A Message About UCIRO Operations During COVID-19 Situation

UCIRO remains open to receive concerns and conduct intake meetings and investigations.  For the foreseeable future, however, all UCIRO staff are working remotely.  Meetings and interviews will occur via video or phone.  We are committed to continuous service during this challenging time and we look forward to working with you.  To contact us, please email uciro@uw.edu or call us at 206-616-2028.  Thank you.

The University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO) investigates complaints that a University employee has violated the University’s non-discrimination and/or non-retaliation policies. A UCIRO investigation may be requested either by an individual with a complaint about a University employee or by the administrative head of a University organization.

Complaint intake process

At your intake meeting, you’ll talk one-on-one with a UCIRO investigator. The meeting may be conducted in person or over the phone and typically lasts one to two hours. We’ll ask you questions to help us clarify what happened and when, and to make sure that we understand your concerns and how you would ideally like them resolved. Once we have an accurate overview, we will tell you if the facts of your situation fall within UCIRO’s purview for investigation, as defined by UW policy and procedure.  If the facts of your situation fall within UCIRO’s purview, we will discuss the investigation process in more detail, so that you can evaluate your options.

UCIRO’s purview

Certain matters, such as complaints about patient care or student conduct, fall outside of UCIRO’s purview. In addition, matters which occurred more than 365 days prior to a request by an individual will typically not be accepted for a UCIRO investigation. If the facts of your situation do not fall within UCIRO’s purview, then we will refer you to other resources.

Local investigation and resolution

Complaints against University employees may be addressed via local investigation and resolution (generally through the department or HR) or the University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO). The University encourages resolution of complaints at the local level whenever possible. Neither process is required before another may be utilized; however, a local and UCIRO investigation may not be undertaken simultaneously.

Investigation process

If the facts of your situation fall within UCIRO’s purview and the decision is made to move forward with a UCIRO investigation, we will send you a letter with a summary of your complaint, so that you can verify that the allegations are factually accurate and reflect your perspective fairly. Once the allegations are finalized and you have approved them, we will formally open a complaint investigation. An investigator will be assigned to your case, who may or may not be the same person who conducted the intake meeting. The investigator will interview you to ask more detailed questions about the complaint allegations. In addition, the investigator will interview the person(s) accused, interview witnesses, examine relevant documents, and gather related factual information.

 Role of the  investigator

The investigator acts as a neutral, objective fact-finder. The investigator is neither an advocate nor an adversary with respect to the person raising the concerns, the person(s) accused, the witnesses and/or the department(s) involved in the matter.


Information about an investigation is provided only to those who have a “business need to know,” such as the person(s) accused, the administrative head of the University organization involved, the appropriate Human Resources Consultant and/or the Provost’s Office. Because the University is a public institution, after a UCIRO matter is concluded, information contained in UCIRO files may be subject to disclosure under the Washington State Public Records Act. Some information, such as medical information, student records, or information that is otherwise exempt from the Public Records Act, will not be subject to disclosure under that Act. Other information obtained by UCIRO may be disclosed if otherwise required by law, for example, pursuant to a subpoena or court order.


University policy prohibits retaliation against anyone reporting concerns regarding discrimination, cooperating with any investigation of discrimination, or participating in the complaint investigation process. Let the investigator know if you believe that you are being retaliated against.

Conclusion of investigation

At the conclusion of an investigation, typically the investigator orally reports the findings to the complainant, the subject, and often, to the department.  These oral reports are made in separate meetings.  During these meetings, the participants may ask questions and learn about the investigative process and the reasoning for the investigation’s conclusions.  Also, the investigator will issue a closure notice.  The closure notice will include a conclusion that the University’s non-discrimination and/or non-retaliation policies either have or have not been violated. Once the closure notices are issued, the UCIRO matter will be closed. Per UW policy, there is no internal appeal process. Individuals who are dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint investigation may contact state or federal agencies.

Resolution options

Resolution discussions may be initiated at any point in the process either by the person who has raised concerns or by the department involved in the matter. The investigator facilitates a dialogue between the interested parties in an effort to help them identify potential resolution options. The possibilities for resolution vary greatly depending upon the particular facts of a matter, how an individual may prefer that a matter be resolved, and what proposals are mutually agreeable. Resolution is always voluntary and not all matters result in a resolution. If a resolution is successfully achieved, the UCIRO complaint investigation is administratively closed at that time.

University policies

Administrative Policy Statements 46.3: Resolution of Complaints Against University Employees

Executive Order 31: Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action