Title VI/VII Grievance Procedures
SECTION 7A: GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI
Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII
Americans With Disabilities Act, As Amended
Department of Rehabilitation Services, Section 504
This policy covers the complaint and grievance procedures for all forms of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or violence (whether on-campus or off-campus) that occur in conjunction with any Rose State College activity, athletic program, educational program, employment, or in conjunction with an application for enrollment or employment, as well as administrative redress for employee grievances not in the aforementioned categories. All students, faculty, staff, guests, vendors, and visitors are required to comply with this policy.
This section covers formal complaints of discrimination based on various protected statuses and Administrative Grievances, for Informal Grievance Procedures, please see Sec. 7B of this policy.
Sec. 7A-1. General Statement
Rose State College (College) does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identify or expression, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. This includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational programs, activities, or services. If discrimination, including harassment or retaliation, occurs, the College will take prompt and appropriate corrective and remedial action.
The person designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies, including issues of noncompliance, is the Associate Vice President, Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer (A.V.P. HR/AAO), 6420 SE 15th Street, ADM Room 104, Midwest City, OK 73110, (405) 733-7979.
- Duty to Report
Rose State College encourages any person who believes that they have experienced discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or violence based on a protected status in conjunction with a College activity, athletic program, educational program, employment, or in conjunction with an application for enrollment or employment, to report that complaint to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources/AAO (A.V.P. HR/AAO), 6420 SE 15th Street, ADM Room 104, Midwest City, OK 73110, (405) 733-7979.
Where violations of sexual misconduct, harassment, and/or discrimination may have occurred, please see Section 7C of this policy.
Certain employees, who are prohibited from reporting due to a privilege recognized under Oklahoma law – e.g., attorney-client privilege, physician- and psychotherapist-patient privilege, religious privilege, etc., need not report such information when the employee receiving the complaint is acting in the privileged capacity. The only “by-law” exempt employee at Rose State College is the certified Licensed Professional Counselor in Student Services.
- Duty to Report Child Abuse
Oklahoma law requires every person having reason to believe that an unmarried child under the age of 18 is a victim of abuse (including sex abuse) or neglect to report the matter promptly to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Under Oklahoma law, “abuse” means harm or threatened harm or failure to protect the health, safety, or welfare of a child by a person responsible for the child’s health, safety, or welfare. This includes, but is not limited to, non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation. Under Oklahoma law, no privilege or contract shall relieve any person of this duty to report. The duty to report is individual, and no employer, supervisor, or administrator shall interfere with any person’s reporting duties or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against any person who in good faith reports suspected child abuse or neglect.
Sec. 7A-2. Initial Report and Complaint Procedure
- The Initial Report
When the A.V.P. HR/AAO receives notice, either from the complainant or from any other source, that discrimination based on a protected status has possibly occurred, the A.V.P. HR/AAO will:
- Determine the identity and contact information of the complainant (whether that be the reporting party, the alleged victim, a College representative, or other party).
- Identify the portions of this policy allegedly violated.
- Advise the complainant that both formal and informal resolution options are available.
- Review the process of a formal complaint.
- Respect complainant’s wishes not to pursue a complaint; formal or informal (see 7ABb-ii for possible exceptions).
- Advise the complainant that they may file a non-employment-based complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education (OCR), where such a complaint is within that agency’s jurisdiction.
- If the complaint is employment-related, advise the complainant that they may file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where such a complaint is within that agency’s jurisdiction.
- If the complainant alleges abuse or neglect of a child under the age of 18, report the matter promptly to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services
- Complaint Procedure
- All complaints involving discrimination based on a protected status shall be reviewed, investigated, and adjudicated only by persons with training or experience in:
- Title VI, Title VII and ADA grievances.
- The College’s relevant grievance procedures.
- Relevant confidentiality requirements.
- Submitting a Complaint
Generally, any complaint should be filed with the College within 180 calendar days of the alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, to facilitate the process of gathering facts and evidence. Complaints that are filed after that time will be reviewed, but a lengthy lapse of time may make an investigation difficult.
- Obtaining the Complaint Form
Complaint Forms (ADM 44 - Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form) are available online through the intranet Forms Handbook, the Title IX Resources page at www.rose.edu, and from the A.V.P. HR/AAO. The complaint shall include the following information:
- The complainant’s name and address.
