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Human Rights Policy


Preamble

As an institution dedicated to the improvement of the human condition collectively and individually through higher education, the University of Illinois at Springfield is fully committed to human rights in all of their various forms. This policy of human rights is adopted in pursuit of the realization of this commitment.

It is the policy of the campus to maintain an educational and work environment in which each member of the community may enjoy his or her rights as a human being free of discrimination or harassment. It is the policy of the campus to provide equal opportunity and to promote affirmative action.

The UIS chancellor is responsible for ensuring the implementation of these non-discrimination, equal opportunity, and affirmative action policies and programs. The UIS community is responsible for developing and maintaining attitudes, values, and actions that lead to community understanding of the value and importance of these policies and their effective implementation.

This document sets forth UIS’ basic commitment to the right of the members of its community to non-discrimination, to equal opportunity, and to affirmative action.

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Affirmative Action Policy

The University of Illinois at Springfield is dedicated to achieving an educational and work environment which reflects the diversity of our nation. To accomplish this, the University of Illinois at Springfield is committed to affirmative action for students, staff, faculty, and applicants to the campus through:

the elimination of any practice which is found to establish or perpetuate discrimination, the intensified recruitment of members of protected classes and practices to ensure retention and success in education and employment, and the analysis of campus practices and policies, and the adoption of new or revised practices and policies when necessary to ensure affirmative action.

It is the policy of the University of Illinois at Springfield to require that all personnel actions involving its employees, students, and others be governed by an affirmative action program in compliance with this policy and with the Illinois Statutes, the rules of the University Civil Service System, and applicable Federal Executive Orders such as 11246 and 11375 as amended, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, Title VI, Title VII, and other pertinent statutes and regulations.

It shall be the practice of the University of Illinois at Springfield to recruit, hire, train, retain, and promote qualified individuals from protected classes. Following recruitment, training, or promotion appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that members of protected classes who are employed are given fair and equitable treatment in assignments, duties, and salaries.

This policy, which is intended for those employed directly by UIS, will be extended to include contractual agreements with contractors, vendors, and suppliers.

At regular intervals all job categories will be evaluated to determine whether affirmative action has been extended to members of protected classes and whether affirmative action goals have been met. If deficiencies are found to exist, appropriate steps will be taken to correct staffing procedures to more fully meet the goals.

The Affirmative Action Plan shall seek to intensify recruitment from protected classes based upon an analysis of representation in both the campus work force, other comparable work forces, and the pool of potential applicants. The plan shall also seek to ensure that both job candidates and incumbent employees are afforded affirmative action in the processes of recruitment, selection, training, retention, and promotion. Efforts will be made to train individuals from protected classes who demonstrate potential to fill job requirements.

Based on the available underutilization data, goals will be established for set periods with an understanding that each year the goals will be revised according to availability and utilization. An annual report will be distributed each spring to the UIS community to record implementation of the Affirmative Action Plan and revised goals and timetables.

The chancellor is responsible for development and implementation of the University of Illinois at Springfield Affirmative Action Plan. In developing or amending an affirmative action plan, the campus shall analyze its policies and practices and pursue changes which ensure affirmative action in each employing unit.

The access and equal opportunity officer shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Affirmative Action Plan.

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Policy to Increase Participation and Achievement of Under-represented Groups in Education

The University of Illinois at Springfield is committed to increasing the participation of minorities, women, and persons with disabilities, who have been traditionally under-represented in educational programs and activities.

UIS shall develop and implement a Plan for Increasing the Participation and Achievement of Under-represented Groups that shall include methods and strategies to increase the participation of minorities, women, and persons with disabilities, and that shall address recruitment, retention, curriculum development, and the provision of student services.

In developing or amending the Plan for Increasing the Participation and Achievement of Under-represented Groups the campus shall analyze policies and practices and pursue changes which ensure increased participation by under-represented groups. An annual report will be distributed each spring to the UIS community to report implementation of this plan and revisions thereto.

The chancellor is responsible for development and implementation of the University of Illinois at Springfield Plan to Increase Participation and Achievement of Under-represented Groups. The access and equal opportunity officer shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the plan.

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Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy

The University of Illinois at Springfield is committed to maintaining an educational and work environment of equal opportunity and non-discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran, and unfavorable discharge from military service.

