Page tree

Versions Compared

Key

  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.


Fort Lewis College Official SealImage Modified

Policy identification number:  To Come

File: Ethical & Responsible Conduct Policies / Anti-Discrimination Policies

Grievance Procedure

Policy Summary

These Procedures are

used to handle complaints filed under

intended to provide a prompt and equitable resolution for all complaints or reports of conduct that violate the following five Fort Lewis College policies: 
1. Sexual

Misconduct Policy

Misconduct 
2. Student

Conduct Policy

Conduct 
3.

Discriminatory Harassment Policy

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
4. Discriminatory Harassment 

5. Disability Anti-Discrimination

Policy


5. Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Policy

Policy

Owner

Vice President for Student Affairs

Approval Date

Approved by President's Cabinet, August 24, 2016
Approved by the Board of Trustees, October 7, 2016

October 5, 2018

Effective Date

August 29

October 5,

2016

2018

Search Terms

vpsa, grievance, procedure, g

Scheduled for Review

Fall

of 2020

2022


I.

Policy Statement - General
    1. These Procedures are used to handle complaints filed under the Fort Lewis College Student Conduct Policy, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy, Sexual Misconduct Policy, Discriminatory Harassment Policy, and Disability AntiDiscrimination Policy.

    2. Respondent may not opt for an alternative grievance procedure from Faculty Handbook or Exempt Staff Handbook. No complainant will be permitted to simultaneously file a complaint under these procedures and a grievance under the State of Colorado Personnel Board Rules or the Faculty Handbook against the same individual arising out of an identical set of facts.

II. Definitions

III. Filing a Complaint

Definitions

Coordinator. Coordinator is the Title IX Coordinator, or the Equal Opportunity Coordinator, or the College employee charged with coordinating the College’s response to conduct prohibited under the Relevant Policies (listed below).

Complainant. Complainant is an individual or organization, including the College, filing a complaint.

Disciplinary Authority. The disciplinary authority is the individual who has the authority or delegated authority to impose discipline upon a particular employee, faculty member, or student.

Employee. Employee means any individual who receives payment from the College for work performed, including but not limited to faculty, exempt and classified staff, student employees, or temporary employees.

Parties. Parties are the complainant and the respondent. The victim may be treated as a party for notice purposes, if the victim is not the complainant.

Respondent. Respondent is the individual against whom a Complaint has been filed.

Student. Student means any individual who has confirmed admission to the College, is a new student at orientation, is currently enrolled in courses at the College, whether full-time or part-time, was enrolled in the previous semester, or is registered for a future semester.

Working Days. Working days are those days when the administrative offices of the College are open.

  • Complaint. Complaint means a report of discrimination, misconduct, or retaliation submitted as described below, in Section III.

  • Complainant. Complainant is an individual or organization, including the College, filing a complaint.
  • Respondent. Respondent is the individual against whom a Complaint has been filed.
  • Parties. Parties are the complainant and the respondent. The victim may be treated as a party for notice purposes, if the victim is not the complainant.

  • II. Scope and Jurisdiction

    1. Relevant Policies:  These Procedures are used to handle complaints or reports of misconduct that violate the Fort Lewis College Student Conduct Policy, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy, Sexual Misconduct Policy, Discriminatory Harassment Policy, and Disability Anti-Discrimination Policy.
    2. Jurisdiction:  These Procedures govern all students, faculty, staff, contractors, volunteers, affiliated entities, and other third parties regarding
      1. Conduct that occurs on College property or at official College functions or at College sponsored programs conducted off campus.
      2. Conduct that occurs off College property if it has a potential continuing effect on campus or creates an ongoing hostile environment on campus, including, but not limited to, adversely affecting the health, safety or security of any member of the College community or the mission of the College.
      3.  These procedures may operate in conjunction with additional policies or procedures per section VI.F.3 of these procedures, below.
    3. Jurisdiction Exceptions:  A jurisdiction exception may exist for third parties.  Matters concerning contractors, volunteers, affiliated entities and other third parties who would be respondents under any of the Relevant Policies may, at the discretion of the College, be resolved under the College contracts, agreements, policies and laws applicable to the entity.
    4. Criminal or Civil Process:  Actions taken under these Procedures are separate and independent from any law enforcement or other court process or proceeding, such as a civil lawsuit or criminal prosecution that may relate to the same underlying factual incident.  The applicability of these Procedures is not dependent upon whether criminal charges are filed.  Investigations or inquiries conducted by the College are not postponed while criminal or civil proceedings are pending unless determined appropriate by the College.  Dismissal of criminal charges or acquittal in a criminal case does not prevent the College from investigating and adjudicating an incident.
    5. Time Limits:  There are no time limits to make a complaint under the Relevant Policies to initiate these Procedures long as the College has jurisdiction over the parties involved at the time of the incident or complaint.
    6. Failure to Appear:  The failure of an individual to appear and/or respond to the College does not prevent the College from proceeding with these Procedures.
    7. Review:  The College may review and take any appropriate action deemed necessary, including re-opening an investigation, if evidence, including but not limited to, results from a sexual assault nurse examination (SANE), becomes available that was previously unavailable to the College or the Procedure as set forth herein was not followed.
    8. Off-Campus Program Incidents:  College employees and students sometimes work or study at the worksite or program of another organization affiliated with the College.  When a violation is alleged by or against College employees or students in those circumstances, the complaint shall be handled as provided in the affiliation agreement between the College and the other entity.  In the absence of an affiliation agreement or a provision addressing this issue, the College may, at its discretion, choose to (1) conduct its own investigation; (2) conduct a joint investigation with the affiliated entity; (3) defer to the findings of an investigation by the affiliated entity where the College has reviewed the investigation process and is satisfied that it was fairly conducted; (4) use the investigation and findings of the affiliated entity as a basis for further investigation; or (5) take other action as determined appropriate by the College.
    9. Prior Conduct: Conduct alleged to have occurred before an individual became affiliated with the College may be addressed through applicable remedial, protective, and/or educational measures as determined by the College if the alleged conduct interferes with or impedes upon equal access to employment or education for any current College community members.

