Discrimination/Complaint Procedure

Northern Michigan University is committed to equal opportunity for all in employment and services, regardless of ancestry, race, color, ethnicity, religion or creed, sex or gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, age, height, weight, marital status, familial status, handicap/disability, sexual orientation, military or veteran status. Violations of this policy and/or state and federal law could lead to disciplinary action and possible dismissal or expulsion.

This procedure is designed for most discrimination complaints other than sex discrimination/harassment.

Retaliation:  Retaliation against anyone who files a claim, who is named as a respondent, or who participates in the resolution of a case, regardless of the outcome of the case, is expressly prohibited and could lead to discipline and possible dismissal or expulsion.

False Claim:  Deliberate filing of a false claim is expressly prohibited and could lead to discipline and possible dismissal or expulsion.

Confidentiality:  Confidentiality is expected to the fullest extent possible from all who are involved in a claim, directly or indirectly.

If you are uncertain which procedure applies to your complaint, please contact the Equal Opportunity Office at 227-2420 or e-mail jakoski@nmu.edu.


STEP I:  Informal Complaint

1.  Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may contact the Equal Opportunity Office to discuss their complaint and are encouraged to do so as soon as possible but in any event no later than within ninety (90) days of its occurrence. 

The complainant shall describe orally or in writing:

  • the alleged discrimination,
  • the individual(s), program(s), or department(s) involved and, if possible,
  • state the type of relief sought.

2. The Equal Opportunity Office shall: 

  • explain the internal complaint procedure, and
  • inform the complainant of other internal resources/departments and/or University policies/procedures under which the complaint may be filed.
  • Conduct an informal investigation of the complaint to try to resolve it within twenty-one (21)* days of receiving the oral or written informal complaint.

3. If the proposed resolution is satisfactory to both parties the Equal Opportunity Office shall write to the complainant and the accused summarizing the resolution, and close the matter. 

4. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the Equal Opportunity Office shall provide written notice of this determination to the complainant and the accused.  The complainant may then proceed to Step II.


STEP II: Formal Complaint

1. Within seven (7) days* of the notice of the determination that an informal resolution cannot be reached, the complainant may submit a written complaint to the Equal Opportunity Office. The signed and dated complaint shall include a description of the alleged discriminatory act(s), the date(s) of the act(s), and the individual(s), program(s), or department(s) involved.

2. Within seven (7) days* of receiving this written complaint, the Equal Opportunity Office shall:

  • notify the accused that a formal complaint has been filed, and
  • assign two investigators to the complaint.

3. The investigators shall have twenty-one (21) days* from receipt of the written complaint to investigate it, make findings, and suggest a resolution.

4. If the proposed resolution is satisfactory to the complainant and the accused, the Equal Opportunity Office shall close the matter and send a written summary of the resolution to the involved parties.  A copy of this summary will be signed and dated by the Equal Opportunity Office, the complainant(s) and the accused, and will be attached to the written complaint and kept in the Equal Opportunity Office.

5. If the proposed resolution is not satisfactory to both parties, any party may proceed to Step III.


STEP III:  Appeal

1. Any party may initiate the appeal process by writing to the Office of the President within seven (7) days* of being notified of the proposed resolution.  The letter shall clearly state why the resolution is not satisfactory and request an appeal.  

2. Within seven (7) days* of receipt of this request, the other party shall be notified that an appeal has been requested. 

3. After receiving the appeal request, the President or designee will convene an appeal review group of 3 or 5 people.

This group shall be empowered to review the case file, gather additional information and interview witnesses, including the parties, within twenty-one (21) days* from the convening of the appeal review group. The Equal Opportunity office will work with the President and the appeal review group upon request.

4. If the appeal review group determines that NMU’s nondiscrimination policy was violated, it shall submit a written report supporting these findings, along with recommendations for further action, to the President of the University.  Recommendations may include but are not limited to: 

  • education/awareness,
  • imposition of special duties,
  • an official reprimand,
  • change in University policy or procedure,
  • suspension,
  • discharge or expulsion from the University,
  • financial restitution and,
  • transfer or change in school or work environment.

5. If the appeal review group finds that NMU’s nondiscrimination policy was not violated, it shall recommend to the President that the case be dismissed within twenty-one (21) days* of convening the appeal review group.

6. The President will review the recommendation of the appeal review group. The decision of the President shall be final, and shall become part of the record.  The closed case file will be kept in the Equal Opportunity Office.


Time Limits

All of the time limits specified above may be extended for good cause. If the complainant fails to respond within the time limits provided, the complaint shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.  (*All dates noted are considered days when the university is in operation.  Days are weekdays when the university is in operation.)

Further information about prohibited discrimination is available from the Equal Opportunity Office at (906) 227-2420.

Approved:  9/23/2009