Utah State University's goal in all cases involving a potential non-discrimination policy violation is to address and prevent discriminatory behavior, while providing a fair, respectful, and equitable process for all parties.
In this case, as in all cases, the university followed its non-discrimination policy, procedures, and process to their conclusions and dedicated significant resources to the matter, including through the grievance process, working with alum Gregory Noel one-on-one to hear his concerns, and providing supportive measures. Noel graduated in spring semester 2020.
When the Office of Equity finds a policy violation through an investigation, sanctioning for a faculty member falls under the faculty code, not the Office of Equity, and faculty members may request a review of a reprimand by the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee as provided for in USU Policy 407. The committee’s decision is final under the faculty code.
Utah State is committed to creating a working and learning environment free from discrimination and creating a culture of belonging. The university has created a Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and hired its first vice president to address these efforts. Additionally, USU recently released a Roadmap to Inclusive Excellence.
Individuals who have experienced or witnessed potential violations of the university’s non-discrimination policy may report these concerns to the Office of Equity. Individuals may also seek support through the Social Climate Support Team for an incident of bias.
When plaintiff attorneys seek to use the media to litigate their cases and reach out to the media before the university even receives notice of a lawsuit, the public should be aware that they are getting one set of facts from one perspective.
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