    III. Reporting

    1. If an individual wishes to notify the College of possible discrimination or misconduct and pursue formal or informal resolution under these Grievance Procedures,

    he or she
    1. they must submit a complaint as follows:

      1. Sexual Misconduct Complaints: Information or complaints of sexual misconduct should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator, 230

    Miller Student Services
      1. Skyhawk Station, (970) 247-7241,

    or
      1. or TellSomeone@fortlewis.

    eduComplaints
      1. edu. Complaints concerning sexual misconduct may also be filed online at www.fortlewis.edu/TellSomeone. Complainants may also file a report with campus police or local law enforcement at any time, in addition to filing a complaint with the College. Individuals who would like help can request it from the Title IX Coordinator, counselors, or health center employees. If Fort Lewis College knows about possible sexual misconduct or discrimination through the filing of a complaint or other reliable information sources, it will conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation and resolution. Fort Lewis College will act to end discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on victims and the Fort Lewis College community. No one is required to notify law enforcement about sexual assault or sexual harassment if they do not wish to do so. Similarly, individuals may report an incident to law enforcement without reporting to the College. Individuals reporting that they were a victim of sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking will receive a resource sheet explaining their reporting options and available services.

      2. Discrimination Complaints: Information or complaints involving Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, disability discrimination or discriminatory harassment should be directed in writing to Equal Opportunity Coordinator,
    230 Miller Student Services,
      1. David Pirrone, Human Resources, (970)
    382
      1. 247-
    6977, kim_h@fortlewis.edu
      1. 7182,  or filed online at www.fortlewis.edu/TellSomeone.
      2. Student Conduct Policy Complaints: Individuals wishing to report a Student Conduct Policy violation may file online at www.fortlewis.edu/TellSomeone. Residential students may inform residential housing staff.
    1. Contents of Complaint: Generally, all complaints alleging misconduct, discrimination, or retaliation should be made as soon after the event as possible so that the matter may be investigated in a timely manner. Complaints of alleged misconduct, discrimination, or retaliation should state the “who, when, where, and what" of the situation. 
    2. The complainant may or may not be the victim. A third party may make a report of misconduct, discrimination, or retaliation, or the appropriate Vice President may, on behalf of Fort Lewis College, initiate a complaint, serve as complainant, and initiate proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.

    IV.

    Confidentiality 
      1. Fort Lewis College will honor requests for confidentiality to the extent permitted by law. While all efforts will be made to protect employee and student privacy, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed when other members of the College community may be at risk, or when the College has reason to believe a crime has been committed. In those cases, the College may be required to report information to law enforcement, and/or investigate and take action on the basis of the facts it discovers. In addition, many Fort Lewis College employees are required to report sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.
      2. The College maintains public records of a variety of incidents, such as those required to be reported in the Annual Security Report. These reports are created without the use of personally identifying information of parties.
      3. Measures taken to protect the complainant or victim are confidential to the complainant or victim, except to the extent that confidentiality would inhibit the College from providing the protective measure.
      4. Students who wish discuss an incident a confidential manner can contact: 
        1. A counselor at the Fort Lewis College Counseling Center, 970-247-7212, 230 Noble Hall.
        2. A medical professional at the Student Health Center, 970-247-7355, 170 Miller Student Services Building.
      5. Any individual may access these confidential services: 
        1. Sex Assault Services Organization of Durango (SASO) 24-Hour Hotline, 970-247-5400.
        2. Alternative Horizons Domestic Violence Hotline at 970-247-9619.

