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Complaint Resolution Procedures

When a report of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation is received, the report will be referred to the appropriate College official for investigation and resolution as set forth in this policy, depending on the nature of the complaint and status of the parties. The College strives to resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation within 60 days of a report. If, based on the complexity of the complaint, time to resolution will exceed 60 days, the reasons will be communicated to the complainant and the respondent.

If any person involved in investigating or resolving reports of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation under this section determines that they cannot apply them fairly because of a conflict of interest, another individual will be designated to fulfill their responsibilities.

The College will not delay its investigation of discrimination complaints, event if an outside entity or law enforcement agency is investigating a complaint involving the same facts and allegations, and the College will not wait for the conclusion or outcome of a criminal investigation or proceeding to begin an investigation required by this grievance procedure.

Possible interim protective measures

Examples of possible interim protective measures during the pendency of an investigation may include, but are not limited to, any necessary counseling, academic support or transcript modification for students, and schedule adjustments of academic, extracurricular, employment, or other activities. Any adjustments will be designed to minimize the burden on the complainant's access to the College's educational, employment or other programs.

Content of investigation

Under the formal complaint resolution procedure, the College official who received the complaint will investigate or designate an investigator to investigate the report. During the investigation, both the complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to identify witnesses and evidence. Investigations will be handled discreetly, with information shared only with those persons who need to know the information in order for there to be a full and fair investigation.

The College may impose interim protective measures during the pendency of the investigation to protect and separate the parties. The potential need for interim protective measures will be discussed with the parties.

Informal resolution

The complainant or respondent may request to resolve the complaint informally. If both parties voluntarily agree to attempt informal resolution, the process will be facilitated by the College official identified as responsible for coordinating the College's response or a designee, depending on the nature of the complaint.

At any point during the informal process, either party may initiate the formal complaint procedure. An informal resolution process will not delay the College's duty to conduct a prompt investigation of a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

Resolution

The investigator will communicate the final determination to the complainant and respondent in writing. The written notice will include:

  1. A summary of the allegations and facts,
  2. An analysis of the appropriate legal standards applied to the specific facts,
  3. Findings regarding whether discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation occurred using a preponderance of the evidence standard, and
  4. If a finding is made that prohibited conduct occurred, the recommended remedies necessary to eliminate discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects will also be included.

 Examples of measures aimed to eliminate discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects include, but are not limited to, counseling, academic support or transcript modification for students, and schedule adjustments of academic, extracurricular, employment, or other activities.

Special procedures

If a complaint involved alleged conduct on the part of the College's President, the College's Board of Trustees will designate the investigator. Based on the information gathered during the investigation, the Board of Trustees will issue a written notice determining the outcome of the complaint. The determination of the Board of Trustees if final and not subject to appeal.

If a complaint involved alleged conduct on the part of a member of the Board of Trustees, the remaining members of the Board of Trustees will designate the investigator. Based on the information gathered by the investigation, the remaining members of the Board of Trustees will issue the written notice determining the outcome of the complaint. The determination of the remaining members of the Board of Trustees is final and not subject to appeal.

If a complaint involves alleged conduct on the part of the investigator or any administrator ranked higher than the investigator, the College's President will designate the investigator. Based on the information gathered during the investigation, the President will issue the written notice determining the outcome of the complaint. The determination of the President is final and not subject to appeal.

The written notice after an investigation using these special procedures will include:

  1. A summary of the allegations and facts,
  2. An analysis of the appropriate legal standards applied to the specific facts,
  3. Findings regarding whether discrimination occurred using a preponderance of the evidence standard, and
  4. If a finding is made that discrimination occurred, the recommended remedies necessary to eliminate discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

Appeals

This appeals section applies to all appeals of determination of complaints made under this policy when an employee or third party is the respondent. All appeals of determinations where a student is a respondent will be addressed pursuant to the applicable student policy.

Process:

The complainant or respondent may appeal the outcome of a complaint only on the following grounds:

  1. There is a substantial likelihood that newly discovered information, not available at the time evidence was presented to the investigator, would result in a different decision;
  2. There was a procedural error significant enough to call the outcome into question;
  3. There was a clear error in factual findings;
  4. There was a bias or prejudice on the part of the investigator; or
  5. The punishment or the corrective action imposed is disproportionate to the offense.

Appeals must be filed with the designated Appellate Officer that will be outlined in the notice of determination ("Appellate Officer") within ten (10) College business days of receipt of the written notice determining the outcome of the complaint. The appeal must be in writing and contain the following:

  1. Name of the complainant;
  2. Name of the respondent;
  3. A statement of the determination of the complaint, including corrective action, if any;
  4. A detailed statement of the basis for the appeal including the specific facts, circumstances, and argument in support of it; and
  5. Request action, if any.

The appellant may request a meeting with the Appellate Officer, but the decision to grant a meeting is within the Appellate Officer's discretion. However, if a meeting is granted, then the other party will be granted a similar opportunity.

 

Resolution:

The Appellate Officer will resolve the appeal within ten (10) College business days of receiving it and may take any and all actions that they determine to be in the interest of a fair and just decision. The decision of the Appellate Officer is final. The Appellate Officer shall issue a written notice of the resolution of the appeal, including any changes made to the investigators previous written determination. The written statement shall be provided to the complainant and respondent within five (5) business days of the resolution.

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