Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.27
Liaison Sarah Mittlefehldt
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2020

STARS v2.2

Northern Michigan University
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.83 / 3.00 Sarah Mittlefehldt
Co-Chair, Sustainability Advisory Council
Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

Yes. NMU has a non-discrimination policy which is available on the Equal Opportunity Website. Please see below for more information on NMU's statement against discrimination:


Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team)?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team:

Northern Michigan University does not have a Bias Response Team, but there are protocols and committees that support those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime. If there is an incident, it would be sent to Dr. Jessica Cruz, who serves as NMU’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and chair of the President's Committee on Diversity (PCOD). Since ex-officio members of this committee include representatives from key offices from across campus, such as Janet Koski from the Equal Opportunity Office in HR, information about the incident reaches the appropriate office if shared within this space. Prior to the creation of the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position in 2016, if a bias incident was reported through an NMU office, such as the Dean of Students Office, then information was shared with the President's Committee on Diversity (PCOD) and the appropriate office would address the issue.

Since the creation of the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position in 2016, Dr. Cruz has been working to improve the process. As a way to protect confidentiality, not all details are shared during PCOD monthly meetings (the group has almost 30 members, most serving with term limits). Also, not everyone on the committee is familiar with how to manage bias incidents, so if an incident is brought to the committee, Dr. Cruz prefers to follow-up to obtain a more in-depth understanding outside of the meeting. She asks members to connect with me directly if there is a concern. She then takes that concern to the appropriate office (e.g., Dean of Students, Public Safety, Equal Opportunity Office). She also reaches out to the person(s) involved in the reported incident, if it's determined appropriate after discussing the incident with representatives of that particular office. It depends on the individual case.

Since becoming Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in 2016, Dr. Cruz has developed and re-launched the Diversity Student Alliance. The group is composed of student leaders/champions dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and equity. She has learned that students do not always feel comfortable reporting incidents. The Diversity Student Alliance allows her to engage students and build trust, which then creates a space in which students feel more comfortable sharing both concerns and ideas. She then follow-ups as needed with concerns raised by sharing with the appropriate office. As she understands from conversations with previous PCOD Chairs, not everyone is aware of the committee and a small number of incidents have been reported in this way over the years. Having the DSA has been helpful for better understanding what NMU is doing well and where NMU can improve efforts related to diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Given all of this, Dr. Cruz has spent time exploring what a more formal process could look like, perhaps as a separate Bias Incident Response Team. She believes it can be beneficial to have a system that tracks bias incidents and identifies patterns. The President's Committee on Diversity is great, but its membership changes annually. Its membership also includes faculty and students who may not have experience in these confidential processes. She believes that having a team trained to manage these scenarios will be more suitable for the purposes of reviewing bias incidents. Dr. Cruz will continue working towards this and hope to have it in place next academic year (fall 2020).

In general, Dr. Cruz or someone from the Diversity and Inclusion Office would meet with the victim of bias. They would ask them what happened and how they would like it handled (student code charges, mediation, discussion, etc.). If the incident occurred in the residence halls, they might have someone from the housing staff (director or assistant director) talk to the victim. Each case is handled individually.

NMU also has a Campus Assessment Team that meets to discuss students of concern. It is possible that a bias incident would also be discussed there.

The Dean of Student's office at NMU is also responsible for responding to student on student discrimination/harassment complaints in line with NMU's non-discrimination policy. The Equal Opportunity Office handles employee, applicant, and student employee discrimination/harassment complaints.

Discrimination/Complaint Procedure is as follows:

This procedure is designed for most discrimination complaints other than sex discrimination/harassment. Please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy for complaints of sex discrimination/harassment.

Retaliation: Retaliation against anyone who files a claim, who is named as a respondent, or who participates in the resolution of a case, regardless of the outcome of the case, is expressly prohibited and could lead to discipline and possible dismissal or expulsion.

False Claim: Deliberate filing of a false claim is expressly prohibited and could lead to discipline and possible dismissal or expulsion.

Confidentiality: Confidentiality is expected to the fullest extent possible from all who are involved in a claim, directly or indirectly.

All reports of discrimination/harassment involving employment or employees shall be promptly reported to an immediate supervisor or the Equal Opportunity Officer/Title IX Coordinator. Supervisors are responsible for immediately notifying the Equal Opportunity Officer/Title IX Coordinator of discrimination complaints.