    V. Retaliation

    The

    Interim Measures

    1. Interim measures are individualized services offered to either or both parties involved in an alleged incident of misconduct, prior to an investigation under these Procedures or while an investigation is pending, so that neither student is unnecessarily deprived of their access to education.  Interim measures will be determined by the Coordinator and will be individualized and appropriate based on the information gathered by the Coordinator.  As the needs of each party may change over time, the Coordinator will communicate with the parties throughout the investigation to ensure that interim measures are necessary and effective based on each party’s needs.
    2. The Coordinator will provide both parties with written notice of the availability of interim measures at the time the Notice of Investigation is issued.  Interim measures may include, but are not limited to, the following:
      1. Referrals to counseling, health services, SANE, or advocacy or legal assistance;
      2. Extensions of time or other course-related adjustments;
      3. Academic support services, such as tutoring;
      4.  Modifications of work or class schedules;
      5. Modifications of housing assignments;
      6. Leaves of absence;
      7. No contact” directives from the College;
      8. Assistance with civil or criminal protection orders.
    3. Victims need not report incidents to the College or law enforcement in order to receive support from the College.  Victims may request interim measures even if the victim chooses not to make a formal complaint by contacting the Coordinator.
    4. Restraining Orders:  Victims may apply for a civil restraining order through local law enforcement. Forms and information is online here.  The Coordinator may refer the victim for assistance with applying for a civil restraining order. In addition, Fort Lewis College complies with Colorado law in recognizing court protection orders.  Individuals who wish to may provide a copy of such an order to the Fort Lewis College Police and/or the Coordinator.
    5. Retaliation:  The College will work to prevent retaliation and respond strongly if retaliation occurs.
    Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, threats, intimidation, coercion, or discrimination (including harassment), against any individual who has participated in the investigation or disciplinary process as a witness, complainant, or respondent. Any
    1.  Any complaints of retaliation are grounds for a separate complaint and disciplinary action.
    Complainants
    1.  Complainants or other participants in the investigation or disciplinary proceedings who experience retaliation should file a report at www.Fortlewis.edu/Tellsomeone or report it
    in writing
    1. to the Coordinator.

    VI. Interim Measures and Remedies

  • Victims need not report incidents to law enforcement in order to receive interim measures and remedies. Victims will receive written notice of the availability of interim measures and remedies at the time that their complaint is made to the relevant Coordinator. Victims may request interim measures and remedies by responding to that communication, or at any time by contacting the relevant Coordinator.
  • Beginning at the time that a complaint is made, safety measures and remedies for victims may include,
    1.  Retaliation means any adverse action threatened or taken against a person because an individual has reported misconduct, filed a complaint, provided information in connection with a complaint, or participated in an investigation.  An “adverse action” is one that would dissuade a reasonable person from reporting an allegation of misconduct or participating in an investigation of misconduct and includes, but is not limited to, direct and indirect intimidation, coercion, threats, and discrimination or harassment.

    V. Complaint Resolution

    1. College’s Obligation:  If an individual makes a report of prohibited conduct which involves one of the Relevant Policies, the College has an obligation and jurisdiction to conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether the conduct occurred during, or had continuing effects on, a College program, activity or employment.
    2. Method of Resolution:  The Coordinator has discretion to determine the appropriate means for addressing the report or complaint. Options include but are not limited to:
    1. “No contact” directives from the College;
    2. Assistance with civil or criminal protection orders;
    3. Ensuring that the victim and respondent do not attend the same classes or work in the same office;

    4. Moving the victim or respondent to a different residence hall;
    5. Providing counseling services;
    6. Providing medical services;
    7. Providing academic support services, such as tutoring;
    8. Arranging for the victim to re-take a course or withdraw from a class without academic or financial penalty;

    9. Reviewing any disciplinary actions taken against the victim to see if there is a causal connection between the harassment and the misconduct that may have resulted in the victim being disciplined.

    VII. Complaint Resolution - Informal Process

    At the request of the complainant and as approved by the appropriate Coordinator, complaints of a less serious nature may be resolved utilizing informal mechanisms such as mediation. A Coordinator will facilitate any mediation under this procedure. The complainant or the Coordinator may end an informal process at any time and begin the formal stage of the complaint process instead. There is no appeal from the results of an informal process. In cases involving sexual violence, informal resolution is not permitted, even on a voluntary basis.

