Procedures

  • FOR STUDENTSGrievance Procedures for Potential Violations of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination - Student Handbook
  • FOR EMPLOYEES: University Policy Against Harassment – Policy #4.10  in URG Policy & Procedures Manual

Grievance Procedures for Potential Violations of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination - (FOR STUDENTS)

INVESTIGATION AND SANCTION

Reports of possible Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination violations may be investigated or substantiated by any member of the Title IX Compliance Team. Although each investigation will be tailored to address the unique facts and circumstances presented in a report, every investigation must be adequately thorough, reliable, and impartial. The Title IX Compliance Coordinator has primary responsibility for ensuring that every investigation comports with those standards. 

After the fact-finding investigation has been completed to the satisfaction of the Title IX Compliance Team, one of the following actions may be taken:

  1. Dismissal of the report when the investigation indicates that no Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination violation xx occurred or when the nature of the violation warrants a warning.
  2. Imposition of remedies and sanctions deemed appropriate when a preponderance of the evidence shows that a student has violated the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination.

More than one sanction may be imposed for a single violation of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination. For example, a violator may be placed on restrictive probation and required to undergo assessment. The imposition of a remedy or sanction may occur prior to any formal hearing when appropriate.

 

  1. Referral to the University Hearing Board when appropriate. Cases in which a student is facing suspension or expulsion must be referred to the University Hearing Board.

Even when no formal hearing is warranted, the alleged target(s) and alleged actor(s) (the “parties”) identified in a report alleging a violation of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination will have the opportunity to meet with the Title IX Compliance Team official investigating the matter. At that meeting, the parties will be informed of the specific allegations in the charge(s), and will have an opportunity to offer any defense refuting the allegations or an explanation justifying the conduct.

When the sanction being imposed includes suspension or expulsion, the parties will be given the opportunity to provide a detailed written statement regarding their conduct and whereabouts during the date and time in question before the case is referred to the University Hearing Board for determination of sanction. A student may be temporarily suspended prior to a formal hearing under the procedures set forth in part 9 of the “Disciplinary Sanctions” Section of this Handbook.

After the imposition of a sanction in cases not leading to suspension or expulsion, the sanctioned student may appeal the decision and request a formal hearing. All sanctions that are appealed will remain in effect during the appellate process, except when the Dean of Students, in consultation with the Title IX Compliance Coordinator, has determined otherwise.

NOTICE OF SANCTION

If, after an adequate, reliable and impartial investigation, the investigating official believes a violation of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination has occurred, the official will give a written notice of the disciplinary sanction being imposed to the sanctioned student. This notice will include details of the incident, a description of the violative conduct, and a description of the sanction(s).

RIGHT TO A HEARING

Any student involved in a report of a potential violation of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination has the right to request a formal hearing. Students should be aware that a request for a hearing may not forestall interim measures taken to address any continuing threat or retaliatory conduct. Any request for a hearing must be in writing and received by the investigating Title IX Compliance Team official during the investigation and/or before the third business day following the imposition of any sanction(s). All hearings involving a potential violation of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination will be conducted by the University Hearing Board. If no written request for a hearing is received by the Title IX Compliance Coordinator within three business days following the imposition of any sanction(s), the sanction(s) will be imposed by the investigating Title IX Compliance Team official.

HEARING PROCEDURES

Any hearing involving a potential violation of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination will proceed as follows:

1. TIME OF HEARING: The hearing will be conducted within seven business days following the conclusion of the Title IX Compliance Team fact-finding investigation.

2. APPEARANCE OF PARTIES: All students involved in a report of a potential violation will be permitted, but not required, to attend a formal hearing on the report. The alleged target of the discriminatory conduct will never be required to be present in the same room as the alleged actor. Any requests for separation will be honored. When a request for separation is submitted, the parties may be present for the hearing by means of closed-circuit television or other telepresence technology.

