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ARTICLE VII. University Regulations Regarding Discrimination and Harassment

 

Students who feel they have been unfairly treated [in matters other than (i) student conduct (Article V above), (ii) academic integrity (Article VI above), or (iii) admission, residency, employment, traffic, and parking-which are addressed by procedures separate and independent from the Student Code] may file a grievance through the channels described below.

An instructor has full autonomy to evaluate a student’s academic performance in a course. Accordingly, a decision by a Grievance Board is limited. A Grievance Board has neither the expertise nor the authority to substitute its judgment for that of the instructor’s concerning the evaluation of a student’s academic performance. The University administration would override an instructor’s evaluation only in an extremely limited circumstance-where the occurrence or incident relating to an academic grievance would result in the instructor being disciplined and sanctioned under Section 400 of the Utah State University Policy Manual.

Where an occurrence or incident relating to a grievance could be processed either as a disciplinary action or grievance, it shall be processed as a discipline matter under Article V; however, if the grievance also relates to discrimination or harassment, it shall be processed under this Article (Section VII-3) to utilize the expertise of the Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity (AA/EO) Office in these areas. [A student shall not be subject to disciplinary action for exercising his or her First Amendment right of free speech, except as such right has been limited by civil rights laws.]

When a grievance proceeding is initiated by a student who is taking courses through University Extension, the procedures shall be substantially parallel to Sections 1, 2, 3, and 4 below, as determined by the Vice President for Student Affairs on a case-by-case basis.

    1. For all academic grievances, the channel is:
      1. the instructor, or graduate supervisory committee if the grievance pertains to committee action;
      2. the academic department head;
      3. the dean of the college-for graduate students: the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, who will consult and coordinate with the academic dean;
      4. Grievance Board;
      5. the Hearing Officer;
      6. the Provost; and
      7. the President of the University.

However, paragraph C., below, shall apply if the student asserts that items specified in Section VII.3.A., below, have affected the evaluation of the student's performance.

  1. For all nonacademic grievances, the channel is:
    1. the staff member or other person involved;
    2. the department head, or unit director;
    3. the appropriate dean, or the administrator to whom the unit director reports;
    4. the Grievance Board;
    5. the Hearing Officer;
    6. the Vice President for Student Affairs (where a decision of a Grievance Board may require enforcement by a vice president other than the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall consult and coordinate with the other vice president); and
    7. the President of the University.
  2. For all grievances relating to discrimination or to harassment, the channel is:
    1. at the option of the grievant, the instructor, the graduate supervisory committee, the staff member, or other person involved;
    2. at the option of the grievant, the department head or unit director;
    3. the AA/EO Director in concert with the appropriate administrator mentioned in A.(3) or B.(3) above;
    4. the Grievance Board ; and
    5. the President of the University.

 