- The College program or activity in which the complainant was participating, or attempting participation, at the time of the alleged misconduct.
- The name and title of the person(s) against whom the complaint is filed.
- A statement describing the specific acts allegedly committed by the respondent.
- The specific dates on which those alleged actions took place.
- A clear and concise statement of any other facts that form the basis of the complaint.
- If the complainant is not the alleged victim, the complainant’s relationship, if any, to the person who experienced the prohibited conduct.
- A clear and concise statement of the remedy the complainant seeks.
- The complainant’s signature.
- Submitting the Complaint Form
The signed complaint form must be submitted to the A.V.P. HR/AAO by mail, electronic mail, or in person; 6420 SE 15th Street, ADM Room 104, Midwest City, OK 73110, (405) 733-7979, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Review of the Complaint
Within 5 business days or less of receiving the complaint, A.V.P. HR/AAO shall review the complaint to determine whether:
- The written complaint is complete.
- The alleged misconduct took place while the complainant was participating in, or attempting to participate in, a College program activity and the allegations are against someone in the U.S.
- The written complaint alleges conduct prohibited by this Policy.
- The complainant experienced the alleged conduct, is a personal representative of someone who experienced the alleged misconduct, or witnessed the alleged misconduct.
- Anonymity and Confidentiality
The College does not reveal information about complaints of discrimination except as necessary to fulfill its legal obligations. Potential complainants are sometimes reluctant to pursue a complaint if their names will be revealed. The inability to reveal the name of a complainant or facts that are likely to reveal the identity of the complainant can severely limit the ability of the College to respond.
If a complainant insists that his or her name not be revealed, the A.V.P. HR/AAO or designee should take all reasonable steps to investigate while maintaining the complainant’s confidentiality and respond to the complaint consistent with the complainant’s request as long as doing so does not jeopardize the rights of other students or employees.
- Dismissals of Complaints
The College will dismiss complaints with allegations failing to place the complainant in a protected category.
The College may dismiss a complaint if:
- The complainant gives the A.V.P. HR/AAO written notice to withdraw the complaint.
- The respondent is no longer affiliated with the College.
- There are circumstances preventing the A.V.P. HR/AAO or designee from collecting necessary evidence to make a determination of responsibility.
- Selection of the Investigator
If the A.V.P. HR/AAO determines the written complaint is sufficient, within two (2) business days or as soon as possible, the investigation will be assigned to a qualified designee.
The investigator selected will be a neutral individual, who is not party to the complaint, the complainant, or the accused, nor should the investigator have a vested interest in the outcome of the investigation. The A.V.P. HR/AAO may choose to personally investigate some complaints.
Both the complainant and respondent are entitled to the same rights regarding representation and supportive services, as well as other rights throughout the investigation and into the live hearing processes.
- Rights of the Parties
- Parties shall be entitled to be accompanied by a representative or advocate (such as a colleague, parent, student advocate, etc.) of their choosing at all complaint meetings.
- Representatives and advocates shall act as a supporting presence for the party but may not participate directly in the process.
- Representatives and advocates are prohibited from disclosing any information concerning the content of a meeting or hearing.
- Representatives and advocates are prohibited from any retaliatory conduct related to information disclosed during a meeting or hearing.
- Legal advisors and attorneys may be present during any meetings or hearings but cannot participate directly in the process. They may only interact with the party they are representing.
- Supportive Services
- Supportive services that do not favor either party may continue throughout the formal complaint process; the College will provide the parties with information about how to obtain services from resources available on and off campus, including those listed in 7A.1.C.2.
- The College may also consider steps, such as, but not limited to, transfer to new sections of the same or similar courses; housing transfers to different buildings or floors; security escorts to and from parking areas, classes, housing and activities, etc.; these supportive services will be granted, as appropriate, on a case-by-case basis and to both the complainant and respondent.
- Other Rights
- To be informed when an investigation begins of the allegations, any known facts surrounding the allegations, and a proposed timeline for resolving the complaint.
- To seek counseling and advice from the A.V.P. HR/AAO.
- To obtain services and resources from the College’s advocates program; see Sec. 7-1(c).
