Student Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation Complaint Operating Procedure 319.05
Series: 300 Students
Section: Code of Conduct and Discipline
Applicability: It is the intent of the College to promptly investigate and address complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. This Operating Procedure sets forth the process for reporting and investigating complaints of prohibited conduct involving a student under the Student Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation Policy, except for the following circumstances: a complaint involving Sexual Misconduct as defined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy will be processed pursuant to the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures, and a complaint against an employee will be processed as set forth in the College’s personnel policies, specifically the Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation Operating Procedure.
The “Complainant” is the person who has been subjected to prohibited conduct as alleged in the complaint.
The “Respondent” is the person against whom the complaint has been filed.
A “Supervisor” is an employee of the College designated as a supervisor or division/branch administrator in accordance with the list of supervisors and division/branch administrators maintained by the Office of Human Resources.
I. Reporting Procedures:
A. Prompt Reporting:
Discrimination, harassment or retaliation complaints are best resolved if addressed early. It may be difficult to substantiate the allegations made in a complaint brought after significant time has passed. Failure to promptly file a complaint may result in the loss of relevant evidence and witness testimony, and may impair the College’s ability to enforce its Policies and Procedures. Complaints should be made within thirty (30) days of the time the alleged conduct took place unless good cause is shown for the delay.
B. Duty to Report:
- Supervisors: All Supervisors shall have a duty to report any prohibited conduct by or against a student of which they become aware. Supervisors shall promptly forward any report, whether verbal, written or anonymous, to the Office of the Dean of Student Services or through JCCC KOPS Report Line.
- Non-Supervisors: All other individuals who have been subjected to discrimination, harassment or retaliation by a student or have direct knowledge of the occurrence of such conduct are encouraged to first inform the Respondent that the behavior is unwelcome and should cease. If the individual does not feel comfortable directly addressing the Respondent or if the prohibited conduct does not cease, a complaint may be filed with the Office of the Dean of Student Services or through the JCCC KOPS Report Line as described below.
C. Form of Report:
The initial complaint can be either written or verbal. If a verbal complaint is made to a Supervisor, the Supervisor shall promptly document and forward the complaint, and also inform the Complainant that he/she can submit his/her own written report of the complaint as set forth above. A complaint should include a specific description of the conduct, the party or parties involved, and the date(s) and circumstances under which the alleged conduct occurred. The written complaint shall be dated and signed to acknowledge completeness and accuracy.
Once a report of prohibited conduct is received by the Office of the Dean of Student Services, it will be entered into the JCCC KOPS Report Line in accordance with the rules established for such reporting. A complaint may also be submitted directly through JCCC KOPS Report Line by the individual filing the report.
"JCCC KOPS Report Line (Keeping Our People Safe):" The College has implemented a confidential reporting system through a private third-party vendor. The JCCC KOPS Report Line will permit individuals to report information related to safety concerns such as criminal activity on or near campus, violent or unusual behavior, concerns regarding a student’s welfare, substance abuse, discrimination, harassment or retaliation complaints and matters of a similar nature. The JCCC KOPS Report Line will serve as an alternative reporting channel for reports under this Procedure. A report of discrimination, harassment or retaliation may be submitted anonymously through the JCCC KOPS Report Line. Reports submitted through the JCCC KOPS Report Line will be processed as provided in this Procedure. In the event that the complaint provides information insufficient to conduct an investigation, the College will take reasonable steps to solicit additional information from the person reporting the issue through the JCCC KOPS Report Line.
It shall be considered a violation of College policy for any individual to knowingly file a false or malicious complaint of discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
Due dates under this Procedure shall be calculated based upon calendar days. If the due date specified falls on a weekend or holiday, the next business day will be the due date for the action. Either party may request a reasonable extension of time for any of the deadlines set forth in this Procedure. While the intent of this Procedure is to provide for the prompt reporting and investigation of claims of prohibited conduct, these deadlines are not meant to penalize. Therefore, failure to comply with the deadlines set forth herein will not invalidate a complaint, investigation or discipline.
III. Interim Measures:
In an effort to take prompt and effective protective action, the College may implement appropriate interim steps before the final outcome of the complaint, including but not limited to altering class/activity schedules, issuing a “no contact” order between the parties, emergency suspension, and additional supervision of the parties. During the pendency of a complaint, the College may delay or suspend other academic actions, including releasing student records, until a final determination of the complaint has been made.
IV. Complaint Resolution Procedures:
JCCC has established both formal and informal procedures to resolve prohibited discrimination, harassment or retaliation complaints.
After the complaint has been filed in accordance with these Procedures, the written complaint will be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Student Services. A designated officer (“Officer”) will meet with the Complainant to review the options for resolving the complaint. At this initial meeting, the Officer will determine, with input from the Complainant, whether to proceed with Informal Resolution or Formal Resolution. Any other time while Informal Resolution is being pursued, the Officer may elect to move the complaint into Formal Resolution if circumstances merit a more formal investigation and determination.
Under either resolution process, all involved parties have a duty to cooperate with the review or investigation and they are not to knowingly impede, obstruct or delay the investigation. In particular, both the Complainant and the Respondent have the responsibility to provide all relevant information and facts to the matter under review.
A. Informal Resolution:
If Informal Resolution is selected, the Officer, serving as a neutral facilitator, will communicate with the Complainant and Respondent (either separately or together) to discuss the complaint and identify solutions to the complaint. If both parties to the complaint agree to a solution, this solution shall be written, signed and dated by both parties to acknowledge that they agree with the solution. The Informal Resolution process, in most instances, should be concluded within a period of thirty (30) days of receipt of the complaint.
Students are encouraged to follow up with the Officer and/or Dean of Student Services as necessary to discuss the status of the resolution.
If the Complainant or Respondent cannot reach an agreement through Informal Resolution, either party may request to the Officer that the complaint be investigated through Formal Resolution. The Officer will determine if Formal Resolution is warranted by the circumstances.
B. Formal Resolution:
If Formal Resolution is selected, the Officer shall appoint one or more investigators to investigate the complaint. An appointed investigator may be a College employee (including the Officer) or a third party retained by the College to conduct the assigned investigation. The Respondent shall be given a summary of the complaint, and the Respondent shall be given the opportunity to respond in writing to the allegations within ten (10) days of notification of the complaint.
The investigator(s) shall promptly initiate an investigation of the complaint by discussing the complaint with the Complainant and the Respondent, and by interviewing any witnesses likely to have relevant information, including but not limited to parties participating in or observing the conduct.
The investigator(s) will summarize the factual findings in a report to the Officer within sixty (60) days from receipt of the complaint. When is it not reasonably possible to complete the investigation within that time, the investigation period may be extended by up to an additional sixty (60) days upon approval of the Officer. If the extension is granted, the parties to the complaint will be so notified.
The Officer shall review the report and make a determination regarding whether a preponderance of the evidence indicates that prohibited conduct has occurred. A preponderance of the evidence means that it is “more likely than not” that prohibited conduct occurred. The College will take appropriate disciplinary or corrective action based on the determination. Not every complaint will necessarily warrant corrective action or discipline. However, if the investigation reveals that discrimination, harassment or retaliation has occurred, the Respondent will be subject to discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion. Within ten (10) days of receipt of the investigators’ report, the Officer shall notify the Complainant and Respondent of the outcome of the investigation and provide them with the Officer’s summary of the investigation report.
During the Formal Resolution, the investigator(s) and all other parties involved in administratively processing the complaint shall serve in a neutral role and shall not act in an advocate role for the Complainant or the Respondent. The role of an investigator will be to thoroughly investigate the issues as stated in the written complaint and to determine factual findings based on this review.
V. Appeal of Formal Resolution:
The outcome of Formal Resolution may be appealed by the student on the following grounds:
A. A material procedural or substantive error occurred in the Formal Resolution process that significantly impacted the determination. This may include the existence of an actual conflict of interest, substantiated bias or material deviation from established procedures for Formal Resolution.
B. There is new evidence that was unavailable during the initial determination and is reasonably likely to impact the original findings and/or outcome.
Circumstances that will not be a sufficient basis for appeal include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Lack of knowledge of the Student Code of Conduct or other applicable rules;
- Disagreement with outcome; or
- Consideration of additional evidence that was available at the time of the Formal Resolution process.
Should the student Complainant or Respondent decide to appeal the outcome of the Formal Resolution, he/she may request review of the determination within ten (10) days of the date of the notice of determination. The request for review shall be submitted to the Office of the Vice President of Student Success & Engagement. Upon receipt of the request for review, the Vice President shall designate an officer of the College to review the report of investigation (the “Reviewing Officer”) or elect to serve as the Reviewing Officer.
The Reviewing Officer will be provided with the complaint, the Respondent’s response and investigators’ report of investigation. The Reviewing Officer will review the complaint documents, interview the Complainant and the Respondent, if necessary, and complete such other interviews as may be necessary to make a determination. The Reviewing Officer should complete the review within fourteen (14) days. If additional time is needed to complete this review, the Reviewing Officer will notify the Complainant and the Respondent that the review will be delayed and indicate the reasons for the delay. The Reviewing Officer will provide a report to the Vice President with his/her factual findings. The Vice President will consider this report and make a determination regarding whether the outcome of Formal Resolution is supported by the evidence and if additional action is necessary. The Vice President will inform the appealing party of the outcome of the review. The decision of the Vice President will be final.
Disciplinary actions resulting from this complaint Procedure may be appealed by the student in accordance with the College’s Student Disciplinary Action Policies and Procedures.
Participants in the complaint resolution process should respect the matter as confidential. All information revealed and all discussions held shall be as confidential as reasonably possible within legal requirements and organizational responsibilities, and within limits allowing for the review to occur.
The College cannot guarantee confidentiality of the information received and the privacy of the individuals involved due to potential legal obligations to report, investigate and take appropriate action regarding such matters. Confidentiality will be protected as much as legally possible, and the expressed wishes of the Complainant and Respondent regarding confidentiality will be considered in the context of the College’s obligation to act upon the complaint and the right of the adverse party to be informed concerning the complaint.
Signature on File in Policy Office