  1. Students utilizing the grievance procedure (the “grievant”) shall begin the procedure no later than 120 days following the date of the act which is the basis for the grievance. Failure of the person against whom the grievance is made (the "respondent") to respond within the specified time, if any, at any level in the procedure will allow the grievant to proceed to the next step.
  2. At any time during the hearing/appeal process, the parties may resolve the matter by mutual agreement, thereby rendering further formal proceedings unnecessary. A written statement shall be prepared and filed with the appropriate dean/Vice President for Student Affairs.
  3. The matter shall be handled as follows:
    1. The aggrieved student must first confer with the instructor, graduate supervisory committee, the staff member, or other person involved in the grievance in an attempt to resolve the problem.
    2. Unresolved grievances shall be filed in writing (a grievance complaint) with the department head or unit director who shall, within 30 days from the date the grievance is filed, conduct an inquiry and attempt to resolve the matter impartially and as quickly as possible.
    3. If the grievance is not resolved at step 2, the grievant may forward a copy of the grievance complaint, together with all correspondence or related documents, to the dean, or other administrator. The dean or administrator shall conduct an informal inquiry within 30 days from the date the grievance complaint is received and shall attempt to resolve the grievance informally. If the dispute is not resolved informally, a hearing shall be conducted.
    4. The dean or administrator shall refer the matter to the Vice President for Student Affairs for a hearing before a Grievance Board. The Vice President for Student Affairs shall immediately notify the hearing board pool chair.
    5. When a matter is referred for a hearing, the hearing board pool chair shall (1) designate four students (which may include him or herself) and two faculty members from the pool to act as the Grievance Board to hear an academic grievance and (2) designate four students (which may include him or herself), one faculty member, and one professional staff employee from the pool to act as the Grievance Board to hear a nonacademic grievance. Grievance Boards shall be formed so as to give all pool members equal opportunity to serve, but a strict rotation is not required. The Grievance Board shall elect a faculty member to serve as a voting chair. All actions by the Grievance Board shall be by majority vote. Should the Grievance Board reach a split vote, the Board must deliberate until a majority is reached.
    6. The hearing shall be closed to the general public. Only the following individuals will be allowed into the hearing room: (1) Grievance Board members; (2) a University attorney, who shall act as advisor to the Grievance Board when needed; (3) the dean/administrator; (4) University law enforcement officers; (5) the parties involved-the grievant and the respondent; (6) the parties' advisors, if any; and (7) any witnesses. Witnesses will be present only at the time of their testimony and will not be permitted to hear the testimony of other witnesses. All persons present at the hearing shall treat the matters discussed therein as confidential.
    7. The parties involved have the procedural rights set forth in Section VIll-1., which include but are not limited to:
      1. challenge any member of the Grievance Board for bias in the case.
      2. be accompanied by an advisor of their own choice (i.e., parent, legal guardian, attorney, faculty member, USUSA student advocate, or other person). The advisor shall merely counsel the respective party and shall not be permitted to speak or participate directly in the hearing; provided that, if a party is incapacitated, an advisor (who is not an attorney) may directly assist.
      3. If a party is hearing impaired, an interpreter will be provided, where necessary, and the party may present his or her case through an interpreter or other communication device. If a party does not have adequate communication skills in the English language, a translator will be provided, where necessary, and the party may present his or her case through a translator.
      4. be notified in advance of the time, date, and location of the hearing. [Should any of the parties fail to attend, the hearing will be conducted without them.]
      5. make a statement, question witnesses, and examine the evidence against him or her.
    8. The Grievance Board members may ask questions of anyone in attendance.
    9. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Grievance Board shall deliberate in private, but may invite a University attorney into the deliberation session.
    10. Within two days after the completion of the hearing, the Grievance Board chair shall submit to the dean/administrator a written decision, including findings of fact and conclusions which serve as the basis for the decision. Copies of the written document shall be provided to all parties involved in the dispute.
    11. The decision may be appealed within the time provided in the next section.

Utah State University is committed to equity in education for its students and that they not be discriminated against/harassed because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age (40 and older), disability, or status as a protected veteran. Consistent with its prohibition against sex discrimination, Utah State University prohibits and is committed to addressing and preventing sexual violence.

