U REALIGNS NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY

The U’s Board of Trustees and Academic Senate have approved a university-level policy on nondiscrimination with the goal of making policies and practices more clear, easier to find and to follow, and applicable across the institution.

The change realigns various codes and policies on nondiscrimination that previously existed in several forms. It also elevates and highlights the U’s commitment to fostering an environment that is safe and free from discrimination, including harassment and sexual misconduct.

The goal of the policy realignment was to streamline the process for handling complaints of discrimination and make the process easier to understand and follow. For example, the previous policy on non-discrimination was included in the Human Resources section of the regulations library, even though the policy also applies to students and patients. The policy now makes clear that individuals may bring an advisor with them during the interview process; that people can participate via Skype or other means if they are unable to appear in person; and that campus employees, including faculty, have an obligation to notify the Office of Equal Opportunity if a student or subordinate tells them they have experienced sexual misconduct. The change does not alter the process used for handling discrimination complaints, but does clarify how the process works.

The University of Utah does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or protected veteran’s status (“protected class”), in employment, treatment, admission, access to educational programs and activities, or other university benefits or services. Additionally, the university provides reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to qualified persons with disabilities.

“This makes clear the policy applies campus wide and signals our commitment to nondiscrimination for all participants and programs associated with the university —  students, staff, faculty, patients, visitors, as well as participants in university programs and activities,” said Sherrie Hayashi, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. “If you are someone in crisis or involved in an Office of Equal Opportunity investigation, we hope the process is now easier to navigate.”

Numerous campus stakeholders participated in helping with this policy update and realignment, including Academic Affairs, Human Resources, Athletics, Public Safety, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, the Dean of Students Office, members of the Academic Senate and the Office of General Counsel.