The University of Illinois at Springfield as a public higher education institution is obligated to observe federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to non-discrimination and equal opportunity. These laws and regulations are enforced by the courts and administrative agencies (including the Illinois Department of Human Rights, Illinois Human Rights Commission, United States Department of Education, United States Department of Labor, and United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

In addition to the applicable state and federal requirements, UIS has adopted this non-discrimination policy and equal opportunity policy to provide a grievance resolution mechanism within the campus. Persons who believe that any federal or state requirement has been violated should also inquire with the appropriate agency as to applicable grievance mechanisms.

Discrimination against a member of the campus community on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran, or unfavorable discharge from military service will constitute a violation of campus policy and will be grounds for corrective and/or remedial action.

It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against a person for complaining of discrimination, or for assisting, participating, or cooperating in an investigation of alleged discrimination. When retaliation is charged, the complaining party can utilize the grievance resolution mechanisms specified in this policy. A finding of retaliation is a basis for disciplinary action.

In the event a person covered by this policy files a charge of discrimination with an external government body or court, UIS will continue the process described herein until completed.

The UIS chancellor is responsible for the non-discrimination and equal opportunity policy and programs; the chancellor’s designee, the access and equal opportunity officer, is responsible for the administration and monitoring of these programs and for reporting progress.

This officer, with the assistance of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, also provides advice and recommendations to the chancellor on these subjects. Administrators, faculty, and staff are responsible for developing and maintaining attitudes, values, and actions when implementing this and other non-discrimination and equal opportunity policies.

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Section 1. Grievance Resolution Mechanisms

The success of this policy depends in large part upon its ability to protect the confidentiality of all parties involved. The following procedures are to be implemented with the expectation that members of the campus community will respect the confidentiality of the process.

A. Informal Procedure

To ensure the prompt but fair resolution of allegations of discrimination, an informal complaint resolution mechanism may be initiated by either the complainant or by the Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity, hereinafter referred to as the access and equal opportunity officer (AEO).

These procedures are applicable, though not exclusive, for all campus-based employees, including University administration employees, and students and applicants for employment and student admission at UIS.

Employees covered under collective bargaining agreements adhere to the grievance procedures in those agreements, which in some agreements allow the employees to use these discrimination grievance procedures when there is an allegation of discrimination.

The Complainant. To seek an informal resolution of the issue, the complainant, or someone acting with the complainant’s permission on his or her behalf, should lodge a complaint orally or in writing with the AEO. To encourage victims of discrimination to feel free to contact the AEO, callers may use a direct phone line to the AEO (currently 206-6222) and in-person contact with the AEO may occur at a location other than the AEO office as agreed to by the AEO.

Upon receipt of a complaint initiated by someone acting on a complainant’s behalf, the AEO shall first confer with the alleged victim to establish the nature of his/her complaint. The AEO shall provide complainants with a copy of the appropriate campus policy and inform him or her of the avenues of external redress.

Within fourteen (14) days, the AEO will inform the alleged discriminator of the nature of the complaint and of the identity of the complainant and will meet separately and/or together with the complainant, the alleged discriminator, and whomever else is necessary to ascertain the factual basis of the complaint and to attempt to resolve the complaint informally. The complainant may choose to file a formal grievance at any time. (See 1. C.)

B. Informal Inquiry

The Access and Equal Opportunity Officer. Upon receipt of multiple reports against a particular alleged discriminator or upon the receipt of a grievous allegation of discrimination, the AEO may initiate an informal inquiry.

The AEO will inform the alleged discriminator of the nature of the complaint(s) and of the identity of the complainant(s), if known, and will meet separately and/or together with any known complainant(s), the alleged discriminator, and whoever else is necessary to ascertain the factual basis of the complaint(s) and to attempt to resolve the situation informally.

If the situation is not resolved informally within a reasonable period of time, the AEO will report the matter to the appropriate administrator(s) who has direct authority over the alleged discriminator. The administrator(s) may institute formal procedures.

C. Formal Procedure

Commencement of the Process. Whether or not the informal resolution process is used, a person alleging discrimination may initiate the formal grievance resolution process by submitting a formal written charge of discrimination to the AEO within 180 days of the occurrence of the matter being grieved, if the grievant is an employee, or within one year of the matter being grieved, if the grievant is a student.