    VIII. Complaint Resolution - Formal Process

      1. If the complainant chooses, or if the Coordinator decides that the case is not appropriate for the informal process, or if the informal process is unsuccessful, a Coordinator will begin processing the complaint under this formal process.
      2. Time Frame: Full investigation and resolution of the complaint will generally be completed within 60 working days after the complaint is received. If specific timelines set forth in these procedures require extension due to the complexity of a case or special circumstances, the parties will be simultaneously notified by a Coordinator.
      3. Assigning a Case: If a case involves multiple policies, the Vice President for Student Affairs will assign the case to an appropriate Coordinator. Otherwise, proceedings will be assigned and facilitated as follows:
        1. Sexual Misconduct - Title IX Coordinator.
        2. Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Disability, or another type of Discriminatory Harassment - Equal Opportunity Coordinator or designee.
        3. Student Conduct Policy violation – Student Conduct Coordinator, Dean of Students, or another designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
      4. Standard of Proof: Complaints will be evaluated and resolved under a preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not) at all times.
      5. Initial Investigation: The Coordinator will conduct an immediate initial investigation to determine if there is a reasonable basis to proceed. Generally, the initial investigation will be completed within ten working days of receipt of a complaint. If there is insufficient basis to proceed, the case will be closed with no further action and the parties involved will be notified of the decision.
      6. Notice of Investigation: If there is sufficient basis to proceed, the Coordinator will issue a written notice of investigation to the parties. If suspension or expulsion from the College or termination from employment is a possible sanction, the Notice will include this information. Where possible, the Coordinator will notify the victim and obtain the victim’s consent before moving forward. 
      7. Formal Investigation: The Coordinator will act as or appoint an investigator who will commence a prompt, thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation. The investigator will examine all relevant documents and interview all witnesses, including the complainant and respondent. The investigator may interview other individuals with relevant information, including College employees, students, or other individuals identified by the parties. During the investigation and any subsequent hearing, the complainant and the respondent will have equal opportunities to present relevant witnesses and other evidence. The past sexual history or sexual character of a party will not be admissible by the other party in a sexual misconduct investigation or hearing unless such information is determined to be highly relevant by the Investigator or the Chair of the Panel. The formal investigation will generally be concluded within fifteen working days.
      8. Advisors: Any party may choose to have an advisor, including an attorney, present during any meetings with the Coordinator, investigator, or any subsequent hearing, if the party advises the Coordinator, investigator, and/or Hearing Panel at least two working days prior to the date of the interview or hearing. Advisors may not actively participate in, or disrupt the interview or hearing. All parties are responsible for finding and paying for an advisor on their own if they wish to have one.
      9. Investigator’s Report: At the conclusion of the formal investigation, the investigator will make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether the respondent is responsible for violations of the Fort Lewis College Student Conduct Policy, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy, Sexual Misconduct Policy, Discriminatory Harassment Policy, and/or Disability Anti-Discrimination Policy. If the investigator makes a finding of responsibility as to one or more policy, he or she will consult with the Coordinator and the appropriate disciplinary authority to craft a recommended sanction. Both parties will receive a simultaneous written notification regarding the findings and sanction recommendations, if applicable, of the investigator within five working days after the completion of the investigator’s report.
      10. Panel Hearing Request: If the Notice of Investigation stated that suspension, expulsion or termination was a possible sanction, either party may request a panel hearing. Individuals seeking a panel hearing shall provide written notification to the Coordinator within five working days following receipt of the investigator’s findings and sanction recommendations. Such written notification shall set forth the specific findings and/or sanction recommendations that are rejected. Findings and sanction recommendations not specifically rejected shall be deemed accepted.
      11. Panel Hearing: The scope of the hearing is limited to the specific findings that were expressly rejected in the Panel Hearing Request.
        1. The Hearing Panel’s proceedings will be facilitated by the responsible Coordinator or designee. The facilitator will appoint a three-person Hearing Panel based on availability and conflict of interest. Any real or perceived conflict of interest by a Hearing Panel member will be disclosed to the parties prior to the hearing.
        2. Parties shall receive electronic written notice of the appointment of the Hearing Panel and the date of the hearing(s).
        3. All hearings should be concluded within fifteen working days following notice to the parties of the formation of the Hearing Panel.
        4. The Hearing Panel consists of three members, drawn from the Fort Lewis College Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Committee, who are trained to conduct hearings in a fair and impartial manner. The Panel will maintain the confidentiality of proceedings and the information obtained in those proceedings. After the members of the Panel are finalized, they will select one member to serve as Chair.
        5. The hearing is not a formal court proceeding, and rules of process, procedure and evidence as established and applied in the civil or criminal justice system do not apply.
            1. The findings of the formal investigation will be admitted, but are not binding on the Panel. The investigator and the parties may give additional information to the Panel.
            2. The parties will have equal opportunities to present relevant witnesses and other evidence to the Panel.
            3. For sexual misconduct complaints, whether the alleged victim is serving as a complainant or witness, alternative testimony options will be given, such as placing a privacy screen in the hearing room, or allowing the alleged victim to testify outside the physical presence of the respondent, such as by telephone or other electronic means.
            4. The parties may not question or cross-examine each other directly.
            5. If one or more party appeals both the investigator’s finding and the recommended sanction(s), the Panel will first hear evidence relevant to whether the respondent is responsible for violating the policies.
            6. If the Hearing Panel issues a finding of responsibility, it will conduct a separate hearing to hear evidence relevant to the appropriate sanction (such as an impact statement of the complainant as well as mitigating factors from the respondent), and make sanction recommendations and/or other appropriate remedies, after consultation with the Coordinator and the appropriate disciplinary authority.
            7. Within five working days following the conclusion of the hearing, the Coordinator will provide written notice simultaneously to both parties of the Panel’s finding and recommended sanction. If applicable, this written notice will provide the basis for any decision or recommended sanction and the appeal procedures.
            8. The Panel has final fact finding authority with regard to formal complaints.
            9. Fort Lewis College will maintain documentation of all proceedings as required by law.
    IX
    1.  
      1. Formal Complaint Resolution
      2. Informal Complaint Resolution 
      3. Determining that the facts of the complaint or report, even if true, would not constitute a violation of the Relevant Policies listed above and closing the matter following a preliminary inquiry.
      4.  Determining that the facts of the case are such that there is no ongoing hostile environment or risk of recurrence of a hostile environment and closing the matter on the basis of mootness following a preliminary inquiry.  Such a determination may be made in circumstances such as, but not limited to, the following: where the respondent is no longer a student or will cease to be a student before a fair proceeding can be completed, where the respondent is no longer an employee of the College, where the complaint is made regarding an individual who is not a member of the College community, or where the alleged misconduct occurred beyond the College’s jurisdiction.
      5. Referring the matter to an employee’s disciplinary authority or supervisor, depending upon the employee’s employment classification.  In such event, the employee’s disciplinary authority will meet with the employee prior to taking any disciplinary action, and the College will work to redress the effects of any discrimination and harassment resulting from the alleged misconduct.
    2. Interim Suspension:  In appropriate circumstances, the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee may suspend a student from the College for an interim period, pending resolution under this Grievance Procedure, in accordance with the College’s Interim Suspension Policy.
    3. Formal Complaint Resolution:
      1. The Formal Complaint Resolution process is initiated by sending the parties a Notice of Investigation.  The Notice will include:
        1. A link or links to the Grievance Procedure and the applicable Relevant Policy or Policies;
