Frequently Asked Question



  Question:

    Does WSU have a policy protecting Civil Rights?

          Yes, Weber State University does have a policy protecting your Civil Rights.

          When you talk about "civil rights," what is included?

Answer:

Policy 3-32 at Weber State University defines the types of discrimination that are covered. They         Include educational or employment-related treatment based on race,- color, ethnic background,               national origin, religion, creed, age, lack of American citizenship, disability, status of veteran of                 the Vietnam era, sexual orientation or gender.


Question:

    Does the policy protect white males, too?

Answer:

    Yes. Everyone on campus, whether male or female, older or younger, ethnic minority or majority, is protected from unlawful discrimination based on any of these.


Question:

    If I file a formal civil rights complaint, what is involved in the investigation?

Answer:

    At a minimum, both the complaining and responding parties will be interviewed and signed statements will be taken. In addition, witnesses named by the parties, and possibly others, will be interviewed. Signed statements will be obtained where witnesses have relevant information. All of that evidence will be included in an investigation report prepared by the AA/EO Office.

Question:

    What happens to the investigation report once it is complete?

Answer:

    The report is sent to the vice president who has supervisory authority over the responding party. That vice president makes the decision whether or not to take action(s), and if so, to determine what action is appropriate.

Question:

    Do I get to see the report and have my reaction to it included when it is sent to the vice president?

Answer:

    The complaining and responding parties are given copies of the report before it is sent to the vice president. If any party wants to include additional evidence or statements, they have that right.

Question:

    What if I don't like the vice president's decision?

 Answer:

    You have the right to appeal that decision to a review board. A review board is similar to a jury in that it includes students [employees] such as yourself.

Question:

    Can the respondent appeal, too?

Answer:

    Yes, all parties have the right to appeal.

Question:

    Is sexual harassment a "civil rights" violation?

Answer:

    Discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, as well as harassing behavior based on race, religion, and the other protected classifications is covered by civil rights protections.

Question:

          Does the Civil Rights policy cover this?

    I feel I deserved a better grade in this course, but the professor dumped on me because I disagree with her in class.

    My instructor is threatened by my personality because I'm so assertive, so he won't call on me in class anymore.

Answer:

    Students sometimes feel they were treated unfairly at Weber State University for reasons that do not have anything to with their gender, ethnic background, religion or other civil rights classification. These people may wish to pursue their non-civil rights grievance through other offices on campus.

Question:

    If a professor gives me an unfair grade, what can I do?

Answer:

    If a faculty member fails to follow the course syllabus or uses arbitrary or unfair evaluation procedures students can appeal through the procedures outlined in the Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. That procedure begins by students discussing the disagreement with the faculty member involved. From there, the dispute can be appealed through the department chair, dean and ultimately the college's designated hearing officer.

Question:

           Am I the only one who feels this way?

    This whole thing has been one of the worst experiences of my life.

    I don't want to talk to a man about this. It's embarrassing enough talking to another woman.

Answer:

    Bringing a civil rights complaint can be emotionally difficult. There are often feelings of anger, embarrassment and sometimes, even guilt to deal with when there has been a civil rights violation. Going through the complaint investigation can bring out these feelings again. It is common to want or need some support.

 Question:

    What kind of support is there for me as I go through this?

 Answer:

    Many places on campus can provide support for victims of discrimination. They include:

          The Counseling and Psychological Services Center
          The Center for Multicultural Students.
          The Center for Students with Disabilities.
          The Center for Women Students.
          Veterans Affairs. 


Question:

    If I believe that the reason the professor gave me a low grade is because of my ethnic background or religion, where do I go?

Answer:

    The office within the University with responsibility for investigating discrimination complaints is the Affirmative Action Office. It is located on the first floor of the Miller Administration building.  The office's phone number is 626-6239.

Question:

    How soon do I have to file a complaint after I have been discriminated against?

Answer:

    It is best to bring a complaint as quickly as possible, but Weber State University's policy allows discrimination complaints to be filed up to six months after the most recent discriminatory act.

Question:

    Do I have to report the problem to the AA/EO Office?

Answer:

    You can confront the person directly or you can report the problem to a supervisor. You can contact any number of offices around campus such as the Centers for Women Students, Multicultural Students, and Students with Disabilities. Perhaps the most comfortable person for you to discuss the problem with is a trusted faculty or staff member.

Question:

    What if I just want to get information?

Answer:

    Any of these offices should be able to give you information. The AA/EO Office, however, can give you the fullest explanation of your rights.

    Support can include counseling services, mediation, and having someone physically accompany the complainant during the process of filing the discrimination complaint.


Question: 

           Is the AA/EO office fair?

    Doesn't the Affirmative Action Office work for the University? They'll never believe me. They'll just protect the employee.

Answer:

    The role of the Affirmative Action Office is to be a neutral and impartial investigator. The University's interest is best served by thoroughly and fairly determining if the University's policy has been violated.

Question:

              I don't trust anyone on this campus.  I want someone else to handle this.  

              Do I have the right to file a complaint with an agency outside of the University?"

Answer:

    Most civil rights are protected by state and federal laws with agencies to investigate those rights such as the Office of Civil Rights in Denver, Colorado, and the EEOC in Phoenix, Arizona and the Utah Industrial Commission's Anti-Discrimination Division in Salt Lake city.

Question:

    Do I have the right to bring a lawsuit against the University or the person who discriminated against me?

Answer:

    Civil rights laws typically allow lawsuits to be brought in courts. Often, complainants must allow the administrative agencies to investigate complaints before lawsuits can be filed in court. The Affirmative Action Office can provide more information, or you can contact your lawyer.

Question:

    Do I have to do anything, at all?

Answer:

    You can choose to do nothing, but the risks of that choice also need to be considered. Will the situation continue or even get worse or will the person who you feel is violating your rights do similar things to others?

Question:

    What if I just want to try to work it out with the person who is giving me the problem?

Answer:

    If you want to try that you are encouraged to do so. Here are some suggestions, if you do:
      Keep a complete record or diary.
      Record each action you took, when and where you did it, and any witnesses who were present.
      Also record the response of the other person. Did she or he apologize? Did he or she agree not to engage in the objectionable behavior in the future?
      If you write the person a letter, be sure to save a copy and note the date you sent it, or send it certified mail.

Question:

    Complaint investigations sound like they are a big deal and would take too long. The semester's almost over.

    What if I want the AA/EO Office to try to work the problem out informally without a formal complaint and investigation?

    How soon do I have to contact one of these agencies?

Answer:

    The statutes of limitations vary from law to law although most are either 180 or 300 days. It is prudent to find out as soon as possible. The AA/EO Office frequently helps to resolve problems without any formal complaint being filed. Problems can often be corrected quickly by an informal resolution. For example, a student can be assigned to a different section of a course or a voluntary shift change can separate employees who are having a conflict with each other. If you would like to try an informal resolution first, you retain the right to file a formal complaint later.

Question:

    Are there any protections for me if I do report the problem? What if the person tries to get back at me by lowering my grade or denying me a merit increase?

Answer:

    There are very strong protections against any retaliatory actions. You cannot be punished for raising a civil rights issue. Witnesses or others who participate in a complaint are also protected. This protection does not include knowingly providing false statements.

Question:

    Do I have to tell the AA/EO investigator my name? Do I have to sign a formal complaint? What if I want the whole matter kept confidential?

Answer:

    You can get confidential information about your rights without disclosing your name. If you want action taken, however, then you may be required to sign a formal complaint that the respondent will see. Due Process guarantees that a person cannot be disciplined without being given the opportunity to respond to the charges. This includes knowing who is bringing the charges.