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Degree Programs

Office of Equal Opportunity

Complaint Procedures

V. Complaints Against Students

Throughout their involvement in the Office of Equal Opportunity's investigative process, the Outcome Council's consideration of Outcomes, and/or appeal proceedings, the Respondent, and Complainant have the following rights and responsibilities:

  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The right to be informed of the Discrimination and Harassment Policies and Procedures.
  • The right to a prompt and thorough investigation.
  • The right to object to the participation of a member of the Outcome Council based on a demonstrable significant bias.
  • The right to request reasonable accommodations (i.e., for disability, language barriers, or location/proximity concerns) to ensure full participation in the process. Requests must be received in a timely manner, 24 hours before any meeting time.
  • The right to privacy throughout the process to the extent possible and with
  • the exception of University administrators that legitimately need to know status of the process.
  • The right to be free from intimidation and harassment and, upon request, to have reasonable steps taken by the University to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact with involved parties.
  • The right to written notification of a pending investigation resulting from a report concerning a potential policy violation. This notice will include the following:
    • A general statement concerning the University policy that has allegedly been violated;
    • The consequences and process if a party chooses not to participate in the investigative process; and
    • o A copy of his or her rights and responsibilities.
  • The right to share information in support of his/her own perspective during the investigative process.
  • The right to provide the names of other individuals, during the investigative process, who have information directly relevant to the incident.
  • The right to have a support person of his or her choice present throughout the process. The support person may consult with the individual, but may not actively participate in any proceeding including the investigative process and/or serving as a witness. Furthermore, a support person may not sit in a proceeding in the absence of the individual to be supported.
  • The responsibility to notify his/her support person of the time, date, and location of any meeting associated with the investigative process. Meetings need not be rescheduled to accommodate a support person.
  • The responsibility to provide notification that a support person will be present for meetings no later than 48 hours before the scheduled meeting. Failure to provide names prior to the meeting may be grounds to exclude a support person.
  • The responsibility to ensure the University has been provided with accurate address and other contact information so that notification is not unduly delayed.

A.  Investigation

1. The Office of Equal Opportunity will investigate all timely complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct that contain sufficient allegations, if assumed to be true, to support a violation of University policy.

2. Discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct matters will not be referred to the Restorative Justice Program or any other alternative dispute resolution.

3. Investigations will be completed as soon as possible, but in all cases will be completed within 60 days, unless additional time is necessary due to the complexity of the investigation or for other good cause.

4. The Complainant shall be given the opportunity to provide information concerning the allegations through an interview by an investigator from the Office of Equal Opportunity and/or a designee.

5. The Office of Equal Opportunity will provide Written Notice of an investigation to the Respondent informing him or her generally of the allegations and process. Notice is delivered via electronic mail to a person's preferred email address as updated by the individual in PioneerWeb, or otherwise provided. Notice may also be delivered in person, or to an individual's University or permanent address, as reported to the University Registrar.

6. The Respondent shall be given the opportunity to provide information concerning the allegations through an interview by an investigator from the Office of Equal Opportunity and/or a designee.

7. The parties may provide any relevant information to the investigator, including the names of witnesses to contact and/or documents to review at any time before the investigation is closed.

8. The investigator shall conduct additional interviews as necessary, review documents and any other relevant information concerning the alleged discriminatory acts.

9. The investigator completes a report of factual findings, including a determination of responsibility for violating a University policy or not. Responsibility determinations are based on a preponderance of the evidence.

B. Findings and Outcomes

1. A summary of findings will be provided to the Complainant and the Respondent. The summary includes determinations regarding responsibility for violating the Discrimination and Harassment policy and/or the Honor Code. There are three possible conclusions to an investigation:

           a.) A violation of a policy.

           b.) There is no violation of the policy, but a determination that the reviewed
           behavior warrants educational outreach.

           c.) No violation of a policy.

2. Where there is no determination of responsibility for a policy violation, the investigation will be closed and the process concluded. However, the University may still initiate community-based remedial efforts such as, educational sessions.

3. Additionally, the complaint or conclusion of an investigation may need to be shared with an academic unit for consideration of applicable codes of professional or ethical standards.

4. The Office of Equal Opportunity does not have the authority to impose outcomes upon a finding of a discriminatory act. Where there is a determination of responsibility for a policy violation, the Office of Equal Opportunity will refer the matter to the Outcome Council for a determination of Outcomes.

5. The Outcome Council will review the report issued by the Office of Equal Opportunity, including a determination of responsibility for violating the Discrimination or Harassment policy and/or the Honor Code. If available, the Outcome Council will consider impact statements from the parties in writing. Additionally, if available, the Outcome Council will take into consideration written statements and past disciplinary records, as appropriate. Based on the appropriate information provided and available to the Outcome Council, it will impose Outcomes. Its Outcome determinations concerning undergraduate students are forwarded to the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and those regarding graduate students to the Director of Student Services in the Office of Graduate Studies; and thereafter shall be forwarded to the Respondent and Complainant.

C. Appeal

1. Any party may appeal Outcome determinations, pursuant to the appeal criteria. Appeals will only be considered in the following circumstances:

           a.) The existence of procedural error(s) so substantial that it would likely alter
           the investigative findings and ultimate Outcomes;

           b.) Presentation of new and significant evidence which was not reasonably
           available at the time of the initial investigation and would likely alter the
           investigative findings and ultimate Outcomes; and/or

           c.) The Outcomes imposed are substantially disproportionate to the violation.

           d.) Merely disagreeing with the decision is not grounds for appeal. The appellate
           process exists solely to review the procedures used to review allegations of
           discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, and not to re-hear a matter
           in its entirety.

2. An appeal will only be considered if submitted to the appellate officer identified by the Outcome Council within five calendar days of the date on the notice of the Outcomes. An extension of these deadlines may be requested if extenuating circumstances arise.

3. If an Appeal is received from either the Complainant or Respondent, or both parties, the other party(ies) involved in the matter will be notified that an appeal has been received. Neither Complainants nor Respondents have the right to view the appeal information unless it is released by the appellate officer. The appellate officer reserves the right to forward any and all portions of the appeal to the other party(ies) as needed in order to address matters raised in the appeal. In such situations, the other party(ies) will be given the opportunity to submit a written response, which will only be considered when provided to the appellate officer within the expressed deadline.

4. If the appellate officer determines that new evidence should be considered, the complaint will be returned to the Office of Equal Opportunity to be reviewed in light of the new information, only.

5. If the appellate officer determines that a material procedural error occurred, it may return the complaint to the Office of Equal Opportunity with instructions to reconvene the investigative process to cure the error. In rare cases where the procedural error cannot be cured by the Office of Equal Opportunity (as in cases of bias), the appellate officer may order a new review of the matter.

6. If the appellate officer determines that the outcomes imposed are disproportionate to the violation, the appellate officer may return the matter to the Outcomes Council with or without recommendations.

7. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student to his/her prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term.