All reports shall be assessed and, where appropriate, may result in a formal investigation with associated follow up.

When a report is made, the Equal Opportunity Office will assess the facts and circumstances and consider the complainant’s expressed preference for manner of resolution. The University will seek action consistent with the complainant’s request when possible.

The following outlines the University’s timeline, investigation process, final summary of findings, and appeal process for employees.

The University will use its best efforts to complete its investigation within 60 calendar days of the commencement of a formal investigation, although this time line may be extended for good cause. Good cause may include, but is not limited to the complexity of each allegation, the availability of witnesses, University breaks or vacations, or other legitimate reasons.

In the event a time frame is extended, both the complainant and respondent will be notified of the extension and the reason for the extension.

Investigation Process
Any student, staff member, or faculty member may file a complaint of discrimination with the Equal Opportunity Office against any other member of the university community who is believed to have violated the policy.

The Equal Opportunity Office may initiate an investigation to determine if there has been a policy violation, and if so, whether sanctions are warranted. The Equal Opportunity Office has the discretion to consolidate multiple reports involving a respondent into one investigation and resolution if the evidence related to each incident would be relevant in reaching a determination on any other incident.

Faculty and staff investigations will be typically completed by the Equal Opportunity Office, although the investigator(s) may be any appropriately designated employee of the University, or external investigator(s) assigned by the Equal Opportunity Office. The investigator(s) chosen to conduct the investigation must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest.
During the investigation, both the complainant and the respondent will have the opportunity to provide evidence and names of witnesses to the investigator(s).

The investigator(s) will update both the complainant and respondent regarding the status of the investigation at reasonable, regular intervals.

Final Summary of Findings
The investigator(s) provides the final investigation summary of findings and recommendation remedies and/or sanctions to the complainant and the respondent.

The complainant and the respondent will be sent notification of the outcome of the investigation, using email if available, or other reasonable means, which serves as a method for documenting distribution.

Appeal Process
The complainant or respondent may submit written notice of appeal based on fact to the Vice President for Finance and Administration within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the summary of findings and notice of determination. Appeals based on fact are to consider new information, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought up in the initial investigation, because the person appealing did not know such information and/or facts at the time of the investigation. Information which was known to the person appealing, but withheld, will not be considered on appeal.

The receipt of the appeal will be acknowledged by the Finance and Administration Office via email.

Parties will be notified via email of the filing and status of appeals by the Vice President for Finance and Administration Office.

After receiving the appeal request, the Vice President for Finance and Administration or the Vice President for Finance and Administration’s designee will convene an Appeal Review Group of three (3) people. This group shall be empowered to review the case file, gather additional information and interview witnesses, including the parties, if the group deems necessary, within twenty-one (21) calendar days from the convening of the Appeal Review Group. The Equal Opportunity Office will provide assistance to the Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Appeal Review Group upon request. The appealing party or parties may be asked to submit additional information supporting the basis for the appeal, if not previously submitted. Any additional material requested must be submitted within five (5) calendar days upon request. Failure to respond will result in the information not being considered for review during the appeal review.

Within seven (7) calendar days after completion of the appeal, the chairperson of the Appeal Review Group will issue a determination to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
If the Appeal Review Group determines a violation, it will submit a written report supporting these findings, along with the recommendation for further action, to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

If the Appeal Review Group finds that a policy was not violated, it shall recommend to the Vice President that the appeal be denied.

The Vice President for Finance and Administration will review the recommendation of the Appeal Review Group and make a determination. The Vice President for Finance and Administration will notify the appealing party, via email, of the appeal outcome. The decision of the Vice President for Finance and Administration shall be final and shall become part of the record.

Sanction Process for Employees (Faculty and Staff) as Respondent
Sanctions for respondents, who are employees, will be determined by Academic Affairs and/or Human Resources, with input from other offices as appropriate.

Represented Employees: sanctions will be imposed in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement and University policy and procedures.

Unrepresented Employees: sanctions shall be determined in accordance with University policies and procedures, individual contracts, and/or appointment letters.

Potential Employee Sanctions: The potential sanctions for an employee may include, but are not limited to, training, referral to counseling, no contact order, no trespass, loss of privileges, written warning, reprimand, withholding of a promotion, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay, or separation from the University.

All rights afforded to the respondents in a collective bargaining agreement, Human Resources policy or procedure, individual contract or appointment letter will be afforded to the complainant was well.

