Feb 21, 2024  
University Handbook 2023 - 2024 
    
University Handbook 2023 - 2024

5.2.12 - Processing, Investigation, and Resolution of Discrimination and Harassment Complaints


Kennesaw State University (KSU) is committed to maintaining a fair and respectful environment for living, work, and study. To that end and in accordance with federal and state law, Board of Regents policy, and University policy, the University prohibits harassment of or discrimination against any person because of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity or national origin, religion, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status by any member of the KSU Community on campus, in connection with a University program or activity, or in a manner that creates a hostile environment for members of the KSU community. Incidents of harassment and discrimination will be met with appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, expulsion, or termination from KSU. Every member of the KSU community is expected to uphold this policy as a matter of mutual respect and fundamental fairness in human relations. All members of the faculty, staff, and student body are expected to ensure that nondiscriminatory practices are followed at the University.

The University’s complaint process, outlined herein, is the procedure used to investigate complaints or reports of discrimination, end any discrimination and/or harassment found, remedy the effects of discrimination and harassment, and prevent any recurrence or retaliation.

These procedures do not replace the right of the complainant to file complaints or seek remedies available under state or federal law.

University employees identified as witnesses are required to fully cooperate with an investigation. Any member of the University community who willfully disregards, delays, or thwarts an investigation or makes false statements during an investigation may be found in violation of KSU policy and subject to disciplinary action.

Information obtained during the course of the complaint process will be shared only to the extent necessary to conduct a thorough, fair, and impartial investigation.

1. Interim Measures

The Director of Institutional Equity and Title IX Coordinator or designee may implement interim protective measures before the final outcome of an investigation if failure to take the interim measures would constitute a threat to the safety and wellbeing of the complainant or other members of the University community. In addition, the Director of Institutional Equity or designee may implement interim protective measures to ensure equal access to the University’s education programs and activities. Such interim measures are not an indication that a violation of the non-discrimination policy has occurred.

2. Initiating an Investigation

As part of the fact-finding process, the investigator will:

  • Upon request, provide complainants with information on where to access the nondiscrimination policy or provide a copy of the policy,
  • Determine whether complaints fall under the policy and, if the complaints do not fall under the policy, redirect complainant to the appropriate University or off-campus resources,
  • Inform the respondent of complaints brought against the respondent and upon request, provide the respondent with information on where to access the policy or provide a copy of the policy, and
  • Inform all parties of the University’s non-retaliation policy.

3. Informal Process

The informal process is an opportunity to bring resolution to a complaint through awareness, education, and/or a facilitated discussion. Informal resolution may be appropriate if the complainant, respondent, and Director of Institutional Equity or designee agree. 

During an informal process, fact-finding occurs to the extent necessary to resolve the conflict and protect the interest of the parties and the University community but the Director of Institutional Equity or designee does not make a determination of whether the policy has been violated. The complainant or respondent always has the option to end the informal process and request a formal process. Informal resolutions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Training,
  • Changes to work arrangements,
  • Informal discussion with person whose conduct, if not stopped, could rise to the level of discrimination or harassment, and/or
  • Advisory discussion with the respondent’s supervisor.

4. Formal Process

All complaints that are not resolved through the informal process may be resolved through a formal process involving a full investigation conducted by the Director of Institutional Equity and/or designee. As part of the formal process, the investigator will:

  • Inform complainants and respondents of rights to be interviewed and provide evidence,
  • Obtain information and evidence, including the identity of any witnesses, from complainants and the respondents,
  • Attempt to obtain information from the identified witnesses,
  • Collect and maintain appropriate documentation,
  • Only disclose appropriate information to others on a need-to-know basis, and
  • Keep the appropriate supervisors/administrators/faculty informed of the status of investigations.

5. Complaint Resolution

The amount of time needed to conduct investigations depends in part on the nature of the allegation(s) and the evidence to be investigated (e.g., the scope of the allegations, the time period and number of events implicated by or relevant to complaints, the number or availability of witnesses involved, and the volume of documents). The Director of Institutional Equity or designee will provide notice of the outcome of investigations or will advise the parties of the additional estimated amount of time needed to complete investigations.

Upon conclusion, the Director of Institutional Equity or designee will notify complainants and respondents in writing of the results of the investigation. Written decisions will be disclosed only to complainants, respondents, and University officials, as appropriate, to determine and enforce any remedial actions, discipline, or sanctions. The Office of Institutional Equity will follow up, as appropriate, to ensure that any remedial actions, discipline, or sanctions occur.

Complainants are encouraged to report any reoccurrences of conduct that were found to violate the non-discrimination policy and to report any retaliation for complaints or related investigations. Remedial and preventative measures may be implemented by the Office of Institutional Equity, even in the absence of a violation of the policy, if conduct is found to occur that may, if not addressed, rise to the level of a violation. Any unprofessional conduct or inappropriate behavior found during the course of the investigation that is not covered by the policy will be addressed with the respective department or Human Resources.

6. Remedies

Where discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy is determined to have occurred, the University will take timely action to remedy the effects. Potential remedies for complainants include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes to employment arrangements, schedules, or supervision that minimize the burden on complainants,
  • Training/re-training on appropriate University policies and other relevant topics for individuals or groups implicated in the discrimination or harassment, and
  • Other measures designed to repair the negative impact of discrimination or harassment.

7. Sanctions

If a violation of the Policy is found, the level of discipline and type or scope of sanctions will depend on the severity and nature of the discrimination or harassment, the weight of the evidence, and the need to maintain a safe and respectful environment. University employees in violation of this policy are subject to a wide range of sanctions that include, but are not limited to, termination from employment.

If you have a complaint to report to the Office of Institutional Equity, please contact us at 470-578-6057 or via email at eeo@kennesaw.edu