Upon receipt of a grievance, the AEO shall provide the alleged victim with a copy of the appropriate campus policy and inform him or her of avenues for external redress. Should a campus administrator, supervisor, or manager be made aware of serious allegations of discrimination either as a result of being informed of allegations of discrimination by the AEO during the informal resolution process or through other means, he or she may request in writing to the AEO that formal grievance resolution process be instituted.

Investigation of the Allegations. Upon receipt of a written charge of discrimination or a request that formal procedures be instituted, the AEO will transmit copies of the grievance/request to the alleged discriminator, the appropriate unit head, and the appropriate vice chancellor.

The AEO will then proceed with an investigation of the grievance, which shall include an opportunity for the grievant to be represented throughout the grievance. In conducting the investigation, the AEO will have unrestricted access to all pertinent material, records, reports, documents and computerized information in the possession of any campus personnel, and the AEO shall be afforded the opportunity to interview all persons possessing relevant information.

Both the grievant and the alleged discriminator may submit whatever information they deem desirable. Obstruction of an investigation of an allegation(s) of discrimination shall be grounds for disciplinary action or sanctions by the appropriate vice chancellor administration designee.

Investigative Report

At the completion of the investigation, the AEO will submit a written report of the investigation to the appropriate vice chancellor or University administration designee which details the findings and suggests appropriate remedies.

When in-house resolution is not possible complaints of discrimination must ordinarily be filed with external human rights agencies within 180 days of the alleged incident(s) in order to preserve the rights of the complaining party to bring such actions, the report of the AEO should usually be made within 60 days of the initiation of the formal grievance resolution mechanisms.

If it is not possible to complete an investigation and report within that time frame, the AEO will notify the grievant and the alleged discriminator as to the cause of the delay and the expected time of completion.

Findings in Favor of the Grievant

If the findings are that discrimination has occurred, the appropriate administrator, vice chancellor, or next higher level administrator shall have twenty-one (21) days in which to take appropriate corrective action by doing whatever is necessary to end the discrimination, make the grievant whole by restoring lost benefits or opportunities, and take reasonable steps to avoid the recurrence of the misconduct. Disciplinary action or sanction against the discriminator, ranging from reprimand to discharge, shall be taken.

The corrective action should reflect the frequency and/or severity of the conduct, and additionally should include counseling. The AEO and the appropriate administrator shall make follow-up inquiries to ensure the discrimination has not resumed and the victim and/or anyone cooperating in the investigation has not suffered retaliation. (See Section 3. C. below.)

Findings in Favor of the Alleged Discriminator

If the findings are that discrimination has not occurred, the AEO shall talk with the grievant or administrator initiating the process and attempt to explain why the grievance was ill-founded. The grievant retains the right to file a complaint with an external government agency or the courts.

Inconclusive Findings

If the findings are inconclusive, the AEO may attempt resolution between the parties. Failing resolution, the grievance will be dismissed. The grievant retains the right to file a complaint with an external government agency or the courts.

D. Documentation

The AEO shall maintain a permanent record of agreements reached under the informal resolution process, investigative reports, corrective action taken, and follow-up activities. All material and information contained therein is deemed to be confidential and will be made available to parties outside of the process only as required by law.

Should an appeal be taken from the AEO findings and recommendations, these records will be made available to the individual or panel hearing the appeal. All records of the AEO and any appeal shall be maintained to ensure proper monitoring and reporting.

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Section 2. Appeal

Final decisional authority on substantive and procedural issues related to grievances initiated by a campus employee or student shall reside with the chancellor.

A. Students

If a student, either grievant or alleged discriminator, is dissatisfied with the Findings and Recommendations of the AEO, he/she may file a written request for a review of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations with the Office of the Provost. The request must be filed within two weeks from his/her receipt of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations and must state the basis for the appeal .

Upon receipt of the appeal, the provost or his/her designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 30 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision.

If a student is dissatisfied with the decision of the Provost’s Office, he/she may within two weeks of the decision file a written request for review by the Chancellor’s Office. Upon receipt of the appeal, the chancellor or her/his designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 45 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision that shall be final upon all parties to the grievance.

If/when a student is found to have violated a campus discrimination policy, the violation is considered a non-academic violation of the student code. When the responsible administrator decides that disciplinary action must be taken, he or she must institute disciplinary proceedings as specified by the student code.