Investigation Documentation
Individuals involved in the investigation and appeal process will adequately document the testimony of the parties and witnesses, relevant investigation documents, all facts and evidence reviewed, the rationale for determinations, and interim and final remedies and sanctions imposed, if any. All documentation will be submitted to and maintained in the Equal Opportunity Office.

Misconduct by Third Parties
University students participate in NMU academic programs (examples: student teaching, internships, clinical lab practicums, conferences, student trips, etc.) with or under the supervision of persons who are not University faculty or staff. If a student believes that she or he has been subject to discrimination/harassment in a University academic program by an individual who is not a University employee or student, the student should report the alleged discrimination/harassment to the faculty member, department head or dean responsible for that academic program or to the Equal Opportunity Office.

When performing their jobs, University faculty and staff interact with contractors, suppliers, or customers who are not University faculty, staff or students. If a University employee (including a student employee) believes that he or she has been discriminated/harassed within the scope of his or her employment activities by an individual who is not a University employee or student, the University employee should report the alleged discrimination/harassment to his or her supervisor or to the Equal Opportunity Office or to Human Resources.

Individuals who are not students or faculty and staff of the University are not subject to discipline under the University's internal processes. Nonetheless, if the University determines that a third party has perpetrated discrimination/harassment within the scope of her or his employment, the University will take corrective action, which may include terminating a contract.

*All dates noted are considered days when the university is in operation. Days are weekdays when the university is open.

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs designed specifically to recruit non-academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

"Aim North" is the student recruitment program designed to bring students from underrepresented groups to campus. More information here: https://www.nmu.edu/diversity/aimnorth

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs designed specifically to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs designed specifically to support academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support non-academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs designed specifically to support students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

NMU has two programs which provides support to underrepresented students, staff, and faculty in the Multicultural Education Resource Center and the Counseling and Consultation Services.

The Multicultural Education and Resource Center partners with students, faculty, staff and alumni to build a vibrant, stimulating and safe learning community where cultural diversity is highly valued, differences are respected and people from all cultures and backgrounds flourish. Core values include:
•Acceptance of differences
•Student learning and development

Services are open to all students:
•A safe place, where everyone is welcome and can truly be themselves
•Information and resources on diversity issues
•Free printing, copying, faxing, and scanning
•Free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks
•Academic, career, diversity, and social presentations and workshops
•The Network for Education and Support of Tolerance (NEST), a room dedicated to LGBTQ+ resources

The Northern Michigan University Counseling and Consultation Services offers counseling and psychological services that facilitate students' personal development to participate more successfully in the NMU living and learning community. All currently enrolled students are eligible for free and confidential counseling and consultation services. Their professional psychologists and counselors provide focused individual counseling, group counseling, and psycho-educational presentations. In addition, walk-in emergency services are available daily for students who feel in urgent need of help or crisis intervention.

The professional staff are objective, non-judgmental guides to assist students in overcoming both long-standing and immediate problems. We strive to help students develop new skills and perspectives to enrich their lives.

Some of the common issues that students bring to counseling are depressed and anxious feelings, family difficulties, personal crises, coping with loss, and other impediments to personal and academic functioning. They also aid with self-esteem, self-acceptance, identity and sexuality difficulties, as well as healing from the effects of sexual assault/abuse, suicidal thoughts and other destabilizing experiences.

The staff provides consultation to a variety of NMU personnel and departments. They offer guidance to students, staff and faculty to recognize and cope with signs of distress in others.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to prepare participants for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair scholars are from disadvantaged backgrounds and have demonstrated strong academic potential.

Students studyingNorthern Michigan University’s McNair Scholars Program works closely with students in completing their undergraduate requirements, encouraging and supporting their entrance into graduate programs, and tracking their progress to successful completion of advanced degrees. The goal of McNair is to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.

McNair scholars are undergraduate students who have the desire, drive, and capability to complete their baccalaureate degrees and continue beyond to a Ph.D. program.

The McNair Scholars program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to serve first-generation college bound students who are also low income. Additionally, students who are traditionally underrepresented in doctoral programs are eligible to apply.

The program assists scholars in developing study and research skills, navigating graduate school admissions, finding academic tutoring and actively participating in a summer of real research with a faculty mentor. This research results in a publishable paper and presentation poster.

We encourage you to join the McNair Scholars program, as an undergraduate participant, a faculty mentor or simply a supportive partner. Let us help you explore your potential.


Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.