        2. Identities of the parties involved;
        3. The specific section of the Relevant Policy allegedly violated;
        4. A summary of the alleged conduct constituting the potential violation;
        5. The date and location of the alleged incident;
        6. Applicable interim measures, such as no-contact directive;
        7. Non-retaliation notice;
        8. Notice of appointment of an investigator, requirement of responding to investigator and consequences for non-response to the investigator;
        9. Notice of possible separation from the College, if applicable.
      2. The Notice of Investigation will be sent to both parties by College email or and may additionally be sent to permanent addresses in the College’s information system, to an address appearing in a police report, or may be hand-delivered.
      3. Notice shall be considered provided on the date of hand-delivery or on the date emailed.  For employee respondents, a copy of the Notice will be sent to the employee’s supervisor and/or the employee’s appointing/disciplinary authority as well as Human Resources.
      4. Non-participation:  If the respondent does not schedule or attend an interview with the Investigator, or if the respondent schedules an interview but does not attend or attends but does not participate, the Investigator may complete the investigation based on the totality of information obtained, which may include police investigation reports and other relevant documents or information.
      5. Investigator:  The Coordinator will appoint an investigator to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation of the alleged misconduct.  Investigations will be conducted by qualified employees who are trained to complete a prompt, fair, equitable and impartial investigation. The Coordinator will ensure that all investigators receive annual training on issues related to sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, stalking, sexual harassment, protected class discrimination and harassment and retaliation. The Coordinator may opt to have more than one investigator assigned to a case.
      6. Outside Investigators:  The Coordinator may also designate other individuals, either within or outside the College, to conduct or assist with an investigation.  Circumstances which may warrant the designation of an outside investigator include conflicts of interest, allegations of bias, or workload.  The Coordinator retains the discretion to determine whether the use of an outside investigator is warranted and reasonable given the circumstances and information available and known at the time.  Any outside investigator retained by the College shall have adequate training, qualifications and experience to, in the judgment of the Coordinator, complete a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation.  Any outside investigator designated to address an allegation must adhere to the requirements of the Grievance Procedure and confer with the Coordinator on a regular basis regarding the progress of the investigation.
      7. Investigative Process:  The College follows an investigative model whereby investigator(s) interview the complainant and the respondent separately and provide each party the opportunity to be heard and to respond.  There are no formal hearings.  The complainant and respondent shall each have the right to:
        1. Timely notice of an interview or meeting where a party’s presence is requested.
        2. Provide relevant information and evidence to the investigator.
        3. Identify relevant witnesses.
        4. Submit questions to the Investigator, for use during interview(s) with the other party.
        5. Have an advisor of their choice present during any interview, which may include, but is not limited to, an attorney or an advocate from outside the College.  An advisor may not act or speak on behalf of a party.  It is a party’s responsibility to select and pay for an advisor whose schedule permits attendance at scheduled interviews.
        6. Review and respond within five (5) working days to a written Draft Investigation Report, prior to finalization of the Investigation Report.
        7. Receive a copy of the final Investigation Report at the conclusion of the investigation and a Notice of Outcome, which will include a statement of factual findings and a determination as to whether or not there was a violation of policy.
        8. Receive a Notice of Sanction, if applicable, in writing.
      8. Disclosure of Draft Investigation Report:  Following the fact gathering, the investigator(s) shall send a written Draft Investigation Report to the parties.   The Draft Investigation Report will include a summary of the relevant and material facts and the investigator’s preliminary findings.  The parties will each have five working (5) days to review and respond, in writing.  The parties will also have access at this time to witness identities.
      9. Investigative Report:  At the conclusion of the investigation and following review and response of the Draft Investigation Report by the parties, the investigator shall finalize the Investigative Report, which will include factual findings and a determination as to whether or not there was a violation of the Relevant Policies.
      10. Review Committee: In cases where (1) the Notice of Investigation indicated the possibility of suspension, expulsion, termination, or other long term or permanent separation from the College; or (2) the Coordinator recommends, the Investigator will submit the report to the Review Committee prior to finalization of the Investigation Report.  All persons serving on the Review Committee will receive annual training on issues related to sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, stalking, sexual harassment, protected class discrimination and harassment and retaliation.  Investigators described above may also serve on the Review Committee.  The Report will be reviewed by three members of the Review Committee for bias and impartiality, thoroughness of the investigation, and the existence of sufficient information to support the finding.  The Review Committee may not conduct its own investigation or hearing.  The Review Committee may:
        1. Review the whole investigative file;
        2. Consult with the Investigator(s);
        3. Approve the Investigation Report;
        4. Recommend additional investigation or a new investigation by the same or other investigator.  Any substantial changes to a Draft Investigation Report or a new Draft Investigation Report resulting from this action will trigger another review by the parties pursuant to V.D.8. “Disclosure of Draft Investigation Report.”
      11. Investigation Report Distribution:  Parties will receive simultaneous copies of the final written Investigation Report. Appointing/Disciplinary Authorities, Human Resources, and supervisors of employee Respondents and Human Resources will receive notice of investigation findings, and access to the remainder of the report depending on their need to know the contents.
      12. Timeline:  The College intends to complete any investigation and distribute the resulting Investigation Report within ninety (90) days after issuing the Notice of Investigation, although this time frame may be extended for good cause.  Good cause may exist for a variety of factors, including the complexity of the circumstances of each allegation, the integrity and completeness of the investigation, to comply with a request by law enforcement, to accommodate the availability of witnesses, to provide translation services, to account for College breaks or vacations, to access relevant documentation that is not immediately available, or for other relevant reasons.  In the event the ninety-day timeframe is extended, both the complainant and respondent will be notified in writing.
      13. Evidence:  The standard of proof required for a finding of responsibility is a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., the information gathered demonstrates that it is “more likely than not” that the misconduct occurred).
        1. The past sexual history or sexual character of a party will not be admissible by the other party in a sexual misconduct investigation or hearing unless such information is determined to be highly relevant by the Investigator.  A prior consensual dating or sexual relationship between the parties does not support an inference of affirmative consent or preclude a finding of sexual misconduct.
        2. The Investigator will review, if available, any prior complaints of misconduct regarding the Respondent if they are relevant or probative to the alleged conduct at issue, or if they demonstrate a pattern of behavior. Such prior complaints, if relevant or probative, may be used in the imposition of interim protective measures, the investigative finding, and/or sanctioning.
    4. Informal Complaint Resolution
      1. Voluntary Informal Complaint Resolution:  If all parties voluntarily agree to participation in Informal Complaint Resolution that does not involve the full investigation after receiving a full disclosure of the allegations and the option for Formal Complaint Resolution, and if the College determines that the particular complaint is appropriate for Information Complaint Resolution, the College may facilitate an informal resolution, including mediation, to assist the parties in reaching a voluntary resolution.
        1. In some cases, Informal Complaint Resolution may not be appropriate.  In such cases, the Coordinator will notify the Complainant that a formal investigation will take place.  The complainant may determine whether to participate in the formal investigation.
        2. Any mediation agreed to by the parties will be facilitated by the Coordinator.  The results of Informal Complaint Resolution are final and may not be appealed.
      2. Other Informal Complaint Resolution:  The Coordinator may elect Informal Complaint Resolution, particularly in cases where there is no threat to individual or campus safety.  The focus in such cases is on remedies tailored to the specific facts of the case and the particular student or employee.

