Filing a Complaint
This information applies to anyone (students, faculty, staff, applicants, and all other members of the community) wishing to file a complaint related to harassment or discrimination, sexual harassment, or Title IX as outlined on this webpage. A copy of the University's Harassment and Discrimination Policy is provided for your convenience.
This webpage describes, in general terms, the process involved in considering and investigating typical complaints brought forward to the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Officer. Circumstances in individual cases vary and may require different handling, within the discretion of the university. For purposes of our complaint process, the individual alleged to have been subjected to harassment or discrimination is referred to as the "complainant" and the person against whom the complaint is filed is the "respondent."
Chapman University Complaint Form
If you feel someone has sexually harassed you, or has discriminated against or harassed you because of your membership in a protected class (such as race, gender, sexual identity, military status, marital status, age, national origin or religion), call our office at (714) 997-6686. We will arrange for an investigator to interview you. You may also report the harassment or discrimination you have observed against another member of the community. Although we encourage you to make an appointment, appropriate Human Resources Office staff are generally available for walk-in appointments as well. The Office of Human Resources is located in DeMille Hall, Room 103; for students the Dean of Students Office is located in Argyros Forum, Room 101. To make an appointment with the Office of the Dean of Students call (714) 997-6721.
Prior to the interview, you should complete our complaint form. While doing so is not required, it will greatly assist us in more efficiently handling your concerns. Either bring the completed form to your interview or one will be provided to you for completion when you arrive. Those with disabilities will be assisted by our staff in filling out the complaint form.
While some questions can be answered by telephone, your inquiry may not become an official complaint until our office has conducted this initial in-depth interview. After the interview, we will advise you whether or not our office will investigate your complaint. In some cases, your complaint may be referred to a more appropriate office for handling if it does not fall within the purview of the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Officer.
Once the investigator assigned to your complaint determines that an investigation is warranted, we will advise the respondent of the allegations against him or her. The respondent will be allowed to answer the allegations. In most cases, we will also inform the respondent's chair or supervisor of the allegations, and the dean or vice president of the appropriate school or department will be advised of the complaint. Although our goal is to limit the number of individuals who may learn about your complaint, we cannot guarantee confidentiality.
Investigators try to meet face to face with respondents, administrators, and witnesses to encourage interactive dialogue. When appropriate, informal resolution procedures may be offered. The procedures for the informal complaint are detailed below.
We investigate complaints by reviewing relevant documents, interviewing relevant witnesses, and viewing other evidence as may be available. While anonymity cannot be guaranteed, witness testimony will be disclosed only as necessary to complete the investigation and implement any findings. The assigned investigator has the discretion to determine how many witnesses will be interviewed, as well as the order of such interviews. The investigator will contact you as needed; for instance, when evidence is disputed or when further information is required. Even after the investigation is underway, you may continue to provide additional evidence to be considered.
The length of time it will take to complete the investigation will vary based on the complexity of the complaint and other factors such as witness availability, although our goal is to resolve all complaints as efficiently and promptly as possible. Absent extenuating circumstances, the university endeavors to complete investigations within 60 days from the date of completion of the intake interview.
Designated individuals, including the complainant, respondent, Equal Opportunity and Diversity Officer, Vice President of Human Resources and the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (in cases against staff), the Chancellor (in cases against faculty), and Dean of Students (in cases against students) will be notified of the status of ongoing investigations. When appropriate, we will also notify supervisors and the vice president/vice chancellor of the administrative unit or the dean.
We use a "preponderance of evidence" standard for determining whether university policies against harassment and discrimination have been violated. This means that, if the investigator finds it is more likely than not that the alleged misconduct occurred; the investigator will conclude that there was a violation of university policy.
Once a decision as to the outcome of the complaint is made, we will send to both the complainant and respondent a letter with a brief summary of the facts and findings, reason for the decision, and evidentiary standard applied.
If the investigator determines that there is an insufficient basis to conclude that harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment, threats or actual retaliation has occurred ("insufficient basis"), that will conclude the university's investigation.
If the investigator determines there is a sufficient basis to conclude that a staff member committed harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment, threats or actual retaliation, the Vice President of Human Resources or a person authorized to act on his/her behalf will report the findings to the appropriate Vice President, Dean or Department Head and that individual will determine what corrective actions will be taken, including disciplinary actions. Any action taken will be in accordance with the University policies governing Staff and Administrators.
If the investigator determines there is sufficient basis to conclude that a faculty member committed harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment, threats or actual retaliation, the Chancellor or a person authorized to act on his/her behalf will determine what corrective actions will be taken, including disciplinary actions. Any action taken will be in accordance with the Faculty Manual.
For students, all actions will be taken in accordance with the Student Conduct Code.
Appeals of determination or disciplinary action
Please note that neither the investigator nor the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Officer determines what discipline, if any, is appropriate, regardless of whether respondent is staff, faculty or a student. Any disciplinary action which may be taken as the result of findings made in these investigations is made in accordance with university policies, which include but are not limited to, the Staff and Administrative Handbook, Faculty Manual, Student Conduct Code and the Harassment and Discrimination Policy. Both the complainant and respondent will be advised of the outcome of the investigation in writing and either may appeal the findings of the investigation by filing an appeal to the Vice President of Human Resources, who makes the final decision on the appeal. This appeal must be filed within 15 calendar days from the date of the written outcome.
In regard to disciplinary action against staff, faculty and students, the respondent may pursue an appeal of discipline in accordance with the provisions under the applicable policies. For staff, it will be the Staff and Administrative Handbook, for faculty it will be the Faculty Manual and for students, the Student Code of Conduct or other applicable institutional policies.
Cooperation and No Retaliation
All university faculty, staff and students are required to cooperate in the investigation process and are prohibited from retaliating against anyone who has brought forth a complaint as outlined in our Harassment and Discrimination Policy, or against anyone who has participated as a witness in an investigation by the University. Retaliation will not be tolerated.