In the Fall of 2019, Chancellor Arvizu and President Floros convened a task force, led by Provost Carol Parker, with assistance from an expert consultant and knowledgeable NMSU staff, to review the full range and scope of the NMSU System’s investigatory and reporting obligations. The task force conducted an environmental scan and gap analysis, researched best practices, and made recommendations for process improvements. The task force looked at:
- consistency in processes
- transparency and fidelity to policy
- gaps in policy
- fairness in due process
- how best to provide structure and support for our investigators, e.g., training
- how best to ensure data collection and post-investigation analysis for continuous process improvement.
The task force issued its report in early Spring 2020. Among other findings and recommendations, the report most notably identifies three broad categories by which most investigations can be grouped. In addition there are some specialized investigations with processes mandated for law or regulation, e.g., Title IX. The three broad categories are:
- incident- or event-based reviews of circumstances to ascertain facts, e.g., crimes, accidents, worker injuries, etc.;
- allegations a law or policy was violated, requiring a review to determine the events and/or potential policy violation, e.g., employee disciplinary proceedings, EthicsPoint reports, etc.;
- interpersonal disputes between faculty/staff/students which ideally would be resolved by processes that promote reconciliation, rather than a classical investigative structure which is more likely to escalate interpersonal conflict, e.g., grievances, etc.
The task force recommended NMSU establish default review and investigative procedures for each of the three broad categories identified, and develop reviewer/investigator training programs to ensure consistency and adequate due process. The implementation of the task force’s recommendations is underway.
The full report from the Holistic Investigation and Reporting Protocols task force can be found at https://president.nmsu.edu/files/2020/05/Investigations-Task-Force-Final-Report-Appendices-1.26.20-rev-version.pdf
The original charge can be found at: https://president.nmsu.edu/files/2020/05/Task-force-for-Holistic-Investigation-and-Reporting-Protocols-Charge.pdf