  1. Students utilizing the grievance procedure (the “grievant”) shall begin the procedure no later than 180 days from the date of the last occurrence of the discrimination or harassment. Failure of the person against whom the grievance is made (the "respondent") to respond within the specified time, if any, at any level in the procedure will allow the grievant to proceed to the next step.
  2. Information related to discrimination or harassment grievances will be considered confidential. All investigation/inquiries and hearings surrounding such grievances shall, to the maximum extent possible, protect the privacy of and minimize suspicion toward the respondent, as well as the grievant. Retaliation is prohibited against any individual who has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing in regard to such a grievance.
  3. At any time during the hearing/appeal process, the parties may resolve the matter by mutual agreement thereby rendering further proceedings unnecessary. A written statement setting forth the agreement shall be prepared and filed with the AA/EO Director and the Vice President for Student Affairs. However, sexual misconduct complaints may not be resolved using informal methods of compromise or settlement.
  4. The matter shall be handled as follows:
    1. The grievant is encouraged, but is not required, to first confer with the instructor, graduate supervisory committee, the staff member, or other person involved in the grievance in an attempt to resolve the problem. The step 1 does not apply to complaints of sexual misconduct.
    2. If the grievance is not resolved in step 1, the grievant is encouraged, but not required, to confer with the department head or unit director who shall, within 30 days, conduct an inquiry and attempt to resolve the matter impartially and as quickly as possible. This step 2 does not apply to complaints of sexual misconduct.
    3. If the grievant does not elect to confer with the individuals listed in steps 1 and 2, or if the student utilizes steps 1 and 2 but the grievance is not resolved, the student may discuss his or her grievance with the AA/EO Director (Old Main 161). Complaints fo sexual misconduct, wherever reported, will always be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. The role of the Title IX Coordinator and the AA/EO Director is not to act as an advocate for the grievant, but to collect, review, and objectively analyze facts pertinent to the grievance.
    4. If the information given by the grievant is sufficient to establish that a potential violation of discrimination laws has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator and/or the AA/EO Director will explain the options which are available to the grievant to address the alleged violation. If the grievant wishes to proceed, the student shall fill out, sign, and date a written complaint outlining the facts and circumstances surrounding the grievance.
    5. An inquiry/investigation shall be conducted by the AA/EO Director (in the case of sexual misconduct the Title IX Coordinator) within 60 days from the date the written complaint is filed with the Title IX Coordinator and/or AA/EO Office; however the AA/EO Director/Title IX Coordinator may adjust deadlines upon good cause. The purpose of the inquiry/ investigation is to gather facts, substantiate or refute the complaint, and mediate a resolution, if possible. The inquiry/investigation may include, at the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and/or AA/EO Director, some or all of the following: (1) collection of documents pertinent to the complaint; (2) interview of persons having knowledge of the incident(s); (3) summarization of the findings and conclusions. For more information about the investigation process see USU Policy 305
    6. If either the grievant or the respondent is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation/inquiry, he or she may appeal by filing with the Title IX Coordinator and/or AA/EO Director a written request for a hearing within 10 days of the completion of the inquiry/investigation. The request shall outline the specific issues or circumstances being appealed.
    7. The appeal hearing shall be conducted by a Grievance Board consisting of six members of the AA/EO Advisory Council, selected by the President of the University. The Grievance Board members shall be trained as provided for hearing board members generally.
    8. The appeal hearing shall be closed to the general public. Only the following individuals will be allowed into the hearing room: (1) Grievance Board; (2) a University attorney, who shall act as advisor to the Grievance Board when needed; (3) the department head or unit director; (4) the Title IX Coordinator and/or AA/EO Director; (5) the parties involved; (6) the parties' advisors, if any; and (7) any witnesses. Witnesses will be present only at the time of their testimony and will not be permitted to hear the testimony of other witnesses. All persons present at the hearing shall treat the matters discussed therein as confidential.
    9. The parties involved have the procedural rights set forth in Section VI-4., which include but are not limited to:
      1. challenge any member of the Grievance Board for bias in the case.
      2. be accompanied by an advisor of their own choice (i.e., parent, legal guardian, attorney, faculty member, USUSA student advocate, or other person). The advisor shall merely counsel the respective party and shall not be permitted to speak or participate directly in the hearing; provided that, if a party is incapacitated, an advisor (who is not an attorney) may directly assist.
      3. If a party is hearing impaired, an interpreter will be provided, where necessary, and the party may present his or her case through an interpreter or other communication device. If a party does not have adequate communication skills in the English language, a translator will be provided, where necessary, and the party may present his or her case through a translator.
      4. be notified in advance of the time, date, and location of the hearing. [Should any of the parties fail to attend, the hearing will be conducted without them.]
      5. make a statement, question witnesses, and examine the evidence against him or her.
    10. The Title IX Coordinator or the AA/EO Director shall make a statement which shall include a summation of the investigation/inquiry.
    11. The Grievance Board members may ask questions of anyone in attendance.
    12. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Grievance Board shall deliberate in private, but may invite a University attorney into the deliberation session.
    13. The Grievance Board shall prepare a written report of its findings, conclusions, and recommendation and forward it to the President of the University within 45 days from the date the written request for a hearing was filed.
    14. The President of the University shall review the report and may accept or modify the recommendation. The decision of the President is final.
    15. A copy of the final decision shall be given to the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Title IX Coordinator, AA/EO Director, and the grievant and the responding party.

Article VIII