Grievance Procedure Under Title IX
The following internal grievance procedure has been adopted for students and employees of Albion College who have complaints alleging a violation of Title IX, pertaining to sex discrimination, including harassment based upon sex. Please note that this grievance procedure does not apply to complaints alleging a violation of the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) Reauthorization. Albion College is a private, postsecondary educational institution, and has determined that complaints alleging a violation of VAWA will be handled under the College’s VAWA administrative hearing procedures. Also, this grievance procedure cannot be used to grieve the decision of another Albion College grievance procedure or judicial or administrative hearing, unless in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, using the Title IX grievance procedure in that instance is appropriate and will not result in a complete re-hearing of the earlier matter.
I. Sex Discrimination. If an individual believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of sex, they may make a complaint that their rights under Title IX have been denied. Such a complaint is referred to in these procedures as a “grievance”. The person who has the grievance is referred to in these procedures as the “grievant”. The person or entity against whom the grievance is made is referred to in these procedures as “the respondent”.
II. Filing of a grievance. A grievance should be made in writing, be signed by the grievant, and be filed with the College’s Title IX Coordinator; also sometimes referred to in this Grievance Procedure as the Grievance Coordinator. A grievance must contain the name, address, and contact information of the grievant, how the grievant believes he or she was discriminated against, and identify the person or entity which the grievant believes engaged in the discriminatory action. The grievance must be filed within 60 days of the date the discrimination is alleged to have occurred. Failure to file a grievance within the required 60 day time period will result in the grievance being dismissed as untimely. The Title IX Coordinator for Albion College is the College’s Director of Human Resources. Filing of a grievance may be made by hand delivery, by first class mail, or by email. The name, address, telephone number, and email address for the College’s Title IX Coordinator is: Lisa A. Locke, Director of Human Resources, Albion College, 6ll East Porter St., Albion, MI 49283; telephone number (517) 629-0205; . If the Title IX Coordinator is alleged to have been involved in the discrimination or harassment, the grievance should be filed with the College’s designated Title IX Administrator instead, and the steps listed in these grievance procedures to be taken by the Title IX Coordinator shall be taken instead, by the Title IX Administrator, who is the College’s Associate Dean of Students and Director of Campus Safety. The name, address, telephone number, and email address for the College’s designated Title IX Administrator is: Kenneth E. Snyder, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Campus Safety, Albion College, 611 East Porter St., Albion, MI 49283, (616) 629-0213, . The Title IX Coordinator will maintain the files and records of the College regarding any grievance, and retain the records for three years from the date of the conclusion of the grievance. The records may be destroyed thereafter.
III. Receipt of grievance. Upon receipt of a timely grievance, the Title IX Coordinator, (or his or her designee), shall provide a copy of the grievance to the respondent and inform the respondent that they may file a written response to the grievance. The written response shall be due within ten days of delivery of the grievance to the respondent. The Title IX Coordinator also shall provide a copy of the grievance to the Title IX Administrator. If the respondent files a written response with the Title IX Coordinator, a copy of the response shall be provided to the Title IX Administrator and to the grievant.
IV. Informal resolution process. At any time during the grievance process, the Title IX Coordinator may inquire of the parties if they wish to participate in an informal resolution of the grievance. If both the grievant and the respondent agree to do so, the Grievance Coordinator will meet with them informally to attempt to resolve the grievance. If a resolution of the grievance is reached between the parties, the agreement shall be reduced to writing and signed by the grievant and the respondent, the grievance will be considered resolved and no further action will be taken on the grievance.
V. Investigation process. The Grievance Administrator shall commence an investigation of the grievance within seven business days of receipt of the grievance. If a Title IX grievance involves issues or complaints that share similar issues with another pending complaint(s) between the same parties, being investigated under another Albion College procedure or process, the Title IX Administrator may coordinate his or her investigation with that of the other Albion College investigator(s), so that duplication of effort and time is minimized. As a part of the investigation, the Grievance Adminstrator may interview the grievant and the respondent. Both the grievant and the respondent shall have the right to provide names and contact information of any witnesses they believe may have information regarding the facts involved in the grievance, and to provide any evidence to the Grievance Coordinator which they believe may be relevant to the grievance. The Grievance Administrator shall use his or her best efforts to locate any witnesses named by the grievant and respondent and to interview any available witnesses. Interviews may be conducted in person, by telephone, or by electronic means such as email, Facebook, or other electronic communication, in the discretion of the Grievance Administrator.
VI. Involvement of Title IX Administrator. It is the goal of the College that the investigation process be adequate, reliable and impartial, in order to fairly and adequately process grievances filed under this procedure. During the investigation process, the Title IX Administrator will involve the Title IX Coordinator in the investigation to the extent reasonably necessary to ensure adherence to the requirements of Title IX and its implementing regulation. The Title IX Coordinator shall discuss with the College’s Title IX Administrator the facts and evidence discovered during the investigation and may designate the Title IX Administrator, or any other individual, to assist with the investigation.
VII. Timing of investigation. The investigation process should be completed within fifteen business days from the date of commencement of the investigation. If, in the judgment of the person conducting the investigation, particular circumstances require that the investigation period be extended, the grievant, the respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator will be notified that additional time is required to complete the investigation. The notice shall include a date by which the investigation will be concluded, which in most cases, should be not longer than fifteen business days from the date of the notice.
VIII. Findings of investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Title IX Administrator will discuss his or her findings as to the investigation with the Title IX Coordinator and the Title IX Coordinator shall thereafter set forth in writing, the Title IX Coordinator’s findings as to whether the results of the investigation uphold the grievance or whether the grievance is denied as being unsupported by the results of the investigation. The written report will be completed within one week following the conclusion of the investigation.
IX. Delivery of report. A copy of the report will be delivered to the President of the College, the grievant, the respondent, and the Title IX Administrator within three business days of its completion. For all delivery requirements under these grievance procedures, delivery shall be deemed to have been made as of the date of hand delivery, mailing by first class mail, by fax, or by email.
X. Remedial Steps. If the report of the Title IX Coordinator finds that sex discrimination has occurred, the College will thereafter take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the discriminatory effects on the grievant, and others, if appropriate, are corrected. In the case of sex harassment, the College also will take steps to prevent recurrence of any such harassment.
XI. Right of appeal. If either the grievant or the respondent is dissatisfied with the findings of the investigation report, they may file an appeal with the Title IX Administrator. The appeal must be in writing, signed by the person making the appeal, and must be delivered to the Title IX Administrator within ten calendar days of the date the report was delivered to the person who is filing the appeal. If the Title IX Administrator determines that the appeal is not timely filed, no further action shall be taken in regard to the appeal, and the grievant and the respondent will be notified of the determination.
XII. Hearing on appeal. If a timely appeal is filed, the Title IX Administrator will take steps to arrange for the selection of a hearing panel and schedule a hearing on the grievance. The hearing shall be held within fifteen calendar days of receipt of the appeal. The hearing panel shall consist of three members; one chosen by the grievant, one chosen by the respondent, and one chosen by the Title IX Administrator. The individuals chosen must be current faculty, staff, students, or employees of the College, and unrelated by blood or marriage to either the grievant or respondent, in order to be eligible to serve on the hearing panel. The panel members shall designate one of their members to serve as chairman of the panel. The Chairman shall commence and end the hearing and maintain order during the hearing process.
XIII. Hearing Procedure. To protect the confidentiality of the parties involved, the hearing shall be a non-public hearing unless both the grievant and the respondent request that the hearing be public. This is a voluntary internal grievance proceeding, and neither the grievant nor the respondent has a right to representation by an attorney or any other agent at the hearing. The grievant and the respondent shall have the right to present witnesses and evidence to the panel, and to question witnesses, by submission of questions to the panel, to be asked of the witnesses. The grievant and the respondent also shall be entitled to make an oral statement to the panel at the commencement of the hearing, to state their position as to the grievance, if they wish to do so. The panel members also may ask any questions of the witnesses, the grievant, and the respondent, which the panel deems relevant to the matter.
XIV. Decision of hearing panel. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel shall meet privately to reach a decision as to whether the finding contained in the written report should be upheld. A majority of the panel must vote in favor of a decision, in order for the decision of the panel to be valid.
XV. Delivery of panel decision. The decision of the panel shall be reduced to writing, signed by the panel members voting in favor of the decision, and shall be delivered to the President of the College, the Title IX Administrator, the grievant, the respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator, within three business days following the conclusion of the hearing.
XVI. Final appeal. If either the grievant or the respondent is dissatisfied with the decision of the appeal panel, they may file a final appeal with the President of the College. The appeal must be in writing, signed by the person making the appeal, and must be filed within seven calendar days of delivery of the panel’s decision to the person making the appeal. If the President determines that the appeal is not timely filed, it shall be dismissed without any action taken. Upon receipt of a timely appeal, the President of the College shall review such materials regarding the grievance as the President deems necessary to make an informed decision as to the appeal. Within ten days of receipt of a timely appeal, the President shall issue a written decision regarding the appeal. A copy of the decision shall be delivered to the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Administrator, the grievant, the respondent, and the panel members. The decision of the President shall be final and non-appealable.
NOTICE: Retaliation against individuals who file Title IX sex discrimination complaints or who participate in this grievance process is prohibited. Individuals who believe they have been retaliated against for filing a grievance or for participating in the grievance process should notify the College’s Title IX Coordinator or the College’s Title IX Administrator, at the contact information listed above.
The College reserves the right to amend, change, or substitute, in whole or in part, any of the grievance procedures set forth herein, in the event there are changes in applicable law or regulations, or other circumstances occur which require changes in these procedures.