Equal Opportunity

Equal Opportunity Office (EOO)
Old Main 345
(360) 650-3307 or 711 (WA Relay)

Sue Guenter-Schlesinger, Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, Title IX and ADA Coordinator
Mohammed Cato, Assistant Director, Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Laura Langley, Manager, Equal Opportunity Programs
Lynae Rickman, Administrative Assistant

1. What does your signature mean on the electronic hiring forms when you are searching for a new faculty or staff member?

Your signature represents that you have ensured that the search process has followed equal opportunity guidelines and that you have reviewed all attached paperwork to ensure it is within departmental and college parameters. Equal opportunity guidelines for Western searches are set out in Equity and Inclusion in Hiring: Best Practices for Faculty and Professional Staff Searches, and are reviewed in the equal opportunity and affirmative action briefing provided for the search committee by the Equal Opportunity Office.

On the Request to Recruit e-form, your signature additionally represents that the search committee has
identified proactive avenues for outreach to build an excellent and diverse pool of applicants, and that these venues for outreach are listed on the Recruitment Plan attached to the e-form.  Your signature on the Request to Interview additionally represents that the search committee conducted proactive outreach to build a diverse applicant pool, including reaching out via all means identified on the recruitment plan.

2. What do you do if someone brings you an EO issue or you become aware of one?

If a student, faculty, or staff member voices a concern regarding possible discrimination or harassment based on a legally protected characteristic, promptly contact EOO for assistance and encourage the individual to contact EOO directly as well. Under law and Western policy, legally protected characteristics are race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status and genetic information.

You should not attempt to resolve these types of issues yourself, without consulting with EOO. Be aware that issues of discrimination and harassment sometimes present themselves in very subtle forms, and an individual raising a concern might not say that they were discriminated against or harassed.  The law requires supervisors (including department chairs) to address discrimination or harassment concerns they “knew or should have known” about.

Per Western’s Policy on Preventing and Responding to Sex Discrimination, Including Sexual Misconduct, department chairs who learn about alleged sexual violence occurring while someone is a student or employee at the university (including dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking) must promptly report the allegation to the Title IX Coordinator, Sue Guenter-Schlesinger.

3. What do you do if someone brings you an EO issue and asks you to keep it in confidence?

The law requires a supervisor to address a discrimination or harassment issue if he/she “knew or should have known” about it. While Western will respect an individual’s request for confidentiality to the greatest extent possible, we must not ignore potential discrimination and must fulfill our responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students and employees. If the individual indicates at the beginning of the conversation that she/he wants you to keep her or his issue confidential, you should explain that you cannot keep such matters totally confidential and tell the student, faculty or staff member that they may speak confidentially with the Counseling Center, CASAS or the Employee Assistance Program, as appropriate. You should also provide the individual with a full list of resources and reporting options.

4. If a new faculty or staff member joins your department, is any EO training required? What EO trainings are available for department chairs and their faculty and staff?

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training is required of all new faculty and staff.  New employees should go to http://www.wwu.edu/eoo/training.shtml for information about upcoming training sessions and to register.  Online refresher training in the prevention of sexual harassment is required every three years, and employees are emailed when they need to complete the refresher training.

Other EO and diversity-related training is available to department chairs and their faculty and staff, as well as to any other group on campus. These trainings include, but are not limited to: fostering an equitable and inclusive learning environment; managing difficult moments in the classroom; racial, religious, disability and sexual orientation discrimination/harassment; identifying, understanding and intervening in microaggressions; handling disruptive student behavior; preventing and addressing bullying, and; transgender inclusion in the classroom. EOO can also develop trainings and facilitated conversations to address the particular needs of your department.

5. In addition to training, what other helpful resources does EOO offer for department chairs?

EOO is integrally involved in the search process. EO staff brief each faculty and professional staff search committee at the beginning of the search to ensure that all equal opportunity and affirmative action guidelines are followed. The EO staff is available to you for assistance throughout the duration of the search.

In addition to addressing particular instances of possible discrimination or harassment and diversity-related concerns, EOO works closely with department chairs in an advisory capacity on a broad range of equity, diversity and inclusion matters.  For example, EOO can convene student focus groups to gain an understanding of the experiences of diverse or underrepresented students in particular departments, and propose action items to address shared concerns identified in such discussions.  Similarly, EOO can conduct climate assessments via interviews with department faculty and staff, and provide a summary report and proposed areas for action based on the results of those interviews.

EOO provides brochures, wallet cards, flyers and posters about equal opportunity rights and resources and reporting options for survivors of sexual violence.  Please contact us so that we can provide you with copies of these materials for your department office.  EOO also has a small library on issues of discrimination, harassment and diversity that is available for your use.

6. What EO policies do I need to be aware of?

Western’s policies relating to equal opportunity matters are online at http://www.wwu.edu/eoo/policies.shtml. Please be particularly aware of the following policies:


Also see:


Page Updated 11.22.2017