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Frequently Asked Questions

No. OEA will always first attempt to contact the person(s) impacted by reported misconduct to discuss the ways in which OEA may be able to resolve a matter. Oftentimes, there are ways OEA may respond to a report that do not involve a formal investigation.

If you’re reporting conduct that impacted you, then you can expect a trained civil rights professional from OEA to be in touch with you soon. In most cases, the initial focus will be on sharing resources and providing support. You can expect that OEA will offer to meet to learn more about your report. If you’re willing to meet, then you can use the opportunity to learn more about OEA’s process, or you can share additional information and context for your report. OEA will not pressure you to share information. If you request an investigation by filing a formal complaint or OEA determines that it will need to respond formally based on the information in you share, then the next step will be an evaluation of all information provided through the lens of the definitions and scope of university policy. 

The university’s nondiscrimination policies, including both Policy 1025 and Policy 1026, prohibit retaliation. OEA will respond promptly to any report of retaliation.

Retaliation includes action against any member of the university community who in good faith: files a report, complaint, or grievance under a nondiscrimination policy (or with an external entity); (2) opposes in a reasonable manner an action believed to constitute a violation of a university nondiscrimination policy; (3) participates in a university process related to a complaint or report under a nondiscrimination policy or process; or (4) requests an accommodation related to religious beliefs, disability, sex, or pregnancy.

Retaliatory actions may include, for example, an adverse employment or educational action; stalking, harassment, or assault; or coercion, intimidation, or threats. Acts showing impoliteness or actions otherwise protected by law or university policy are not likely to constitute retaliation.

When a student or employee makes a report to OEA about something they recently experienced, our first focus is on the impact to them — not on making a determination about whether the conduct violated or did not violate a university policy. Typically, that involves first reaching out to the impacted student or employee to share resources and offer to meet and explore ways to address the reported conduct and provide potential supportive measures that our office can work to coordinate. 

The nondiscrimination policies and accompanying processes apply to students and employees in all areas of university operations and programs. The university's policies apply whether you are an employee in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area or a student on the Roanoke or Blacksburg campuses.

OEA’s equity manager, Gennelle Chatman, serves as a local resource for students and employees in the D.C. area and is available to address questions and concerns related to the university’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.