Student complaints/grievance policy

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

The University has established this grievance procedure for resolving complaints of discrimination or harassment. Records of student complaint or grievance filed with the Dean of Students are kept for eight years; statistical information to evaluate trends is compiled and reviewed on a yearly basis.

1. “Grievance” shall mean any complaint by one or more students or employees of the University that there has been a violation of University policies or procedures because of race, religion, age, gender (including complaints of sexual harassment or sexual violence), national origin, color, disability or handicap, or any other protected classification or protected activity.

2. Grievance procedures should be initiated within thirty days from the time the grievant knew, or should have known, of the circumstances giving rise to the grievance. The time limit may be extended under special circumstances.

3. Teaching faculty should present their grievance to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Administrative faculty and staff should approach the Human Resources Administrator. Students should report to the Associate Dean of Campus Life.

4. If the grievance is not satisfactorily resolved, the grievant should present the grievance in writing to the appropriate lead administrators: teaching faculty should report to the Dean of Academics, administrative faculty and staff should report to the Vice President for Finance and Administration, and students should report to the Dean of Students. The lead administrator will form a Grievance Committee composed of at least three people: (1) a lead administrator, (2) a teaching faculty member, and (3) an administrative faculty or staff member. If a grievance involves the lead administrator, or if it would otherwise be a conflict of interest for one of them to be involved in the investigation, the grievance should be presented to the President, who will form the Committee to complete the investigation of the complaint. If the grievance involves the President, then the complaint will be presented to the Chair of the DRBU Board of Trustees to form a Grievance Committee.

5. The complaint will then be presented to the Grievance Committee according to the following procedure:

a. The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Human Resources Administrator, or the Associate Dean of Campus Life will present the complaint to the Grievance Committee within ten days after completion of the investigation. The Grievance Committee will promptly schedule a hearing. The person against whom discrimination or harassment is alleged (the respondent) will be given notice in writing of the allegations at least ten days before any hearing is held.

b. Both the respondent and the complainant will be given an opportunity to speak to the Grievance Committee separately.

c. The Grievance Committee shall have the authority to call witnesses as it deems appropriate. Both the complainant and the respondent may request that the Grievance Committee call specific witnesses. The Committee will make reasonable efforts to do so, but reserves the right to decline any request when it concludes that a witness does not possess relevant information, that the witness’s evidence would be cumulative, or when a witness is unavailable.

d. Legal representation during the hearing is not part of the University’s grievance procedure. However, both the respondent and the complainant shall have the right to be accompanied at the hearing by another member of the University community chosen by them.

e. The University will make reasonable efforts to preserve the confidentiality of the allegations and the proceedings.

f. The Grievance Committee shall keep a written record of the hearing.

g. The Grievance Committee shall use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine the outcome of a complaint (i.e., whether it is more likely than not that the harassment or discrimination occurred).

6. The recommendation of the Grievance Committee shall be determined within ten days after the hearing and reported to the appropriate lead administrator: Dean of Academics, Vice President for Finance and Administration, or Dean of Students. The lead administrator will implement the recommendations of the Grievance Committee whether the grievant or respondent is a student, faculty member, or staff member.

7. Both the complainant and the respondent shall be notified of the outcome of the grievance procedure. For cases of sexual harassment or violence, the University must disclose to the complainant information about the sanction imposed on the perpetrator when such sanction directly results from the perpetrator’s conduct toward the harassed individual.

8. If dissatisfied with the outcome, either party may file a final written appeal to the President within ten days of being notified of the outcome of the grievance procedure.

9. At any stage, an equitable resolution may be reached and the grievance concluded at that point. A complainant may file a complaint or charge simultaneously with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education or other external agency, where permitted by such agency.