B. Campus Faculty and Academic Professionals

If a campus faculty or academic professional, either grievant or alleged discriminator, is dissatisfied with the Findings and Recommendations of the AEO, he/she may file a written request for a review of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations with the Office of the Provost. The request must be filed within two weeks from his/her receipt of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations and must state the basis for the appeal.

Upon receipt of the appeal, the provost or his/her designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 30 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision.

If a campus faculty or academic professional is dissatisfied with the decision of the Provost’s Office, he/she may within two weeks of the decision file a written request for review by the Chancellor’s Office.

Upon receipt of the appeal, the chancellor or her/his designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 45 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision that shall be final upon all parties to the grievance.

C. Campus Civil Service Employees

If a civil service employee, either grievant or alleged discriminator, is dissatisfied with the Findings and Recommendations of the AEO, he/she may file a written request for a review of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations with the Office of the Provost. The request must be filed within two weeks from his/her receipt of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations and must state the basis for the appeal.

Upon receipt of the appeal, the provost or his/her designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 30 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision. If a civil service employee is dissatisfied with the decision of the Provost’s Office, he/she may within two weeks of the decision file a written request for review by the Chancellor’s Office.

Upon receipt of the appeal, the chancellor or her/his designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 45 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision that shall be final upon all parties to the grievance.

If/when a civil service employee is found to have violated a campus discrimination policy and the responsible administrator recommends that disciplinary action be taken, the employee is covered by “An Act to Create the State University Civil Service System” which specifies that no employee shall be demoted, removed or discharged except for cause, upon written charges, and after an opportunity to be heard in his own defense before an Advisory Committee of the Merit Board.

D. Campus-based University Administration Employees

If a University administration employee, either grievant or alleged discriminator, is dissatisfied with the Findings and Recommendations of the AEO, that employee may within two weeks of receiving the Findings and Recommendations file a written request for review with the president or his/her designee.

The president or designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, may request any additional information and within 45 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision that shall be final.

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Section 3. Special Circumstances

A. The Grievance of Discrimination is Against the access and equal opportunity officer

When the alleged discriminator is the AEO, the assistant vice president for human resources at UIS shall be deemed to be the AEO for purposes of implementation of these procedures.

B. The Grievance of Discrimination is Against the Chancellor

When the alleged discriminator is the UIS chancellor, the grievant, or someone acting with the grievant’s permission on his or her behalf, shall lodge a grievance in writing with the president of the University of Illinois:

364 Henry Administration Bldg.
506 S. Wright St.
Urbana, Illinois 61801
Phone: (217) 333-3071

C. Acts of Retaliation

It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against a person for complaining of discrimination or harassment, or for assisting, participating, or cooperating in an investigation of same. When retaliation is charged, the complaining party can utilize the grievance resolution mechanisms specified in this policy. Retaliation is a basis for disciplinary action or sanctions by the appropriate administrator.

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Complaints Filed Externally

Anyone who believes he or she has experienced unlawful discrimination or sexual, racial, or religious harassment at the University of Illinois Springfield may initiate a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights by calling, writing, or visiting the office:

Illinois Department of Human Rights
222 S. College St.
Springfield, IL 62704
(217)785-5100

Complaints may also be filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, at:

Office for Civil Rights, Chicago Office
U.S. Department of Education
500 W. Madison St.
Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661

Complaints should be initiated as soon as possible after the action complained of and must be brought within 180 days of the occurrence.

The filing of a charge of discrimination with an external government body/court does not allow UIS to cease action on an internal grievance under this policy nor does the filing of such a complaint affect the obligations of the campus with regard to the awareness and remedy of discrimination.

UIS must take prompt remedial action upon learning of allegations of discrimination as a result of either an internal or external complaint being made.

These procedures are applicable, though not exclusive, for all camps-based employees, including University Administration employees, and students and applicants for employment and student admission at UIS. Employees covered under collective bargaining agreements adhere to the grievance procedures in those agreements, which in some agreements allow the employee to use these discrimination grievance procedures when there is an allegation of discrimination.

(Revised 6/98)

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University of Illinois Springfield
One University Plaza
Springfield, Illinois 62703-5407
217-206-6600

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