.

Appeal Procedures

If the Office of Institutional Equity concludes that the complaint is unfounded, the reporting party may appeal the finding on the grounds that the decision was arbitrary and capricious or that the investigating office did not follow procedures resulting in prejudice to the reporting party. Appeals must be made electronically or in writing and submitted together with all supporting documentation to the Office of Institutional Equity within ten (10) university business days of the receipt of the finding. Generally, within two (2) university business days, the Office of Institutional Equity will transmit the notice of appeal and the case record to the appropriate appeal officer as follows:

the Executive Vice President and Provost if the responding party is a faculty member or fellow;

the Vice President for Human Resources if the responding party is a staff member (organized or non-organized professional and scientific, organized or non-organized merit staff), graduate assistant, or post-doctoral appointee;

the Vice President for Student Life if the responding party is a student, including medical residents.

If the responding party is not a member of the university community, the Office of Institutional Equity will examine the facts and circumstances of the underlying complaint and assign the appeal for response accordingly.

The appeal officer, or the appeal officer’s designee, will issue a written decision on the appeal to the reporting party and the Office of Institutional Equity within twenty (20) university business days of the receipt of the appeal. All deadlines contained herein may be modified where the complexity of the case or the severity of the allegations warrant variation from the normal appeal process timelines.

In cases where the appeal is denied, such action constitutes final university action on the matter, subject to appeal to the Board of Regents. In cases where the appeal is successful, in whole or in part, the appeal officer will advise the Office of Institutional Equity regarding appropriate measures to address the issues of concern raised in the appeal.

For complaints that conclude in a finding that there is a reasonable basis to believe that a policy violation has occurred and sanctions have been imposed, responding parties may appeal such findings and/or sanctions through the disciplinary grievance procedures applicable to them.


The Office of Institutional Equity treats as confidential information received in connection with the filing, investigation, and resolution of complaints. It is anticipated and expected that the parties to a complaint will observe the same standard of strict confidentiality. This practice is in the best interests of all parties to the complaint. Failure to respect confidentiality may be regarded as retaliation.

In keeping with this practice, the Office of Institutional Equity will obtain the reporting party’s written authorization to collect and discuss information relating to the complaint with other appropriate individuals, either witnesses or administrators who need to be informed of the allegations of the complaint in order to cooperate with the investigation or to implement any resolution of the complaint.


The Office of Institutional Equity will provide general information about the complaint procedures upon request. However, if an individual wishes to discuss a specific incident confidentially without filing a complaint, he or she should contact the Office of the Ombudsperson, 308 Jefferson Building, 319-335-3608.


In addition to filing a complaint with the University of Iowa, individuals who believe they may have been the subject of discrimination prohibited by state and/or federal law(s) may contact one or more of the following agencies for advice, assistance, and explanation of filing deadlines.

Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC)

400 E. 14th Street, Grimes Building Des Moines, Iowa 50319 Tel. (515) 281-4121, 1-800-457-4416 Fax (515) 242-5840 Website: https://icrc.iowa.gov/ (link is external)

The ICRC enforces Chapter 216 of the Code of Iowa, as amended, (The Iowa Civil Rights Act), which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, age (18 and older), creed, national origin, color, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, or religion.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

500 West Madison St., Suite 2000 Chicago, IL 60662 Tel. 1-800-669-4000 or 312-869-8001 (TDD)

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), genetics, national origin, or retaliation; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects persons age 40 or older; and disability, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance:
Title VI

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, related statutes and regulations provide that no person shall on the ground of race, color, national origin, gender, or disabilities be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal funds.

Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits or, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in employment and education and require affirmative action in employment for persons with disabilities.

If you believe you have been discriminated against in a program of any institution which receives Federal assistance, you may contact the Federal agency providing such assistance.

Federal Contracts or Subcontracts

Applicants to and employees of organizations with a federal government contract or subcontract are protected under Federal law from discrimination on the following bases.

Race, Color, Religion, Sex, National Origin

Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibits job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and requires affirmative action to ensure equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.

Individuals with Disabilities

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, protects qualified individuals from discrimination on the basis of disability in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. Disability discrimination includes not making reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, barring undue hardship. Section 503 also requires that Federal contractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities at all levels of employment, including the executive level.

Disabled, Recently Separated, Other Protected, and Armed Forces Service Medal Veterans

The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212, prohibits job discrimination and requires affirmative action to employ and advance in employment disabled veterans, recently separated veterans (within three years of discharge or release from active duty), other protected veterans (veterans who served during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized), and Armed Forces service medal veterans (veterans who, while on active duty, participated in a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded).


Retaliation is prohibited against a person who files a complaint of discrimination, participates in an OFCCP proceeding, or otherwise opposes discrimination under these Federal laws.

Any person who believes a contractor has violated its nondiscrimination or affirmative action obligations under the authorities listed above may contact:

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) U.S. Department of Labor 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20210 Tel. 1-800-397-6251 (toll-free) or (202) 693-1337 (TTY) The OFCCP may also be contacted by e-mail at OFCCP-Public@dol.gov (link sends e-mail), or by calling an OFCCP regional or district office, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor.

Violations of these university policies are investigated by the Office of Institutional Equity. Copies of these policies including complaint procedures are available upon request from: Office of Institutional Equity 202 Jessup Hall Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316

(319) 335-0705 E-mail: oie-ui@uiowa.edu (link sends e-mail)