3. SUBPOENA OF WITNESSES: The University Hearing Board will have the authority to subpoena any appropriate faculty member, staff member, or currently enrolled student to appear and testify at a hearing. Any of the parties or the investigating official may request such a subpoena. The request for subpoena must be submitted to the University Hearing Board three business days prior to the scheduled hearing. In addition, the parties and the investigating official may call witnesses who are not faculty, staff, or students and who are willing to appear at the hearing.

4. ADVISOR: The parties may have an advisor present to represent their interests in a hearing. The advisor must be an employee of the University who is willing to volunteer to be the party’s advisor. The following persons are prohibited from serving as an advisor in a hearing:

  • Persons who are involved in the incident giving rise to the report.
  • Persons who have any personal knowledge of the incident, who have been involved in the investigation, or who may reasonably be called as witnesses.
  • The President, Vice President for Administration and Student Services, Dean of Students, University Counsel, Campus Police, Student Life Coordinators, Resident Advisors, members of the Title IX Compliance Team, and members of the Student Judiciary Board.

The name of any party’s advisor must be submitted in writing to the University Heating Board at the hearing.

5. RECORDING: Generally, hearings will not be recorded. Any party may request to record a hearing. Rio Grande will be responsible for creating the recording but makes no warranties about the quality of the recording. Requests may be submitted to the University Hearing Board up to 24 hours before the scheduled hearing.

6. HEARING: Hearings will generally be closed to observers. Any party may request to open the hearing to named observers. Requests may be submitted to the University Hearing Board up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing. Parties may have legal counsel present to observe on his or her behalf. However, legal counsel is prohibited from speaking to anyone during the course of the hearing and is prohibited from participating in the hearing. At any time during the course of the hearing, the University Hearing Board may order the hearing closed to any or all observers, except to observing legal counsel, unless legal counsel has violated the prohibition against speaking during or participating in the hearing. All parties should remember that Rio Grande does not tolerate retaliatory conduct – including intimidation tactics – resulting from a report of a potential Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination violation. Retaliatory conduct will be subject to further disciplinary proceedings.

7. ORDER OF HEARING:

  1. Call to order by Chairperson.
  2. Summary of the report.
  3. Statement by the investigating official.
  4. Statement by or on behalf of the target(s).
  5. Statement by or on behalf of the actor(s).
  6. Evidence, including witness testimony, may be presented by the parties. Following the presentation of each witness called, the witness will be available for questions from the other party and the University Hearing Board. No party will be required to testify on his or her own behalf, or on behalf of any other party.
    1. Evidence presented by the investigating official.
    2. Evidence presented by or on behalf of the target(s).
    3. Evidence presented by or on behalf of the actor(s).
  7. Statement by or on behalf of the target(s).
  8. Statement by or on behalf of the actor(s).
  9. Statement by the investigating official.
  10. Deliberation. The University Hearing Board will deliberate outside the presence of others to determine whether the evidence shows it is more likely than not that the actor(s) did or did not engage in conduct that violates the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination.
  11. Decision. The University Hearing Board will issue a written decision within five business days following the last day of the hearing. If it is determined that a violation occurred, the written decision will include a description of the conduct that violates the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination and any appropriate sanction and/or remedial action.

8. APPEAL: Any party may appeal the University Hearing Board’s decision to the Rio Grande President. In the absence or referral of the President, the appeal will be made to the Provost. The party wishing to appeal must file a notice of appeal with the Dean of Students within three business days following the delivery of the written disposition. Within 10 business days following the delivery of the written disposition, the party initiating the appeal must file a written appeal with the Office of the Dean of Students. The written appeal may not exceed 15 pages in length, must be addressed to the President of the University, and must establish that the University Hearing Board’s written determination is not supported by the evidence or that there was a material deviation from appropriate investigation and grievance procedures creating an unfair result. The President or Provost, as the case may be, will determine the merit of the appeal and decide whether to proceed with a hearing.