- To present relevant witnesses, evidence, and information at any meeting or hearing.
- To have access to any information, to the extent permitted by the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA) and by rules of privilege and confidentiality, that will be used at any meeting.
- Not to be personally questioned or cross-examined by the accused.
- To the College’s taking reasonable steps to maintain the complainant’s reputation during the entire process and/or to restore the complainant’s reputation if it is damaged during any proceeding.
- To be protected against retaliation from the accused or from other persons during or after the complaint process.
- To a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint.
- To receive a written notice of the investigation’s findings.
- Notification to the Accused
Within a reasonable time, usually as soon as possible, after the complaint is reviewed and determined to be a valid complaint, the A.V.P. HR/AAO shall inform the respondent of the filing and the general nature of the complaint in a manner that is appropriate under the circumstances. The A.V.P. HR/AAO shall advise the respondent:
- That the accuracy of the allegations has not been assessed.
- That they are presumed not responsible of the alleged misconduct until the entire complaint process is complete.
- That they will have an opportunity to present their side of the matter
- That any conduct that could be viewed as retaliatory against the complainant or witnesses is strictly prohibited and would constitute a separate violation of this policy.
- In cases where the complainant voluntarily requests the informal resolution process, the respondent will be notified, presented with information to what that process entails, and provided the opportunity to accept or decline the use of this process.
- Conducting the Investigation
If both parties have voluntarily requested an informal process, the College will follow the informal process procedure located in Section 7B. Once an investigator has been selected, they shall conduct the investigation in as timely a manner as possible unless the matter is informally resolved, or the complainant withdraws the complaint. The investigation will be conducted free of discrimination. The investigation will comply with the following:
- Collection of Evidence/Witness Interviews and Statements
- The burden of collecting evidence rests with the investigator, not the parties.
- The investigator will not restrict the parties from collecting their own evidence.
- The investigator will give equal opportunity for parties to present witnesses/evidence.
- Investigator will not seek or use private medical, psychiatric, or treatment records for any party or witness without the individual’s voluntary, written consent.
- Advisors, Advocates and Representatives
Both parties will have equal opportunity to select an advisor, advocate, or representative.
- Communication with Parties and Representatives
- The investigator will send written notice regarding meetings, interviews, and hearings.
- The investigator will provide each party with the evidence related to the allegations collected by the investigator or opposing party.
- Evidence may be in hard copy or electronic format.
- Parties shall have 10 days to review, inspect, and respond to the investigator.
- Relation of the Investigation to Law Enforcement Investigation
- The investigation conducted pursuant to this policy may be concurrent with an investigation by law enforcement officers, but it is not dependent on any law enforcement investigation.
- The College may, at its discretion, delay the investigative process long enough to allow local law enforcement to collect evidence. Any delay for this purpose will be as short as possible.
- Additional information about the College’s interaction with local law enforcement is contained in a Memorandum of Agreement and can be found at https://www.rose.edu/content/about-us/our-campus/safety-security/.
- Investigative Report
Investigator will send both parties an investigative report containing:
- Summary of the complaint.
- Identification of complainant witnesses and summary of the witnesses’ inputs.
- Identification of respondent witnesses and summary of the witnesses’ inputs.
- General timeline of events related to the complaint.
- Identification of specific policy related to the investigation.
- Any other items of interest the investigator deems appropriate and relevant to the complaint.
- Lack of Objection to the Findings
If neither the complainant nor the respondent objects, in writing, to the investigative findings within 5 business days of receiving the notice of those findings, the investigative report’s
findings and the proposed resolution shall be final and binding.
Sec. 7A-5. Further Proceedings (Appeals)
The notice of results will also provide the parties with information on appealing the decision-maker’s findings through further proceedings.
- Right to Further Proceedings/Review of Findings
The parties to a complaint may initiate further proceedings, within 5 business days of receiving the notification of findings if a party is not satisfied with the findings of the College’s investigation. The further proceedings request must be in writing and is submitted to the A.V.P. HR/AAO. The requesting party must state one of the following justifications supporting the need for further proceedings:
- There is new evidence that could have affected the decision that was not reasonably known prior to the issuance of the notification of findings.
