Discrimination Claims: Allegations of unlawful discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sex, gender or gender identity; race; color; national origin; religion; creed; age; disability; citizenship; marital or domestic partnership status; sexual orientation or affectional status; genetic predisposition or carrier status; military or veteran status; status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking; or any other characteristic protected by law federal, state or local law, rule or regulation.
Affirmative Action Officer (AAO): Administrator responsible for the coordination and implementation of University policy and procedure regarding discrimination claims.
University Grievance Reserve Pool (Pool): The group from which panelists will be drawn to hear grievances, shall be composed of administrators, faculty, staff and students to be selected by the University Senate in consultation with the AAO.
Discrimination Hearing Panel (Panel): Three-member panel formed to conduct a hearing with respect to a formal written complaint alleging discrimination. Panel shall be selected from the Pool in the manner set forth below.
Seek, at staff member’s option, to resolve complaint through management line described in procedures for non-discrimination grievances.
- Formal Procedure:
Preparation of Complaint: If for any reason the complaint is not resolved informally to the satisfaction of the staff member, within a reasonable period of time, the staff member should contact the AAO, who will assist the grievant in the preparation of a formal written complaint.
Service of Complaint and Convening of Panel: As soon as practicable, after preparation of a formal complaint, the AAO shall:
- Serve the complaint upon the respondent.
- Convene a panel from the Pool.
- The grievant and the respondent shall each select one panelist from the Pool. The third panel member shall be selected by the aforesaid two panelists, and shall serve as Chairperson of the Panel.
- In the event that either party does not select a panel member, the AAO shall fill the vacancy or vacancies from the Pool.
- In the event the first two panelists selected cannot agree upon a third panelist, the AAO shall make such selection from the Pool.
- The AAO shall be an ex-officio non-voting member of the Panel.
- Each of the parties shall be afforded an opportunity to present an opening and closing statement.
- The grievant and his/her witnesses shall be heard first.
- The respondent shall be given an opportunity to testify and present evidence and witnesses, but shall not be compelled to testify against his/her will, nor shall an inference be drawn from the failure to testify.
- Each of the parties or their advisor shall have an opportunity to hear and question adverse witnesses.
- The decision of the Panel shall be based solely upon evidence presented at the hearing.
- A finding of the Panel shall be based on a fair preponderance of credible evidence.
- The burden of proof rests with the grievant.
- A tape recording of the hearing shall be made at the University’s expense. Said recording shall be retained by the AAO for a period of one year. A party to the proceeding may obtain a written transcript or a copy of the tape recording at his/her expense.
- The failure of a party to either respond to the complaint or to participate in a hearing shall not preclude the Panel from proceeding and rendering its decision.
- Within thirty days after the conclusion of the hearing, the Panel shall prepare a written opinion as to whether the charges alleged in the complaint have been substantiated, stating the findings relied upon for such conclusion. A minority opinion and recommendation regarding action to be taken may be included. When such opinion is completed, the Panel shall serve copies thereof upon the parties and shall submit the opinion to the President. The Panel’s opinion and recommendations are advisory in nature and are not binding upon the President.
Decision and Notice of Decision: As soon as practicable after receipt of the Panel’s opinion, the President shall render a written decision as to whether the charges have been substantiated. Such decision shall be communicated to the parties.
Remedial Action: If the President finds that the grievant’s charges have been substantiated, he shall confer with the grievant to determine appropriate corrective action. The University will implement corrective action upon receipt from the grievant of a signed statement releasing the University from all claims that the grievant might have arising out of the incidents or conditions upon which the grievance was based.
Miscellaneous General Provisions:
- Time Limits: All time limits contained in the foregoing procedures may be extended by mutual written consent of the parties or by the AAO.
- Confidentiality of Proceedings: The University shall take all reasonable steps to insure the confidentiality of all proceedings, hearings and the records produced there from. However, should any matter developed during the course of the proceedings become public knowledge, the University reserves the right to issue appropriate statements.