9. REVIEW ON APPEAL: If merit of the appeal is established, the President or Provost, as the case may be, will conduct a closed hearing to review the written appeal, a recording of the hearing if available, and the hearing minutes. If no recording is available, or if the recording is of such poor quality that it is not useful for the appeal, the University Hearing Board will prepare a full statement of the evidence and proceedings. The President will come to one of the following conclusions:

  1. The evidence supports the University Hearing Board’s written determination, and the sanction imposed is appropriate.
  2. The evidence supports the University Hearing Board’s written determination, but the sanction imposed is inappropriate and another sanction the President believes is appropriate will be levied.
  3. There was a material deviation from the prescribed investigation or grievance procedures creating an unfair result, and the matter must be re-investigated and/or re-heard under the supervision of the President.

University Policy #4.10 – Anti-Harassment Policy – University Policy & Procedures Manual (PPM) – FOR EMPLOYEES

GENERAL HARASSMENT POLICY APPLICABLE TO UNIVERSITY OF RIO GRANDE It is the University of Rio Grande's position that employees, students, vendors and visitors should have a working, learning and visiting environment free from intimidation, hostility, or other offensive conditions. The University expressly prohibits any form of harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, genetic information, religion, disability, age, marital status, ancestry, national  or ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, military or veteran status, or other characteristics protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. Individuals found to be in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action, which may include written warning, suspension, or dismissal. DEFINITION OF HARASSMENT

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that creates or contributes to a hostile environment. Harassment may include verbally abusive, threatening, crude, impolite, or unprofessional conduct based on an individual’s or organization members’ race,, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, genetic information, religion, disability, age, marital status, ancestry, national  or ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, military or veteran status, or other characteristics protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws).

Conduct constituting harassment may include, but is not limited to:

 

  1. slurs;
  2. “jokes” that refer to a protected class;
  3. offensive or derogatory comments based on membership in a protected class;
  4. verbal or physical conduct based on an individual’s membership in a protected class;
  5. unwelcome physical contact or any touching of a sexual nature;
  6. harassment due to marriage to or association with an individual in a protected class;
  7. harassment due to membership in or association with ethnic-based organizations;
  8. harassment due to an accent or manner of speaking

This conduct by or towards any Rio Grande student or employee will not be tolerated by the University of Rio Grande.

DEFINITION OF SEX-BASED HARASSMENT

Sex-based harassment deserves particular mention. The University prohibits sex-based harassment of its employees, students or visitors in any form. We work to provide an employment and academic environment free of unwelcome conduct or communication of a sexual nature.

Specifically, as laid out in the Rio Grande Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination, no person may engage in sex-based harassment that creates a hostile environment in or under any program or activity of Rio Grande. Further, no person who is an employee or agent of Rio Grande (including a student employee) may condition a decision or benefit on a student’s submission to sex-based harassment (regardless of whether the student resists or submits, and regardless of whether the student suffers or avoids the threatened harm).

Sex-based harassment includes sexual harassment and gender-based harassment. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may include but is not limited to unwelcome verbal sexual advances, sexual touching, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature, or rape, sexual assault, or sexual exploitation. Sexual harassment may also include dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct based on a student’s actual or perceived sex or sexual orientation. Gender-based harassment may include but is not limited to unwelcome conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes.

Unwelcome conduct is conduct is considered ‘unwelcome’ if the student did not request or invite it and considers the conduct undesirable or offensive. Unwelcome conduct may include but is not limited to name-calling, graphic or written statements (including through the use of cell phones or the internet), or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating. Unwelcome conduct does not have to include intent to harm, be directed as a specific target, or involve repeated incident. Participation in the conduct or failure to protest does not necessarily mean that the conduct was welcome. The fact that an individual may have welcomes some conduct does not necessarily mean that such individual welcomes other conduct. Additionally, the fact that an individual requested or invited conduct on one occasion does not necessarily mean that the conduct is welcome on another occasion.

