Office of Compliance and Equity Management

Affirmative Action Frequently Asked Questions

What is equal employment opportunity and how does this differ from affirmative action?

Equal employment means all individuals shall be treated equally in all employment processes. That is, individuals shall be considered based on his/her qualifications without regard to his/her age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, or any other protected category under applicable federal, state, or local law, including protections for those opposing discrimination or participating in any complaint process on campus or with other human rights agencies. 

Affirmative action, while similar in orientation, goes further than equal employment. Affirmative action seeks to remove barriers that limit those in protected classes historically discriminated against. In other words, the University seeks to overcome past discrimination of women and minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans by being active in their recruitment, employment, and retention.

Though the University, through its Affirmative Action Plan (AAP), has set goals to increase the recruitment, employment, retention, and promotion of protected classes, these goals are not intended as quotas that must be met. Rather they are targets UNI is dedicated to attain by treating all individuals equally.

What is the UNI Affirmative Action Plan (AAP)?

Affirmative Action Plans are required of any federal agency that receives $50,000 or more in federal contracts and that has 50 or more employees. Virtually all universities fall into this category. This plan measures improvements made in hiring, training, and promotion of women and minorities in all areas of the University. The UNI AAP is prepared by the Office of Compliance and Equity Management every year and helps us determine our affirmative action strategies for the next year. 

In having affirmative action, does this mean we apply different standards for protected classes?

If we were to use different standards for white males than for women and minorities, this would imply women and minorities are less qualified. Affirmative action does not, in any way, mean we can hire any candidate who is less qualified. But, we must re-evaluate what it means to be most qualified. Different people bring different skills and assets to the table but may be equally qualified to do the job.

How does the Office of Compliance and Equity Management serve the University community?

  1. Monitors the University’s recruitment and employment procedures to ensure diversity objectives are met and equal opportunity guidelines are adhered to;

  2. Compiles and reviews the University’s statistical analysis and reports concerning the workforce composition by race and gender, including the annual Affirmative Action Plan;

  3. Receives reports and complaints concerning alleged violations of civil rights and works toward resolution through investigation, mediation, and other methods;

  4. Oversees compliance with various federal and state laws, executive orders, rules, and regulations, including, but not limited to:

    • Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Executive Order 11246
    • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
  5. Serves as the University liaison with outside civil rights agencies, including, but not limited to the:

    • Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC)
    • Office for Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education)
    • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
    • Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
  6. Supports, leads, and participates in efforts toward establishing and maintaining a culture which embraces diversity as a core value.