Law School Rules

Appendix E. State Law Prohibiting Discrimination Against Students

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11/8/91    NOTICE

TO: All UW-Madison Faculty, Staff and Students

FROM: Office of Affirmative Action & Compliance

RE: New State Law Prohibiting Discrimination Against Students

Last year, the Wisconsin Legislature enacted Wisconsin Act 186, creating s. 36.12, Wisconsin Statutes. This new statute provides, in part:

No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the [UW] system or its institutions or centers because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status.

The statute also requires that each UW institution and center establish policies and procedures that:

1. Provide criteria for determining whether there has been a violation of the general prohibition against discrimination;

2. Provide remedies and sanctions for discrimination;

3. Require complaints of discrimination to be brought within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory actions; and

4. Establish time periods within which complaints of discrimination must be processed and resolved at the institution or center, with a final decision by the chancellor or dean.

Interim policy and procedures have been developed for processing students' complaints alleging discrimination. All s. 36.12 complaints must be filed with the Office of Affirmative Action and Compliance (OAAC). OAAC must process a complaint within 90 days of receipt of the complaint. To obtain a copy of the STUDENT DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS INTERIM POLICY AND PROCEDURE, please contact your dean, director or department chair. Copies are also available in the Office of Affirmative Action and Compliance, 175 Bascom Hall and the Dean of Students Office, 117 Bascom Hall.

M E M O R A N D U M

TO: Deans, Directors, and Department Chairs

FROM: David Ward, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs & Provost; Melany S. Newby, Vice Chancellor for Legal and Executive Affairs

DATE: November 6, 1991

RE: Implementation of s. 36.12, Wisconsin Statutes

Last year, the legislature enacted Wisconsin Act 186, creating s. 36.12, Wisconsin Statutes. This new statute provides, in part:

No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or discriminated against in any service, program, course, or facility of the [UW] system or its institutions or centers because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, or parental status.

The statutes goes on to require that each institution and center establish policies and procedures that:

1. Provide criteria for determining whether there has been a violation of the general prohibition against discrimination;

2. Provide remedies and sanctions for discrimination;

3. Require complaints of discrimination to be brought within 30 days of the alleged discriminatory actions; and

4. Establish time periods within which complaints of discrimination must be processed and resolved at the institution or center, with a final decision by the chancellor or dean.

Additionally, the statute requires that the Board of Regents establish policies and procedures for the appeal of the Chancellor's or dean's decision to the Board and submit annual reports to the legislature concerning the number of complaints of discrimination received at each institution, and their disposition.

The Board of Regents, at its April 1991 meeting, adopted a resolution directing each UW institution and center to establish policies and procedures as required by the statute.

Because UW-Madison is already subject to non-discrimination requirements on many of the same grounds covered in s. 36.12, there is an existing body of precedent to be applied--and we have some practical experience--in determining when discrimination based on these characteristics has occurred. Further, UW-Madison has in place a variety of mechanisms for receiving and processing student complaints of discrimination. In addition, UW System rules and UW-Madison policies provide for complaint and grievance procedures involving faculty, academic staff, classified staff, and students.

Given these established criteria and procedures for addressing student complaints of discrimination, it is not necessary in the context of s. 36.12 to develop entirely new and distinct standards. The requirements of the new legislation can be satisfied, in most instances, by means of modifications or additions to existing procedures, and by providing appropriate notice in campus publications of the new legislation and the manner in which complaints are to be filed and processed.

The attached STUDENT DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS INTERIM POLICY AND PROCEDURE is designed to utilize existing procedures whenever possible and to provide an institutional procedure where no other applicable procedure currently exists. It requires, however, that all such complaints be filed with the Office of Affirmative Action and Compliance (OAAC), including those which may be referred elsewhere for processing. This is for the purpose of meeting the statutory requirement for reporting to the Board of Regents the number of such complaints and their disposition and assuring that all complaints receive timely attention. Further, because it is statutorily required, the time limits for filing a complaint and for its disposition will apply to all procedures, as will the ability to appeal to the Chancellor and, in some cases, to the Regents.

Please note that no disciplinary action of any employee or student may be taken under this policy and procedure. However, disciplinary proceedings may be pursued as the result of conclusions or recommendations from a s. 36.12 complaint. In the event it appears that some misconduct on the part of an employee or student has occurred which may warrant disciplinary action, the normal disciplinary procedures must be invoked.

Further, in order to assist OAAC in ascertaining the existence of the various procedures currently in existence under which a s. 36.12 complaint could be processed, it is extremely important for that office to be aware of them. In this we need your assistance. Please provide OAAC with copies of, or other information about, those procedures from your unit within the next 30 days. It is critical that OAAC know what kinds of complaints and grievances are covered and who is responsible for processing them. Keep in mind that this is limited to procedures under which students may complain or grieve and which permits an allegation of some form of discrimination to be the basis for the complaint or grievance.

Finally, it is important that information concerning this statute and the complaint process be widely available. We would therefore ask that you post the enclosed notice from OAAC prominently in your unit.

Questions about s. 36.12 can be directed to OAAC or to the Office of Administrative Legal Services.

cc: Donna Shalala
Katharine Lyall

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

STUDENT DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS

INTERIM POLICY AND PROCEDURES Pursuant to s. 36.12, Wisconsin Statutes and the Regent Guidelines for Implementation, the following is the interim Policy and Procedure of the University of Wisconsin-Madison regarding student complaints of discrimination.

I. Student Discrimination Prohibited

S. 36.12, Wisconsin Statutes provides in pertinent part:

"No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or discriminated against in any service, program, course, or facility of the [UW] system or its institutions or centers because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, or parental status."

II. Policies and Procedures for Complaints Under S. 36.12

A. Criteria for Determinations

In determining whether discrimination in violation of S. 36.12, Wisconsin Statutes, has occurred, the University of Wisconsin-Madison through its Office of Affirmative Action and Compliance (OAAC), shall apply state and federal statutes, regulations, and case law relevant to the basis of discrimination being alleged, including but not limited to such legal materials and precedents as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, s. 101.223, Wis. Stats., s. 36.11(3)(a), Wis. Stats., the United States Constitution, the Wisconsin Constitution, and related regulations and case law. In any case where there is a question as to whether the action or conduct in question violates s. 36.12, Wisconsin Statutes, OAAC shall consult with institutional legal counsel.

B. Filing

Complaints alleging a violation of s. 36.12, Wisconsin Statutes, must be filed within 300 days of the alleged violation.

C. Procedures and Remedies

1. OAAC shall be responsible for:

(a) Reviewing each complaint;
(b) Providing procedural advice and counsel to the complainant, and referring the complainant to any other more relevant complaint or grievance process, if appropriate; and
(c) Conducting investigation of complaints, where no other complaint or grievance mechanism applies to the subject matter of the complaint.

2. Where OAAC refers a complaint to another relevant complaint or grievance procedure, further action on the matter will be taken in accordance with the other procedure, provided, however, that the requirements of paragraphs 5. and 6. below shall apply to all procedures applicable to complaints under s. 36.12.

3. Where OAAC determines after investigation that no discrimination in violation of s. 36.12 has occurred, the complaint shall be dismissed, and the complainant and any other interested parties will be so advised.

4. Where OAAC determines after investigation that discrimination in violation of s. 36.12 is likely to have occurred, OAAC may:

(a) Attempt to resolve the matter through mediation among the involved parties;
(b) Recommend remedial action to eliminate the discrimination to the appropriate administrators; or
(c) Refer the matter to the appropriate administrators for review and consideration of possible disciplinary action, where misconduct by faculty, staff, or students appears to be involved.

5. OAAC, or any other office processing a s. 36.12 complaint, shall complete its processing of a complaint within 90 days of receipt.

(a) In the event a complaint is dismissed under paragraph 3. above, or otherwise, the complainant may appeal to the Chancellor within 10 days of the dismissal.
(b) In the event any attempt at mediation under paragraph 4.(a) above, or otherwise, fails or a recommended remedial action under paragraph 4.(b) above, or otherwise, is rejected, the complainant may appeal to the Chancellor within 10 days of the action.
(c) In the event the matter is referred under paragraph 4.(c) above, or otherwise, the time limitations and procedures applicable to employee or student disciplinary matters shall apply.

6. In all matters involving an alleged violation of s. 36.12, the Chancellor's decision shall be final, except that the Board of Regents may, consistent with the Bylaws of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, conduct a review of the record.

III. Notification and Reporting

The OAAC in conjunction with the Dean of Students Office shall notify students annually of the existence of s. 36.12 and what it prohibits. This notice shall also identify OAAC as the institutional office where students may file complaints under s. 36.12.

OAAC shall also provide to the Board of Regents the information from the University of Wisconsin-Madison required to meet the reporting requirement of s. 36.12.

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