- The investigation or findings exhibited prejudice, bias, or other unfair treatment that affected the outcome of the case.
- The institution’s stated policies and procedures were not followed.
- Rights of parties during Further Proceedings
The A.V.P. HR/AAO will inform the opposing party of the further proceedings request within a reasonable timeframe, usually within 5 business days, of receiving the request, and will afford the opposing party the opportunity to submit, within a reasonable timeframe, usually 5 business days, a written response to the request for further proceedings.
- Decision of the Executive Vice President
- The Executive Vice President will review the original complaint, the investigative process and report, the notification, and the party’s request for further proceedings.
- The Executive Vice President may schedule meetings, as needed, with either party, to arrive at a decision to either uphold the investigation’s findings and remedies, or overturn all or a portion of the findings or remedies.
- If personal appearances, evidence, and witness statements are granted to the requesting party during the further proceedings process, equitable opportunity, under a reasonable timeframe, usually 5 business days, will be granted to the opposing party.
- The Executive Vice President will issue a final decision in the matter within 30 days of receiving the request for further proceedings.
- The Executive Vice President’s decision is final. The Executive Vice President, or designee, will inform both parties, in writing, of the Executive Vice President’s decision. Once the requesting party is notified of the Executive Vice President’s final decision, all administrative actions have been exhausted.
Sec. 7A-6. Sanction Officials, Risk Management Notifications and Retaliation
- Faculty/Staff/Employee Sanctions for Violations of this Policy
- In accordance with the College’s policies and procedures, the College may impose sanctions such as verbal reprimands, mandatory enrollment in seminars pertaining to prohibited discrimination and sexual harassment issues, written reprimands, demotions, suspensions without pay, and termination of employment. Referral to law enforcement may be appropriate as set out in section 7.1.C.1. above or as required by law.
- The A.V.P HR/AAO, will notify the department Vice President of the matter, along with recommended sanctions imposed by the decision-maker and, if appropriate, upheld by the Appellate Authority.
- Student Sanctions for Violations of this Policy
- The A.V.P. HR/AAO will notify the Director, Service Learning and Student Conduct of the matter, along with the sanctions imposed by the decision-maker, and when appropriate, the outcome of the further proceedings process.
- The Director, Service Learning and Student Conduct is responsible for ensuring the sanctions imposed are properly executed and notification of the completion of sanctions is provided to the A.V.P. HR/AAO within a reasonable timeframe.
- In accordance with the College’s student disciplinary procedures, the College may impose sanctions such as verbal reprimands, mandatory enrollment in seminars pertaining to prohibited discrimination, written reprimands, dismissal from class and/or other College activities, suspension, or expulsion, depending upon the severity of the act.
- Referral to law enforcement may be appropriate as set out in section 7A-3-4d or as required by law.
- Risk Management Notification
Unless unusual or complex circumstances exist, the A.V.P. HR/AAO shall complete and distribute a final summary of the complaint and outcome to:
- College President.
- General Counsel.
- Oklahoma Management Enterprise Services (OMES) Risk Management Office.
- Rose State College Prohibition of Retaliation
Consistent with the law and this policy, the College prohibits retaliation, intimidation, threats,
coercion, or discrimination against any person for opposing discrimination, including
harassment, or for participating in the College’s discrimination complaint process or making a
complaint, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner, in an investigation, proceeding, or
hearing. Any attempt to retaliate against a person for filing a complaint or participating in the
investigation of a complaint may be treated as a separate violation of this policy.
The prohibition of retaliation applies to the entire Grievance Procedure, from notice, to complaint, through the investigation and live hearing, post decision actions, execution of sanctions and future interaction of the parties.
Sec. 7A-7. Records Retention
A confidential file of all materials, including the complaint, interview and investigation notes
and records relating to the investigation of the complaint will be maintained in the Office of Human Resources. The investigator, A.V.P. HR/AAO, sanction official and appellate authority, if applicable, will be the only persons who have access to the file. The file will then be handled in a manner consistent with applicable state and federal guidelines for maintaining records for this type of complaint. Nothing will be placed in either person's official College files, including employment, contract or student records, unless disciplinary action is taken against the person. All records pertaining to the complaint must be maintained under the same rules as personnel files.