Frequently asked questions
Below you will find general responses to frequently asked questions about the University of Nevada, Reno (the University) internal investigation process. Additional questions about the investigative process may be referred to the appointed investigator assigned to your case
What happens during an internal investigation?
An “internal investigation” occurs when the University investigates allegations of violations of the NSHE or University's non-discrimination policies and/or the NSHE and the University's policies against sexual harassment. The purpose of an internal investigation is to impartially gather and compile all relevant evidence necessary to determine whether a policy violation occurred and whether disciplinary action is warranted.
Who conducts internal investigations?
Neutral, trained investigators are appointed to conduct the fact-finding investigation and prepare the fact-finding report. The role of the investigator is to gather the facts surrounding the allegations of misconduct and to prepare a fact-finding report containing all relevant evidence for the decision-making officer’s review. The investigator does not serve, and should not be viewed as an advocate for any party to the investigation.
What are my obligations during an investigation?
Your honesty and cooperation is expected. Cooperation includes being candid and forthcoming when interviewed, and promptly providing any requested documents and materials that are either accessible to you, or are in your possession. In an internal investigation, you can choose not to respond to any questions or not to participate in the investigative process. However, your failure to cooperate with the investigation, or to respond to questions, means your account of the events will not be contained in the record on which the decision making officer will make a decision. Furthermore, deliberately providing false or misleading responses may subject you to disciplinary action. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to participate fully and truthfully in the investigative process.
Is the investigation confidential?
While the University makes every attempt to keep the investigation confidential, complainant and witness names may not be protected from all involved parties. Moreover, to facilitate fairness towards the respondent, the University must also ensure that the respondent has a meaningful opportunity to provide their account of the events related to the allegation(s) and to comment on the relevant facts subsequently gathered during the investigation. Additionally, while materials and information collected during the course of the investigation are maintained in a confidential manner, they may be disclosed to appropriate administrators involved in the complaint process, on a strict “need to know” basis. Information may also be disclosed if required by law, rule, regulation, or court order.
The University has a compelling interest in protecting the integrity of its investigations. In every investigation, the University has a strong desire to protect parties and witnesses from retaliation, to keep evidence from being destroyed, to ensure that testimony is not fabricated or influenced, and to prevent a cover-up. In light of this, the University will investigate any claim of interference with an investigation and any individual found to have improperly interfered with an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action.
What do I do if I am the Respondent?
Do not contact the Complainant. It is recommended that you review the allegations made against you and be prepared to respond to them during your interview. You should bring any documentary evidence you may have and provide the names and contact information of supporting witnesses along with a brief summary of what you expect them to offer.
Can an advisor, union representative, parent or personal attorney accompany me during the investigative process?
All parties to an investigation shall have the opportunity to select an independent advisor for assistance, support, and advice. Your advisor may be any person who does not have a conflict and who is not a witness in the case. It is the responsibility of any party desiring an advisor to arrange for such individual’s presence. A party may retain a private attorney as an advisor, at the party’s own personal expense. Your advisor will not be permitted to advocate for you or to answer any questions on your behalf, their role is to advise and assist you. If a private attorney will accompany you please notify the appointed investigator no later than three (3) working days prior to your scheduled interview.
Can I record my interview?
Generally, No. In order to protect the confidentiality and integrity of investigative interviews, interviewees are not permitted to record proceedings.
What happens with my statement?
The investigator will document the interviewee’s statement in a written summary that will be provided to the interviewee to review and sign. The interviewee will have the opportunity to correct what they believe to be any inaccuracies in the written interview summary before signing and dating the document.
How long is the interview, and what should I bring with me?
The timespan of each interview varies, depending on the nature and amount of allegations, the extent of questioning, and the time it takes the interviewee to answer. You should plan to be available for the interview for at least two (2) hours. Breaks are permitted during the interview upon request. If more time is required to complete the interview, an additional date/time will be scheduled as appropriate.
You may bring materials into the interview that are relevant to the investigation, including all physical evidence such as documents and photographs, the names and contact information of potential witnesses along with a summary of what they are likely to offer, and other materials that support your case. Originals are preferred to copies, and all materials should be in their original, unaltered condition.
What will happen during the interview?
At the interview, the appointed investigator will ask you questions and take notes of your responses. There may also be a note taker present. If you require special accommodations, please contact the appointed investigator no later than five (5) business days prior to your scheduled interview.
What happens when an investigation is completed
When an investigation is completed, the investigator will produce a report containing thorough and objective findings of fact based upon relevant witness interviews, documents, and other evidence. The report will state a finding as to whether each allegation of a policy violation is substantiated or unsubstantiated. The report will be reviewed by the designated decision maker, who will make a decision as to what (if any) corrective and/or punitive actions are appropriate.
Will I receive a copy of the investigation, and/or a written notice of the decision?
The investigation itself is not generally released to anyone absent a court order. The complainant and the respondent will receive a closing letter at the conclusion of the investigative process informing them of the findings and that the investigative report has been forwarded to the identified decision making official. Each complainant and respondent will receive a written notice of the decision by the appointed decision making official. Generally witnesses will not be notified.
I am afraid of retaliation, or have been a victim of retaliation, What should I do?
The University recognizes that individuals may be afraid of possible retaliation, and that this can be very stressful. Retaliation is any adverse taken against a person because of that person’s good faith participation in a protected activity, such as making or supporting a complaint of, seeking assistance about, or opposing discrimination, harassment or a violation of University policy. An adverse action is an action that would dissuade a reasonable person from engaging in a protected activity. Any retaliation against the complainant or any other person involved in the investigation is strictly prohibited by University policy and will not be tolerated. Retaliation should be immediately reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX. Complaints of retaliation constitute separate charges and can be filed as an independent complaint. The University will take prompt and responsive action to any report of retaliation and may pursue disciplinary or other action as appropriate.