Frequently Asked Questions
Why did UW Law implement a process for reporting and addressing diversity concerns?
As the law school community aspires to value diversity, inclusiveness, respect, and cultural competency, reality may not always match rhetoric. It is our professional responsibility to build a community where all voices are respectfully heard; this requires listening to and learning from those who have been left out, isolated, or otherwise disenfranchised. The Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity developed a process by which students, faculty, and staff may report, comment, request information, and have concerns addressed about diversity and professional conduct within the law school community. The information gathered will be used to educate the community about concerns and to help build a respectful, inclusive environment.
What is the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity?
The Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity advises the Dean on ways to promote diversity and create an open, inclusive school climate that is welcoming to and supportive of all students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, including students of color, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities. The Advisory Committee includes students, faculty, and staff. The Committee’s charge is to create a plan for the School of Law to proactively promote, ensure and protect all at UW Law; to develop an inclusive learning environment and an atmosphere of academic discourse; to review opportunities and challenges in recruitment and retention of diverse students, faculty and staff; and to advocate for relevant training and education.
What is unprofessional conduct?
Unprofessional conduct is unacceptable speech, expression, or action that is based on perceived race, color, religion, ethnic/national origin, gender identity, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation. Actions include language and/or behaviors.
How can I report an incident of unprofessional conduct?
There are numerous ways you can report an incident. You can submit an incident report or you can submit a written report to the Dean’s assistant in Room 371.You can also contact the chair of the Diversity Committee directly.
Do I have to report an incident? Can I choose not to report an incident?
While it is your decision whether or not you choose to report an incident, remember that one of the primary purposes of the policy is education. Reporting incidents may help someone realize that his/her behavior is hurting someone else. The reporting program assists the law school in promoting an environment that fosters civility and mutual respect.
Can anyone submit a report? Even if you weren’t the target of unprofessional conduct?
Yes. A report can be submitted by the victim as well as by anyone who was present or witnessed the incident.
What kind of incidents can I report?
You may report any kind of incident that you find offensive or disrespectful, especially those based on ethnicity, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. You can report either incidents that you wish to have the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity be aware of without a request for action (an information report) or incidents where you may want specific action taken. If a complaint or grievance falls outside of the committee’s scope, a referral will be made (for example, the Dean for Academic Administration for grading issues).
Will my privacy be protected?
The Diversity Committee recognizes the sensitive nature of potential complaints and grievances and will follow a response process that is confidential and respectful. When the responder meets with the incident reporter, the responder will discuss what level of privacy the reporter is comfortable with maintaining. The responder will not reveal the reporter’s identity to anyone without first obtaining the permission of the reporter.
Can I keep my report anonymous?
We understand that anonymity may be important in certain circumstances and you will not be required to reveal your identity. However, our ability to respond to incidents may be limited without the ability to discuss the incident with the reporter. In addition, anonymous reports may keep us from addressing the issues directly with the involved parties and may limit their ability to learn from and resolve the issue.
Who is going to follow up with me?
After submitting a report, you will be contacted by a designated member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity. These designated members have received special training.
How long will it take for someone to get back to me once I file a report?
If you include contact information, you will be contacted once the report has been reviewed. While the response time may vary, based upon the nature of the incident and the timing during the year, receipt of the complaint or concern will be acknowledged within five business days. The complaint or concern will be reviewed within two weeks, and whenever possible the reviewer will meet or correspond with the person who raised the complaint or concern.
What will the response be?
Designated member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity have been trained in responding to the incidents in a confidential, respectful manner. The submitter of the report will be contacted by a designated respondent to arrange a time to meet, discuss and review the details of the incident and to determine what appropriate steps to take.
Can I describe what happened on the form?
You can briefly describe what happened on the form. However, completion of the form is just the first step of the process. You will have the opportunity to describe the event to the designated respondent when they contact you.
What are possible outcomes of my report?
It depends upon the nature of the incident reported. In some situations, no follow-up is needed or wanted by the reporting party; the report was filed to make the Committee aware of the incident’s happening for community education purposes. For some situations, an appropriate remedy may involve meeting with the offending individual to bring the incident to his/her attention and discuss future remedies. For more serious situations, the respondent may refer the matter to the law school’s Human Resources Department.
Can I choose to have no action taken on my report?
If, after you have made a report and have met with a responder, you wish not to have any action taken, the responder will respect this wish. A summary of the incident will be shared with the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for program planning purposes but your identity will be kept anonymous unless you have given permission to share your identity.
How will the information from my report be maintained?
Each report and follow-up notes from the designated respondent will be kept in a secured location. Only designated respondents will have access to these confidential materials. However, information from each report may be aggregated to track patterns of bias.
How will the information in my report be reported back to the law school community?
The Diversity Committee will prepare a quarterly report summarizing the types of incidents that have occurred and the actions taken. This report will not contain specific names or locations, to protect the privacy of the reporting individual(s) and the individuals the complaints are against. The Diversity Committee will distribute the findings in a quarterly informational session. At the end of the school year, a yearly report will be compiled and submitted to the law school’s Dean.
In addition, the Dean will be informed about all reports made to help her recognize patterns of bias and to plan appropriate responses to improve the overall law school environment.