A hostile environment exists when sex-based harassment is sufficiently serious to deny or limit the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the Rio Grande programs or activities. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a Rio Grande program or activity. This includes but is not limited to administrators, faculty members, students, and campus visitors.

Any violation of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination, including the conduct described here, by a Rio Grande employee may result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. Students who violate this policy will be subject to the investigation and grievance procedures laid out in the Rio Grande Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination.

For more information on the conduct prohibited by the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination, or to report a violation, visit http://www.rio.edu/titleix or contact the Rio Grande Title IX Compliance Coordinator at (740) 245-7228.

PROCEDURES FOR CASES INVOLVING ALLEGED HARASSMENT

A.        The Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer (AAO) shall be responsible for the dissemination of this policy.

B.         Each Vice President, dean, director, administrative officer or supervisor of an operational unit is to cooperate with the Director of Human Resources/AAO within his/her area of responsibility. These officials shall also be responsible for referring complaints to the Director of Human Resources/AAO when harassment or reprisal for reporting harassment is alleged to have occurred.

C.         It is the University's policy to investigate thoroughly and remedy any known incidents of harassment. In order to accomplish this, however, harassment must be brought to the attention of the University Administration. Accordingly, employees who feel aggrieved because of harassment have an obligation to communicate their problem immediately; an employee or student who has a complaint of harassment should report the incident to the Director of Human Resources/AAO who will investigate the allegations. Every effort will be made to insure the privacy of the complainant and the accused.

D.        An individual that believes that he or she has been subject to unlawful harassment, or witnessed unlawful harassment should promptly file a written report of that fact with the Director of Human Resources/AAO. If the individual alleges harassment against the Director of Human Resources/AAO, the individual's immediate Supervisor or Manager, Vice President or Dean, the individual need not report the incident to the alleged harasser and, instead, may report the incident to the office of the President of the University.

E.         The written report should identify the alleged incidents of harassment, the alleged perpetrators of the harassment (if known), and any witnesses to the harassment. The report will be kept confidential to the extent possible with a thorough investigation and any remedial action required. If the investigation reveals that harassment has occurred, discipline will be recommended by the Director of Human Resources/AAO or the President, and disciplinary action will be taken. Thereafter, the disciplinary action may be grieved/appealed through the appropriate procedure.

F.         When a report involves an alleged act of sex-based harassment, or other form of sex-based discrimination, the report may be subject to the investigation and grievance procedures contained in the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination. When any portion of A-E of this section conflicts with the investigation and grievance procedures contained in the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination, the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination controls.

PUBLICATION

This policy shall be published and available to all employees and students in the Student Handbook, Course Catalogue and the University’s Policy and Procedure Manual. The policy will be distributed to new employees through new employee orientation with additional copies available from the Director of Human Resources/AAO and Title IX Compliance Coordinator.

TRAINING

A.        The University of Rio Grande takes seriously its responsibility to prevent, address, and remedy harassment. The University will take all reasonable steps to sensitize employees, supervisors and students to harassment issues.

B.         All employees will be trained in the following areas: defining harassment, including sex-based harassment; identifying harassment and improper discrimination; knowing their respective obligations under State and Federal laws; and understanding the proper grievance procedure.

C.         Supervisors will additionally be trained in applying Rio Grande policy and taking appropriate corrective steps when an incident of harassment is reported or witnessed, including reporting potential violations of the Policy Against Sex-Based Discrimination to the Title IX Compliance Coordinator.

Rio Grande encourages individuals who believe that they have been victims or witnesses of harassment to come forward and report such harassment. The University will not take any adverse action against an individual who, in good faith, comes forward to report harassment, regardless of whether the allegation is substantiated. Retaliation for any good faith report or cooperation in any subsequent investigation is expressly prohibited and anyone who engages in retaliation will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination or expulsion.