Carnegie Mellon University

Procedure to Resolve Complaints

The University's response to a report of sexual misconduct is largely driven by the wishes and preferences of the person affected by the sexual misconduct (the "reporting party"), to the extent consistent with the University’s commitment to protecting the broader welfare of the University Community.

If a reporting party elects to pursue resolution, the following general principles shall govern all procedures (whether informal or formal), to the extent consistent with the University's legal obligations:

  1. Procedures are to be fair, both in substance and in perception, to all persons concerned, to the various constituencies, and to the Carnegie Mellon community.
  2. All persons concerned are to be treated with respect and impartiality.
  3. The University recognizes the importance of confidentiality in handling claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault.  In the handling of inquiries and complaints made under this policy, the University will protect confidentiality to the extent consistent with the University's legal obligations to take all reasonable steps to conduct an effective investigation of claims and to protect the welfare of the campus community.
  4. Informal resolution of allegations of sexual harassment is in certain cases the best and most productive outcome.  The University recognizes, however, that OCR has taken the position that mediation is not an appropriate mechanism for resolution in cases of alleged sexual assault / violence.
  5. When a formal complaint is processed, both parties must be provided access to all charges, claims, and other relevant information that will be used at a hearing, and both parties shall have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence.
  6. Persons providing advice or called upon to investigate allegations of sexual harassment will be thoughtfully chosen and properly trained.
  7. All procedures should be implemented as expeditiously as is consistent with their integrity and fairness.
  8. During the pendency of an investigation or proceedings under this policy, the University may be required to take immediate action to safeguard the University community.  In the case of students, that may require a no-contact order, suspension, or removal from campus.  In other cases, that may involve a suspension of employment pending conclusion of the investigation and proceedings under this policy. 
  9. If, prior to resolution of a complaint under this policy, a student who is a survivor of sexual assault is concerned about the safety of her/his living situation and lives in a university residence facility, the student may request to be moved to an alternate location.
  10. The University may also assist with reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations where possible.

More specific information about the procedures to be followed when the responding party is a student may be found in the student handbook, called The Word. The University investigation and resolution process for students is also available in a visual schematic format [PDF].

More specific information about the procedures to be followed when the responding party is a faculty or staff member may be found in the University's Policy Against Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault.