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Affirmative Action

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  • FAQ (frequently asked questions)

    Who is responsible for funding "reasonable accommodation" requests?

    The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation act of 1973 (as amended) are federal laws, which mandate that all university programs, services and activities be fully accessible to people with disabilities. This includes students, employees (of all categories including students and contracted employees), applicants for employment or admission, and members of the public attending university events or using university facilities. Any costs associated with reasonable accommodations required by this mandate shall be the responsibility of one or more individual units, in accordance with the following guidelines:

    The Disability Resource Services office is responsible for the costs directly associated with reasonable instructional accommodations for officially enrolled students.

    Changes in facilities (e.g. restrooms, doors, ramps, etc.) and the removal of fixed barriers in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) will be the responsibility of the Assistant Chancellor of Administrative Services. Removal of temporary obstacles is the responsibility for the unit involved.

    Financial responsibility for providing reasonable accommodations (other than general barrier removal) to employees, applicants, or public uses with disabilities belongs to the employing unit, academic unit, or unit sponsoring the public activity.

    The cost of accommodation will be the responsibility of the lowest organizational level. Should this cost create an undue financial burden, the unit must apply to the next successive level as follows:


    Unit Representative

    Department sub unit or program



    Dept. Chair or Director

    School, College, or Division

    Dean or Division Head


    Chancellor or designee

    Among the criteria to be considered about whether a unit should have assistance in funding the accommodation from a higher-level administrative unit, is the impact on the support and expense budget that the request would represent. Decision makers may obtain advice from the ADA Coordinator. Using this process to obtain funding shall not be a reason to deny or delay providing a reasonable accommodation. 
    Source:  Faculty Handbook

    I'm having difficulty with a co-worker.  I'm not sure I want to or should file a complaint.  Is there someone I can talk to confidentially before initiating a formal process?

    There are specific procedures in place for reporting certain types of behavior, such as:  sexual harassment, discrimination of a protected class, hate crimes, workplace violence, or violation of personnel rules.  Click here to learn about those procedures and definitions.

    If your co-worker's behavior does not fall into one of these categories, and depending upon your classification, you may take your concern to a variety of individuals.  Whenever possible, you are encouraged to begin with your first-line supervisor, or their higher authority if the co-worker in question is your first-line supervisor.  If that is not possible, a confidential conversation may be had with any of the following individuals: 

    • Nizam Arain, Director of Affirmative Action, 131 Graff Main Hall
    • Madeline Holzem, Executive Director of Human Resources, 144 Graff Main Hall
    • Barbara Stewart, Associate Dean for Campus Climate & Diversity, 1130 Centennial Hall

    Is there training or guidance for chairs of Search & Screen committees?

    For many people, chairing a Search & Screen committee may be a first-time experience; for others, it's been a while and the process may have changed.  The offices of Affirmative Action and Human Resources are here to guide you and will be of assistance in any way they can.  Feel free to contact any of the persons listed below if you have questions. 

    Human Resources offers one-on-one training for Search & Screen chairs on the use of our recruitment software program, People Admin.  Contact Tracey Simpson to set up an appointment. Nizam Arain, Director of Affirmative Action, will meet with Search & Screen Committees to guide them on how best to meet their hiring goals or to address any questions ensuring legal compliance and equal employment opportunity.  Other persons working with unclassified staff recruitment:  Judith Albert, Equal Opportunity Specialist, Affirmative Action, and Joy Gutknecht, Human Resource Manager, Human Resources. 

    Who represents me?

    Faculty and Instructional Academic Staff (IAS) are governed by Faculty Senate. For information about Faculty Senate, employees should refer to the Faculty Senate webpage.

    Non-Instructional Academic Staff (NIAS) are governed by the Academic Staff Council. For information about the Academic Staff Council, employees should refer to the Academic Staff Council webpage.

    The majority of the Classified positions at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse are represented by a bargaining unit. UWL employs individuals represented by nine bargaining units: Building Trades, State Engineering Association (SEA), United Professionals for Quality Health Care (UPQHC), Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association (WLEA), Wisconsin Professional Education Council (WPEC), Wisconsin State Employees Union (WSEU), and Wisconsin Science Professionals (WSP). Where a bargaining unit exists, the language in the bargaining unit agreement dictates applicable rule/law.

    The remainder of the classified employees are considered non-represented which means they are not represented by a certified bargaining unit. Non-represented employees are covered under the biennial compensation plan which is developed by the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) in conjunction with agency input.

    Classified employees are notified in their appointment letter whether they are represented by a bargaining unit. Union contact information is provided at orientation.

    Click HERE for a link to the Classified Employee Unions websites.

    What should I do if I receive abusive or offensive email messages from a colleague, professor, or student?

    The right to be free of abusive, offensive, or patently unwanted material, along with other policies governing the use of university technology is covered under the university's policy regarding Responsible Use of Computing Services.  Although appropriate and thoughtful feedback is encouraged and welcomed by all staff, employees are reminded to retain their professionalism at all times in their interactions with each other and with the public. In this case, the recipient should inform the sender that s/he found the language used to be offensive, inappropriate and unprofessional.  

    Issues concerning these policies, or allegations of harassment or other irresponsible use of information technology resources, should be brought to the attention of Assistant Dean of Students John Palmer in the Office of Student Life ( and/or Chief Information Officer/Assistant Vice Chancellor Mohamed Elhindi (

    My What should I do if a professor or staff member is engaging in conversation of a sexually suggestive or explicit nature?

    All university staff are reminded to be professional when speaking to colleagues, co-workers, students or the public especially when representing the university. Although sharing stories from your personal life is a matter of choice, caution should be exercised to avoid embarrassing either yourself or your audience.  If just one person is offended by your sexually explicit actions or words, even if they are not the intended recipient, they could have cause to file a sexual harassment complaint against you. All staff should familiarize themselves with the definition of sexual harassment and our policies: /AAOD/policies/policies_sexual_harassment.htm.

    If you are witness to, or are the recipient of, unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature, your first option is to discuss your feelings with the person responsible. Sometimes, he/she may not be aware his/her remarks or behavior are offensive and, when brought to their attention, a reasonable person will refrain from that behavior in the future. If you do not see this as an option, there are informal and formal steps to take toward a successful resolution. Informally, and depending upon your status (i.e., faculty, staff, student), there are personnel in a number of campus offices who can serve as a resource, including: Affirmative Action, Human Resources, Office of Student Life, and Campus Climate & Diversity. If you are not sure what to do, contact someone in one of those offices for guidance and advice. Formal complaints are filed with and investigated by the Affirmative Action Officer per UW-La Crosse Policy on Sexual Harassment /AAOD/policies/policies_sexual_harassment.htm.

    (If you do not find your Question addressed, you may email for a personal response or referral to the appropriate office.)

    Employee Benefits

    Employee Benefits are administered by the office of Human Resources.  For a summary of benefits, see Benefits At A Glance.  For a listing of Human Resource staff and their specialties, see HR staff contacts.

    Disability Accommodation

    It is the policy of UWL to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment. UW-La Crosse will adhere to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as required to afford equal employment opportunity to qualified disabled individuals. Reasonable accommodations will be provided in a timely and cost effective manner. Employment opportunities shall not be denied because of the need to make reasonable accommodations to an individual's disability. A copy of the UWL Reasonable Accommodation Policy can be viewed at the Human Resources Office. Questions regarding this policy can be directed to Cedric Steine in Human Resources, 144 Graff Main Hall.


    Funding for Diversity Initiatives

    Criminal Background Check

    Employment at UWL will require a criminal background check. A pending criminal charge or conviction will not necessarily disqualify an applicant. In compliance with the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, the University does not discriminate on the basis of arrest or conviction record.

    A complete copy of UWL's Criminal Background Check policy can be found on the HR webpage.

    Exit Interview Survey

    Staff leaving the university are encouraged to fill out an Exit Questionnaire.  To take the survey, contact Affirmative Action at the link below.

    If you would like a personal and confidential interview with the Affirmative Action Officer, please call 608/785-8541 to set up an appointment. 

    Legal/International Employment Issues

    • Faculty - contact Madeline Holzem, Executive Director of Human Resources, 785-8013
    • Student - contact Diane Sasaki, Office of International Education, 785-8921

    Sexual Harassment or Assault

    Domestic Partnership