If the student does not pursue informal resolution, or if informal resolution is unsuccessful, the student may file a written complaint with the department chairperson or, if the chairperson is the subject of the complaint, with the academic dean or a senior faculty member designated by the college president. (This person will be referred to below as the “Fact Finder.”) Only students in a faculty member’s class or present in another academic setting where the alleged conduct occurred may file complaints against that faculty member.
- The complaint shall be filed within 30 calendar days of the alleged conduct unless there is good cause shown for delay, including but not limited to delay caused by an attempt at informal resolution. The complaint shall be as specific as possible in describing the conduct complained of.
- The Fact Finder shall promptly send a copy to the faculty member about whom the complaint is made, along with a letter stating that the filing of the complaint does not imply that any wrongdoing has occurred and that a faculty member must not retaliate in any way against a student for having made a complaint. If either the student or the faculty member has reason to believe that the department chairperson may be biased or otherwise unable to deal with the complaint in a fair and objective manner, he or she may submit to the academic dean or the senior faculty member designated by the college president a written request stating the reasons for that belief; if the request appears to have merit, that person may, in his or her sole discretion, replace the department chairperson as the Fact Finder. The chairperson may also submit a written request for recusal for good cause to the academic dean or senior faculty member designated by the college president to review such requests. If a recusal request is granted, a different department chairperson shall conduct the investigation, or, if no other chairperson is available, an administrator designated by the college president shall serve in the chairperson’s stead. Further, the college president may re-assign investigations as necessary, including but not limited to situations in which a Fact Finder has not completed an investigation in a timely manner. In addition, during any time that no department chairperson is available to investigate a complaint, the college president may assign an administrator to investigate.
- The Fact Finder shall meet with the complaining student and faculty member, either separately or together, to discuss the complaint and to try to resolve it. The Fact Finder may seek the assistance of the campus ombudsman or other appropriate person to facilitate informal resolution.
- If resolution is not possible, and the Fact Finder concludes that the facts alleged by the student, taken as true and viewed in the light most favorable to the student, establish that the conduct complained of is clearly protected by academic freedom, he or she shall issue a written report dismissing the complaint and setting forth the reasons for dismissal and send a copy to the complaining student, the faculty member, the chief academic officer and the chief student affairs officer. Otherwise, the Fact Finder shall conduct an investigation. The Fact Finder shall separately interview the complaining student, the faculty member and other persons with relevant knowledge and information and shall also consult with the chief student affairs officer and, if appropriate, the college ombudsman. The Fact Finder shall not reveal the identity of the complaining student and the faculty member to others except to the extent necessary to conduct the investigation. If the Fact Finder believes it would be helpful, he or she may meet again with the student and faculty member after completing the investigation in an effort to resolve the matter. The complaining student and the faculty member shall have the right to have a representative (including a union representative, student government representative or attorney) present during the initial meeting, the interview and any post-investigation meeting.
- In cases where there is strong preliminary evidence that a student’s complaint is meritorious and that the student may suffer immediate and irreparable harm, the Fact Finder may provide appropriate interim relief to the complaining student pending the completion of the investigation. The affected faculty member may appeal such interim relief to the chief academic officer.
- At the end of the investigation, the Fact Finder shall issue a written report setting forth his or her findings and recommendations, with particular focus on whether the conduct in question is protected by academic freedom, and send a copy to the complaining student, the faculty member, the chief academic officer and the chief student affairs officer. In ordinary cases, it is expected that the investigation and written report should be completed within 30 calendar days of the date the complaint was filed.