    VI. Sanctions

    1. Serious violations of policy by students and
    employee
    1. employees are likely to result in temporary or permanent separation from Fort Lewis College.
    Recommended sanctions for employees or students found responsible for violating the Fort Lewis College Student Conduct Policy, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy, Sexual Misconduct Policy, Discriminatory Harassment Policy, and Disability AntiDiscrimination Policy will be implemented, based on the status of the respondent, as follows:
    1.  
    2. Party Input:  In cases where the investigation results in a determination that a Relevant Policy or Policies have been violated, within seven (7) days of the date of the Notice of Outcome, the respondent and complainant may request a meeting with the Coordinator or designee to discuss any mitigating or aggravating circumstances related to the incident that may impact sanctioning.  Alternatively, the complainant or respondent may submit a written statement within seven (7) days of the Notice of Outcome.  A written statement may be up to three pages in length and must be limited to the description of mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may affect sanctioning.  Any statement beyond such limitations will not be considered.  It is the responsibility of the parties to request to meet with the Coordinator or to submit a written statement within the time prescribed. Failure to meet with the Coordinator or to submit a written statement will constitute a waiver of this opportunity.
    3. Sanctioning Factors:  Repeated violations are likely to result in progressively more severe sanctions.  In the event that no violation of the Relevant Policies is found, discipline for inappropriate or unprofessional conduct, or other misconduct, may still be administered.  Factors pertinent to a sanctioning decision may include as applicable:
      1. Severity of conduct and whether it escalated during the incident;
      2. Whether the complainant was incapacitated at the time;
      3. Whether there was force/violence, weapons, or threats of force/violence;
      4. Any prior history of related criminal or policy violations;
      5. Severity of impact on complainant;
      6.  Acceptance of responsibility by respondent; and/or
      7. On-going safety risk to complainant and/or community.
    4. Notice to Parties:  The Coordinator will ensure, to the extent possible, that the parties receive simultaneous notice of sanctions and any other steps taken by the College to remedy the misconduct, to the extent permitted by law.
    5. Sanctions for Students: The Vice President for Student Affairs or designee is responsible for determining all sanctions related to student policy violations.
    Those recommended sanctions
    1. Sanctions for student policy violations may include, but are not limited to:
      1. Referrals for behavioral assessments from the Counseling Center and/or community based resources and compliance with the results of those assessments.
      2. Limitations on hours for using campus services.
      3. Change in housing assignment.
      4. Restriction from campus facilities, events, co-curricular activities, athletics, and/or residential building(s).
      5. Housing removal.
      6. Restriction from having guests in campus housing.
      7. Payment of restitution.
      8. Written reflection, written apology.
      9. Restriction from leadership role and campus employment.
      10. Campus or community service.
      11. Restriction from enrollment in classes with a victim.
      12. Required educational program(s).
      13. Exploration and utilization of academic support services on campus.
      14. No contact directive(s).
      15. Disciplinary warning.
      16. Disciplinary probation.
      17. Disciplinary suspension.
      18. Delayed conferral of degree;
      19. Expulsion.
    Admission to the College may be revoked for fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining

    X. Appeals

      1. If a Panel Hearing was requested and granted, then either party may appeal the Hearing Panel’s decision by giving written notification to the Coordinator of the grounds for appeal within five (5) working days following receipt of the Hearing Panel’s decision. Notice of an appeal will be shared with the other party. The opposing party will have five (5) working days to respond to the appealing party’s grounds for appeal.
      2. Grounds for Appeal: Grounds for appeal are limited to (1) procedural error that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing, (2) bias or (3) the discovery of new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, which could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of any grounds and its potential impact on the finding must be included.
      3. Appeals Authority. The Appeals Authority is the relevant Vice President (Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Advancement, or Finance & Administration). If more than one Vice President is relevant, the President will designate which Vice President is the Appeals Authority. If the case involves a Vice President directly, the Appeals Authority is the President. If the case involves the President directly, the Appeals Authority is the Board of Trustees.
      4. Appeals Process. If the Appeals Authority determines that grounds for appeal do not exist, the findings and sanction(s) of the Hearing Panel will stand. If the appeals authority determines that grounds for appeal do exist, the appeals authority may determine the outcome of the appeal themselves, if this would best cure the grounds for appeal. If grounds for appeal exist and the appeals authority determines that instead the complaint should be reconsidered by the panel, the complaint will be returned to the original hearing panel for reconsideration in light of the stated grounds for appeal, with any instructions necessary. Reconsideration by the panel or the appeals authority is limited to the scope necessary to cure the grounds for appeal. Appellate reconsideration will defer to the original hearing panel’s findings of facts and responsibility. Sanctions imposed by the disciplinary authority will be in effect during the appeal, barring the disciplinary authority’s decision to stay some part of a sanction. Stays of sanctions may only be granted in exigent circumstances. Graduation, study abroad, athletics, internships/externships, etc., do not in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances.
      5. Outcome. The Appeals Authority’s written decision on the appeal will be simultaneously provided to all parties within ten working days from receipt of the appeal. This decision is final. If the Appeals Authority determines that new evidence should be considered, the complaint will be returned to the original Hearing Panel to reconsider the complaint in light of the new evidence, only. The Panel’s determination following reconsideration of the complaint is not appealable. If the Appeals Authority determines that a material procedural or substantive error occurred, it may return the complaint to the original Panel with instructions to reconvene to cure the error. Appeal hearings are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal, and do not include an additional opportunity for the appealing party to appear before the Panel. Appeals decisions are to defer to the original Panel, making changes to the findings only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification.

