Affirmative Action

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

People talking

1. How do I file a discrimination or harassment complaint?
The offices listed below are available to assist you in your efforts to put an end to harassment and discrimination. Your questions can be answered, you can be helped in the preparation of reports, and you can be advised informally and confidentially. You may request information and/or advice anonymously.

You may file a complaint informally or formally, in several different ways.

A University student with a complaint, whether it is formal or informal, should report it to the Dean of Students Office. Also, you can contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs or the College Student Affairs Leadership Office. See contact information.

In the event a complaint is received in other than these offices, faculty and staff are responsible for referring the complaining individual to the appropriate office.

Harassment Complaint Form

2. Can I speak with someone informally regarding my concern?
YES. You may file a complaint informally or formally, in several different ways. A university Faculty/Staff member with a complaint, whether it is formal or informal, should report it to the Human Resources Office. If you are an applicant with a complaint you also should contact the Human Resources Office. See Contact Information.

3. What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment, including same-sex sexual harassment, is any unwanted attention of a sexual nature from someone in the workplace or classroom that causes discomfort or interferes with work or academic performance.

Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made-either explicitly or implicitly- a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, living environment or participation in any college activity;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for or factor in decision;s affecting an individual;s employment, education, living environment, or participation in any college activity;
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonable interfering with an individual's employment or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive environment for that individual's employment education, living environment, or participation in any college activity.

Some examples that may constitute sexual harassment are:
Repeated request or pressures for dates
Unwanted offensive contacts outside the workplace
Disparaging sexual remarks about one's gender or sexual orientation, that unreasonably interfere with the individual's learning or working.
Physical aggression such as pinching or patting
Verbal sexual abuse disguised as fun
Offensive sexual jokes

These examples do not include all types of conduct that can constitute sexual harassment. Each situation must be considered in light of specific facts and circumstances to determine if sexual harassment has occurred.

Same-sex sexual harassment may involve these same types of conduct when exhibited by a member of the same gender.

4. I believe I am being harassed because I am a person of color. What can I do about this?
First, harassment for any reason is never okay. Second, you have the responsibility to report your complaint. If you have been made to feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or unwanted, you should talk to someone about your concern. Finally you have a responsibility to report incidents promptly, as it is often difficult to trace the facts long after they occurred. It is recommended that complaints be filed within sixty (60) calendar days of the alleged incident. See contact information on the affirmative action home page for information regarding where to take your complaint.

5. I have a disability and need to know what resources are available to me, and where I can get some answers to my questions.
Contact the Office of Disability Support Resources, 200 Student Services Building, 616-331-2490. 

6. I heard about a faculty or administrative opening. What can I do to recruit faculty and staff applicants to assure a diverse workplace?
There is a lot you can do and should do! First, contact Linda Yuhas in Human Resources (616-331-2215, yuhasl@gvsu.edu) to discuss your interest in recruiting diverse candidates. Together you can map out a strategy.

Also, you should call your colleagues at other universities and ask them if they know of any people interested in the position. Then you should place a follow up call or send an email to any one suggested, and inviting them to apply. Email them the position posting and let them know who to contact to learn more about the position and how to apply.

You can search the internet for committees or task force groups within professional organizations in the field. Email or send the vacancy notice to all committee members, and include a personal note from you urging them to identify candidates and contact you with questions.

Finally, you should find out if any of your colleagues are attending a state or national professional meeting in a related area, in the near future. Ask them to bring copies of the vacancy notice, along with contact information. Do some networking at the meeting, especially with minorities who are attending; seek their advice on how to locate minority candidates.

Page last modified April 16, 2014