Formal Complaint Processes | Information for Complainants and Respondents | Faculty | Non-T9

For Formal Complaints Against Faculty: Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment

This page provides an overview of the formal complaint process under the MIT P&P, Section 9.8, excluding Title IX Sexual Harassment, when the Respondent is a faculty member, senior research scientist, senior research engineer, or senior research associate. Click here for the Title IX Sexual Harassment handout. You can email IDHR staff at idhr@mit.edu with questions at any point throughout the process.

Neutrality  The Investigator does not take sides. The Institute is committed to providing a fair and unbiased review, and our investigations are focused on the information available. We also help both the Complainant and Respondent by providing information about available support services. 

Confidentiality  All participants in the Complaint resolution process are expected to maintain confidentiality during the process to protect the privacy of all involved, to the extent possible and as permitted by law. The Complainant and Respondent are provided with sufficient details about the allegations and investigation to allow them a fair opportunity to participate. In most cases, this includes the name(s) of the parties; date, time, and location of incident(s); and information of the alleged misconduct. The level of detail varies depending on the circumstances.

Privacy  To the extent provided under applicable law, MIT will make reasonable efforts to ensure preservation of privacy, restricting the sharing of information to those with a legitimate need to know. Information collected in this process may be subpoenaed in criminal or civil proceedings. 

Understanding the Complaint  The first step the Investigator takes in an investigation is to gather information about the Complaint. This involves reviewing the written Section 9.8 Complaint and usually also involves interviewing the Complainant and gathering details, including documentation and names of witnesses, if any. 

Interviewing the Respondent  After the Investigator understands the nature and scope of the Complaint and has provided notice of the Complaint, the Respondent is asked about the allegations and given a full and fair opportunity to respond. The Respondent is also asked to provide any documentation and identify witnesses relevant to the complaint. The Complainant is not present during the Respondent’s interview and vice versa. 

Lack of Participation  Both the Complainant and Respondent are strongly encouraged to share all relevant information they have regarding the matter. If either party declines to participate in the investigation process, the investigation will continue with the information available. Even without the participation of the Complainant or Respondent, the Institute may still choose to move forward with the investigation process depending on the specifics of the case. 

Gathering other Information  The Investigator interviews witnesses and reviews documentation deemed relevant to the situation. In most cases, the Investigator contacts the Complainant and Respondent with additional questions or to request more information.  The Investigator may also consult with other individuals or offices during this process.

Review of Draft Investigation Report  The Complainant and Respondent are provided with a draft of the written investigation report by the Investigator.  Both parties are given the opportunity to provide comments on the draft. The Investigator reviews the comments submitted by the parties, if any, and determines whether the report should be modified.

Final Investigation Report  After receiving the Complainant’s and Respondent’s comments, if any, the Investigator prepares the final Investigation Report.  The Investigation Report contains a summary of relevant information, makes findings of fact, and makes a recommendation as to whether a policy was violated.

Faculty Panel  The Investigation Report is provided to a Faculty Complaint Review Panel, which is composed of three tenured faculty members chosen by the Associate Provost. The Faculty Panel will review the report and may meet with the Investigator, but generally will not meet with the Complainant or the Respondent.  The Faculty Panel determines if the Respondent violated an MIT Conduct Policy, and if so, makes a recommendation as to disciplinary action.

Both parties, as well as the Respondent’s department head, receive a copy of the Investigation Report, any exhibits that were relied upon in the report, and the Faculty Panel’s determination regarding a policy violation. If a violation of an MIT Conduct Policy is found, these documents are also sent to the Dean of the School in which the Respondent works. 

Discipline and Sanctions   When a determination is made that a Respondent has violated a Conduct Policy, the Dean of the Respondent’s School determines the appropriate disciplinary action and/or sanctions to take, and the Respondent receives written notification of any such discipline and sanctions.  Please review Policy 9.8.4.3 for more information.

The Complainant is not generally provided with information about any action imposed on Respondent issued unless it directly affects the Complainant, such as a “no contact” order. However, in cases of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking, the Complainant and Respondent both receive written notice of the result of the investigation (including the discipline), procedures for appeal (if applicable), any change to the result, and when the results become final.

Assistance during the Complaint Resolution Process  In cases of sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking, the Complainant and the Respondent may bring an advisor of their choice, including an attorney, to any meetings or interviews, as long as that person is not a witness or a party to the complaint. In all other cases, the parties may be accompanied to any meeting by a member of the MIT community, as long as that person is not a family member, subordinate, or attorney. Parties are asked to provide advanced notice if they will bring an advisor to meetings. Advisors may assist in preparing the case and in accompanying the party in an interview but are not allowed to submit material or ask or answer questions on behalf of the party.

Retaliation   The Institute prohibits retaliation.  The Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses are protected from any form of retaliation for participating in the investigative process. Anyone responsible for retaliation or threats of retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action by the Institute.   

Interim Measures and Accommodations  The Institute will offer reasonable and appropriate measures if needed for the Complainant and Respondent to facilitate their continued employment or education during an investigation and also during any informal resolution process.  

Resources for Support  The Institute offers a variety of support services for community members, including:

Additional information about resources for MIT students, staff, and faculty is available online.

More Information  If you have any questions about the investigation or investigation process, please do not hesitate to contact the staff member investigating your case.