    XI. Individual Student Disciplinary Records

      1. Individual student disciplinary proceeding records are maintained by the Student Affairs Office. These records are confidential and will be released only with the respondent student's written waiver, by court order, or as otherwise permitted by law.
      2. Access. A student may request access to his/her disciplinary proceeding record as provided by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, and the College disciplinary process allows the respondent student to review all of the information in his/her file that may be presented in a disciplinary hearing.
      3. Retention. No permanent record of the disciplinary proceedings may be made except as authorized by the Dean. Student disciplinary files are kept for seven years from the final decision date except for expulsion cases. Files for expelled students are kept indefinitely.
      1.  Revocation of admission.
    1. Sanctions for Employees:
    The employee’s next level supervisor or disciplinary authority is responsible for determining all sanctions relating to employee policy violations.
      1.  The Coordinator will notify the employee’s disciplinary authority if a respondent was found to have violated a policy or acted inappropriately or unprofessionally.  The disciplinary authority may have access to the investigative records.  The Coordinator and the employee’s disciplinary authority will, together, determine appropriate sanctions.  The Coordinator and the employee’s disciplinary authority may consult, as needed, with the investigator, the Coordinator, and any other administrative staff, to determine appropriate sanctions.
      2. Disagreements between the Coordinator and the employee’s disciplinary authority will be resolved by submitting the complaint and investigation information to the President or designee for review and final decision.  The President or designee may have access to the investigative records and may consult with the investigator in order to take appropriate action.
      3. Prior to the imposition of sanctions, employees whose terms of employment are also governed by other policies or procedures such as the Faculty Handbook or the State Personnel Board rules may be subject to those additional policies or procedures. The disciplinary authority will impose sanctions at the conclusion of such additional disciplinary policies and procedures.  Employee sanctions may include but are not limited to:
        1. Letter of Expectation/Reprimand: A warning/written letter of expectation or reprimand is a statement from the disciplinary authority that the behavior was inappropriate and that more serious disciplinary action will be taken should subsequent infractions occur.
        2. Mandatory Training: The employee may be required to attend a training, class, or program relevant to the misconduct.
        3. Demotion: The employee is demoted from their current position.
        4. Job Duty Modifications: The disciplinary authority may modify the employment responsibilities of the employee.
        5. Reduction in Salary/Ineligibility for Merit Increases: The employee’s salary is reduced either permanently or temporarily or the employee is not eligible for merit increases either permanently or temporarily.
        6. Exclusion: In consultation with the disciplinary authority, the Coordinator may deny access for the employee to all or a portion of College property. When an employee is excluded from College property, that employee may be permitted onto College property for limited periods and specific activities with the permission of the disciplinary authority or College Police.  Should the employee enter College property without permission, action may be taken by the College Police for trespass.
        7. Termination of Employment and/or Ineligibility for Future Employment:  Pursuant to applicable laws and policies specific to the employee’s status, the disciplinary authority may recommend or terminate current employment and/or prohibit future employment.
        8. Additional Sanctions:  The disciplinary authority has the discretion to impose additional sanctions that may be warranted and appropriate given the circumstances of the case.

    VII. Records

    1. Record Retention and Confidentiality of Records:  In all cases, the Coordinator shall retain the investigator’s report and the disciplinary authority’s final sanction decision for a minimum of three years or for as long as any administrative or legal action arising out of the complaint is pending.  All records, reports and investigations shall be considered confidential and shall not be disclosed publicly except to the extent required by law.  No record of the disciplinary proceedings may be made except as authorized by the Associate Vice President.  Student disciplinary files are kept for seven years from the final decision date except for expulsion cases, which are kept indefinitely.
    2. Student Disciplinary Hold:  While the Grievance Procedure is underway, the College may place a disciplinary hold on the student’s records.  The disciplinary hold prohibits the student from registering for classes until the Procedure has been completed.  A disciplinary hold may also be placed if a student fails to complete assigned sanctions, which has the same impact on a student’s records and registration as described above.  The disciplinary hold will not be removed until all sanctions are completed.  A disciplinary hold shall be placed on a student’s record if they are suspended from the College after being found in violation of any of the Relevant Policies.
    3. Release of Student Information:  Provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, govern access to a student’s disciplinary file.  Students have the right to inspect and review their educational records. To do so, students must submit a written request to the Coordinator. The Coordinator will comply with a request for access within a reasonable time, not to exceed 45 days.
    4. Employee Disciplinary Record:  An individual employee’s disciplinary proceeding records will be added to the employee’s existing personnel file.
    5. Re-Release of Information: Individuals who receive confidential information due to their participation in the Grievance Procedure, or due to the signed consent of the student whose records are in question, are prohibited from further disclosing/releasing the confidential information, unless expressly permitted by law as in cases involving a crime of violence or non-forcible sexual offense.  Violation of this prohibition could result in additional charges or other appropriate action.

    VIII. Reason for Policy

    To initiate operating procedures for handling complaints filed under the Fort Lewis College Student Conduct Policy, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy, Sexual Misconduct Policy, Discriminatory Harassment Policy, and Disability

    AntiDiscrimination

    Anti-Discrimination Policy.

    IX. Responsibilities

    For following the policy: All students and employees regardless of their employment classification

    For enforcement of the policy:

     Dean of Students,

    Associate Vice President, Student Affairs, Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, Equal Opportunity Coordinator

    For oversight of the policy: Vice President for Student Affairs

    For notification of policy: Policy Librarian

    For procedures implementing the policy:

     Dean of Students,

    Associate Vice President, Student Affairs, Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX

    Coordinators 

    Coordinators, Equal Opportunity Coordinator

    Cross Referenced Policies

    FLC

    Discriminatory Harassment

    Policy FLC

    Disability Anti-Discrimination

    Policy Fort Lewis College

    Student Conduct

    Policy

    Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

    Policy FLC

    Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Revision History

    Approved by Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees: February 11, 2009


    . Revised by Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees: December 6, 2013


    . Revised by Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees: February 13, 2015. This revised policy was approved by the President's Cabinet on August 24, 2016 and the Board of Trustees on October 7, 2016. This revised policy was approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2018: