The Catholic University of America

Discrimination Complaint Policy


Approved by: President and his Council
History: Issued    -- December 2003  
  Revised  -- August 1, 2007  
  Additional History
Related Policies:  
Additional References: Discrimination Complaint Procedures; Title IX Website
Responsible Official:

Equal Opportunity Officer/Employee Relations Director tel. (202) 319-6594


I. Introduction

All students, faculty, and staff must fully and in a timely way cooperate with the Office of Equal Opportunity as it conducts investigations into complaints of discrimination. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

II. General Principles

The Catholic University of America is committed to resolving complaints of discrimination at the earliest and most informal level, conducting internal investigations in a timely and effective manner, adhering to the procedures as outlined herein in all investigations, and providing prompt corrective action if discrimination is believed to have occurred.

Supervisors, department chairs, deans and administrators are responsible for encouraging an environment that is free from discrimination. As such, the aforementioned individuals should forward reports of discrimination to the Equal Opportunity Office when receiving such complaints, and are expected to maintain documentation sufficient to demonstrate a timely, appropriate, and adequate response.

III. Pre-Complaint Resolution Strategies

Individuals are encouraged to first bring their concerns to the person allegedly responsible for the behavior or action. In many cases, self-corrective measures may be taken when those persons alleged to have committed inappropriate conduct become aware of how their actions or behaviors are being received. The matter may be concluded by mutual consent at this point. However, the university recognizes that such a strategy may be inappropriate or ill advised, especially when the conduct is severe or when the person responsible for the alleged behavior holds a position of authority. Thus, if satisfactory resolution does not occur, the individual should file a complaint of discrimination with the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO).

IV. Purpose and Jurisdiction of the Discrimination Complaint Procedure

The process for filing complaints is restricted to complaints of discrimination as outlined in the federal anti-discrimination statutes, the state and local laws against discrimination, and the university anti-discrimination policies and regulations. This complaint process is internal to the university and applies to incidents that take place at the university and its affiliated off-site locations and/or activities, or are related to university operations. Individuals who may utilize this complaint filing process are limited to individuals applying for enrollment or employment to the university; students; regular and research faculty; visiting faculty; teaching or research assistants; research associates; employees, administrators; and users of university services.

The aggrieved party is referred to as the complainant, while the person alleged to have engaged in discriminatory conduct is referred to as the respondent.

An aggrieved party does not have to utilize the internal process. Employees have the right to proceed directly to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a complaint of discrimination. Students may proceed directly to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education. The university encourages students, staff, and faculty to utilize the internal complaint process provided by the Office of Equal Opportunity prior to filing an external complaint.

V. Responsibility for Implementation

The President delegates to the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity overall responsibility for assuring university compliance with anti-discrimination laws and statutes, investigating internal complaints of discrimination, and maintaining an effective and impartial complaint investigation process. In addition, the President has the authority to appoint an alternate investigator at his/her discretion when circumstances require. 

VI. Confidentiality

Complainants, respondents, witnesses, and any other parties involved in a complaint of discrimination shall refrain from disclosing information about a complaint of discrimination to anyone who does not have a legitimate, business need or right to know. Violations of this clause of confidentiality are inappropriate and unprofessional and may result in disciplinary action.

VII. Timelines

The date upon which a written complaint is received by the Office of Equal Opportunity shall be referred to as the date of complaint. The Office of Equal Opportunity will make every reasonable attempt to adhere to the time limits as set forth in these procedures. However, circumstances may necessitate that an extension of time be granted for investigations. Therefore, the Director of Equal Opportunity may extend the time limits set forth in these procedures.