University of Wisconsin–Madison

Addressing HIB

There are several possible approaches to take in addressing hostile and intimidating behavior.

  • Consult with resources (either local or campus) to gather information on options for an informal resolution.
  • Directly approach the individual whose behavior is unwelcome. Tell them how their behavior affected you and tell them that you don’t want it to happen again.
  • Rather than approach the individual yourself, you may ask for an “intermediary” – a trusted colleague at the department, school/college/division, or campus level – to do so on your behalf.
  • A related approach would be to bring the matter to your supervisor, your chair, or – if the person involved is the supervisor or chair – the associate dean or HR representative to seek their advice.
  • Designated HIB liaisons can serve as a confidential source of guidance in pursuing any of the above methods.
  • You can file a complaint with your department chair or unit head. (If the conflict is with the chair or unit head, file the complaint with the dean or director.)
  • In the case of a faculty complaint, the chair or dean will investigate the complaint, and if she or he finds that there’s evidence to support the complaint, she or he can initiate disciplinary or dismissal action by filing a complaint with the provost.
  • In the case of a staff complaint, the chair (or unit head) or dean (or director) will investigate the complaint, and if she or he finds that there’s evidence to support the complaint, she or he can initiate discipline or dismissal action under the appropriate policy.
  • If filing the complaint doesn’t resolve the matter, you can file a grievance.
    • For faculty, the grievance is filed with the University Committee; the process is outlined under FPP Chapter 8.
    • For academic staff, the grievance is filed with the Academic Staff Appeals Committee; the process is outlined under ASPP Chapter 7.
    • For university staff, consult the Office of Workforce Relations; the process is outlined under the University Staff Grievances Policy.
  • Research or scholarly misconduct: some actions contributing to hostile and intimidating behavior may constitute research misconduct, for which additional resources and processes apply. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education investigates reports of research misconduct. Reporting of research misconduct may be combined with other approaches described above, as needed.
  • You can file a complaint with the Office of Compliance at 608-265-6018. Sexual harassment and discrimination of those with protected status: some actions contributing to hostile and intimidating behavior may constitute sexual harassment or discrimination, and such cases are investigated by the Office of Compliance. Reporting of discrimination and sexual harassment may be combined with other approaches described above, as needed.
  • If you are a staff member who has been bullied by a faculty member, you may pursue any of the approaches outlined above. If you’re using the informal process, it’s the same regardless of whether the person involved is faculty or staff. If you’re using the formal process, the steps are the same, but in order to assure due process, the governance bodies and policies that apply are the ones for the person accused of HIB. (So, if you’re a staff member who has been subject to HIB by a faculty, the faculty member is entitled to due process under FP&P chapters 8 or 9; if you’re a faculty member who’s been bullied by a member of the academic staff, the staff member has due process under ASPP chapters 6 and 7.)

Student workers are often in very precarious situations with little to no institutional power/influence. According to AAU survey results Graduate Students sometimes experience HIB and sexual harassment from faculty members. If you are a student who is experiencing HIB, you are entitled to support as a university employee through the Ombuds office, the Dean of Students office, and (if a grad student) the Graduate School. Graduate student workers should also consult with Graduate Coordinators, TAA Stewards, and/or the Graduate School.