In our efforts to support the academic and professional success of all members of the SEFS community, we encourage members of the community to identify incidents or events that affect their sense of safety in the community. We take reports of these incidents and events, large or small, very seriously. In doing so, we are careful to respect privacy, confidentiality, and due process in recording and responding to such reports. Given the trauma associated with some of these incidents, we also recognize the value of services provided by the university to support the mental and physical health and safety of those who experience these incidents. We will track reports made by any of the pathways described on this page so that we can observe and act on patterns that emerge.
We strive to create a community where all members feel comfortable coming forward directly with grievances, suggestions, or concerns. However, we also provide this online form for situations in which you do not feel safe approaching your advisor, supervisor, or SEFS leadership, fear retribution, or prefer anonymity for any other reason. Messages sent through that form will be forwarded to the SEFS Director, two Associate Directors, and Administrator. The names and addresses of these individuals are provided in the “Reporting Pathways” section below.
Confidentiality, Anonymity, and Investigative Authority
The University strives to limit information about complaints to those with a business need to know. However, public records law and some legal processes may require the University to disclose certain University records. If you are concerned about confidentiality, you should discuss your concern early in your exploration of resolution options so that you can receive guidance on options for how it can be safeguarded. For a list of legally protected confidential resources, scroll to the bottom of this page.
We hope that all members of our community feel comfortable coming forward directly with suggestions or concerns. However, we realize that in some instances individuals may wish to remain anonymous. Please remember, when anonymous comments are received, we have no way of knowing who submitted them, and are unable to follow up directly with the individual to let them know how we addressed their comments.
SEFS is not authorized to investigate or adjudicate claims against faculty, staff or academic student employees, who have rights to appeal personnel actions as outlined in law, the Faculty Code, and various union contracts. Reports to SEFS can, however, result in corrective actions in our processes, procedures, and professional development that can reduce the potential for future harm. Allegations of serious misconduct must be reported to the appropriate authority, described below.
For Concerns about Safety
Urgent Concerns for Physical Safety – call 911
Any other safety or well-being concerns about yourself or others – call SafeCampus (206-685-7233)
They will listen to your concerns and provide guidance and safety plans tailored to your situation. Reports can be made anonymously, and reported back to any individual or office you wish.
Reporting Pathways Within SEFS
Recognizing the varying types, severities, and risks associated with different events, multiple alternative reporting pathways exist.
Your supervisor or advisor, or another person closest to the issue, will often be able to take the quickest action to resolve your complaint. If your supervisor is part of the conflict, consider going up the supervisory chain in your departmental or college leadership:
Student Academic Services Manager (Katherine Kim – email@example.com) or Graduate Program Coordinator (Patrick Tobin – firstname.lastname@example.org) for student-initiated complaints
Messages sent through that form will be forwarded to the Director, Associate Directors, and Administrator
When anonymous reports are received, we have no way of knowing who submitted the information and are unable to follow the communications process as outlined in the points below. We will keep a record of all reports and address each of them to the best of our ability.
What to Expect
When you formally report an issue or concern within SEFS, no matter who in the administrative reporting chain described above you report to, you can expect to:
Receive confirmation within two business days that your report is received.
Discuss with the person you reported to how and to whom you permit them to share the information you have provided. Some information (e.g., information about suspected child abuse) requires mandatory reporting.
Be informed of what the individual or office you have contacted can and cannot do and what the next steps are for addressing your concerns.
Depending on the complaint and desired resolution, you may be referred to an office with investigative authority. If desired, a SEFS staff member can assist you in the process.
Be kept apprised in general terms of actions being taken. (NOTE: The University is required to comply with several laws governing the release of records and we follow the guidelines established in APS 57.9: Departmental Guidelines for the Release of University Records. In general, it is the University’s practice to release personnel records only to administrators when required for the discharge of their University responsibilities. All other requests are referred to the Office of Public Records and Open Public Meetings for determination of the records’ status under the Public Disclosure Act.)
UW Reporting and Other Resources
SafeCampus – The central reporting office to discuss safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others. (Calls may be made anonymously.)
Office of Ombud – Offers you a collaborative and private place to discuss work challenges. The Ombud will not conduct investigations but can help you assess complaint resolution options and navigate University resources.
Bias Reporting Tool – If you encounter or suspect incidents of bias, you are encouraged to use this tool. The UW’s Bias Incident Advisory Committee compiles and analyzes data from submitted reports to inform future educational and prevention efforts. (Reports may be made anonymously.)
UW Offices Authorized to Investigate and Adjudicate Non-Academic Complaints
UW Academic Human Resources (AHR) – For conflicts that may be caused by personality differences, miscommunication, or behaviors that violate University policy such as discrimination or harassment. AHR is our key partner for complaints involving faculty, librarians, and academic staff in the College of the Environment. AHR does not investigate incidents, but it does address conflicts and implement disciplinary sanctions/coaching/etc., after an investigation is completed.
UW Human Resources (UWHR) – For conflicts that may be caused by personality differences, miscommunication, or behaviors that violate University policy such as discrimination or harassment. The College’s specific HR Consultant is our key partner for complaints involving staff or academic student employees in the College of the Environment. Any complaint of sexual harassment should be directed to UCIRO rather than UWHR.
Legally-Protected Confidential Resources for Students
Counseling Center – Provides confidential personal counseling to UW students for issues such as stress, anxiety, depression and relationship problems.
LiveWell Confidential Advocate – A confidential and safe starting point for students affected by sexual assault, relationship violence, domestic violence and stalking.
UWPD Victim Advocate – A confidential and safe starting point for students affected by crime, including sexual assault, relationship violence, domestic violence and stalking. It is not necessary to make a police report in order to meet with the UWPD Victim Advocate.
Title IX Investigation Office – Investigates allegations that a University of Washington student engaged in sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment and other sexual- and gender-based violence.
NOTE: Sharing information with the Counseling Center or a confidential advocate is not the same as making a report to the University for the purpose of starting an investigation. Advocates can help you understand your rights and support you in creating a plan for your situation.
Legally-Protected Confidential Resource for Employees
UWPD Victim Advocate – A confidential and safe starting point for employees affected by crime, including sexual assault, relationship violence, domestic violence and stalking. It is not necessary to make a police report in order to meet with the UWPD Victim Advocate.
NOTE: Sharing information with a confidential advocate is not the same as making a report to the University for the purpose of starting an investigation. Advocates can help you understand your rights and support you in creating a plan for your situation.
Messages sent through that form will be forwarded to the SEFS Director, two Associate Directors, and Administrator. The names and addresses of these individuals are provided in the “Reporting Pathways” section above.