ND-2 Discrimination Complaint Procedures for StudentsND-2 Discrimination Complaint Procedures for Students
I. This procedure provides for the prompt and equitable resolution of discrimination and harassment complaints brought by students against a member of the college community that is based on membership in a “protected class/category” (not otherwise addressed in the Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy).
- Complaints may be brought under this procedure for discrimination based on membership in a protected group: race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status (including document abuse), sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), (not including those cases under the Title IX Policy Jurisdiction), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability, or genetic information.
- All members of the college community should act promptly upon receipt of an allegation of conduct that might constitute harassment and/or discrimination. Any member of the college community should refer a person who might be a victim of such conduct to the college’s equal opportunity & Title IX Regional Director [Regional Director] (or designee) or to the district’s Title IX, ADA/504 Coordinator who are both responsible for resolving complaints of unlawful harassment/discrimination.
- Students who believe they are experiencing sexual harassment in violation of Title IX should submit a written complaint under Administrative Regulation 5.1.16, Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy.
- Students who wish to file a complaint related to disability accommodations should first exhaust the remedies outlined under A.R. 2.8 Students with Disabilities.
- Students who feel they have been treated unfairly or unjustly by a faculty member regarding instruction or a grade not involving discrimination based on membership in a protected group (as outlined above) should utilize the S-6 Instructional Grievance Process.
II. College oﬃcials should take all necessary steps to ensure the prompt and equitable resolution of any complaint of harassment/discrimination. The typical time period to resolve allegations under this policy is sixty (60) business days. MCCCD will make a good faith effort to complete the resolution process within this period. Any extenuating circumstances that extend this time period will be communicated to the complainant and respondent and noted in the investigative file.
- The term ‘Complainant'' refers to an individual who has experienced the alleged prohibited conduct. Only the person who has experienced the alleged prohibited conduct may file a complaint under this policy. The term “Respondent” refers to an individual who has been accused of engaging in prohibited conduct.
- The written complaint must identify the action, decision, conduct, or basis that the student believes constitutes prohibited discrimination or harassment. If the complaint does not contain the above-referenced information, the Regional Title IX Director or district Title IX, ADA/504 Coordinator will request clarification.
- Every effort will be made to address the complaint consistent with the complainant’s desires. However, under certain circumstances, the MCCCD may have a legal obligation to identify and remedy discrimination or harassment, irrespective of whether a formal complaint is actually filed and even if the complainant would prefer no action be taken.
III. Optional Informal Resolution of Discrimination Complaints
- Before ﬁling a formal complaint under this procedure, the student may attempt to resolve the problem through informal discussions with the respondent. Students are not required to use the informal resolution process before filing a formal complaint.
- The student should work with the Regional Director to schedule and facilitate the informal resolution meeting.
- The informal resolution process consists of: a) the discussion between parties regarding the allegations, b) the response to the allegations, and c) a written resolution agreement between the parties as to the disposition of the allegations. The Regional Director shall be involved with the drafting of the written resolution agreement.
- Both parties must sign the written resolution agreement in order to deem the matter closed.
- There is no appeal to the informal resolution process. The Regional Director is charged with ensuring the disposition (and any actions stated therein) is completed.
- At any time before the signing of the resolution agreement, the student can end the informal process and initiate the formal process.
- If the complaint cannot be informally resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student has the right to ﬁle a formal complaint and to proceed under the formal resolution procedures.
IV. Formal Resolution of Discrimination Complaints
- A student who contends that unlawful or MCCCD-prohibited discrimination has occurred may ﬁle a formal complaint by contacting the Regional Director at each respective college or center or the district’s Title IX, ADA/504 Coordinator if the respondent is a district office employee.
- A formal complaint is a signed and dated document submitted by the complainant (an email from the student will suffice) alleging a policy violation by a respondent, a summary of allegations, and requesting that the MCCCD investigate the allegation(s).
- The formal process consists of a signed complaint, preliminary assessment, an investigation, a determination regarding the allegation, appropriate corrective action or sanctions when the complaint is substantiated, and an offered appeal process.
- Upon receipt of a formal complaint of discrimination or harassment, the Regional Director shall conduct a preliminary assessment to determine whether, if substantiated, the behavior or conduct reported would constitute a violation of MCCCD policy. The Regional Director has sole discretion to determine whether further investigation is necessary in any particular case. In circumstances where a complaint will not be investigated, the complaint will be notified.
- Following the determination that an investigation should take place, the Regional Director shall appoint two (2) trained investigators to investigate the allegations. The complainant, respondent and/or investigators shall disclose any potential conflicts of interest or bias regarding the complaint to the Regional Director.
- Regional Director will provide written notice of allegations (the “NOA”) to the respondent upon commencement of the formal resolution process. The NOA will include: a) a summary of all allegations, b) specific policies implicated, c) a statement of the potential sanctions/corrective actions that could result, d) a statement that the applicable evidentiary standard is a preponderance of the evidence, e) a statement that the MCCCD presumes the respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the evidence supports a determination of a policy violation, f) the name(s) of the assigned investigator(s), g) detail on how the party may request disability accommodations during the interview process, h) a statement about MCCCD’s policy on retaliation, and i) an instruction to preserve any evidence that is directly related to the allegations.
- Amendments and updates to the NOA may be made as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available. Notice is presumed to have been given upon emailing the NOA to the respondent’s MCCCD-owned email address.
- The investigators shall review all information provided to the Regional Director and will interview individuals who potentially possess relevant evidence as identified by the parties and determined by the investigators. The investigators shall focus on the allegation(s) of policy violation, assess the relevance of witnesses and evidence, and work efficiently to conclude the investigation promptly (within 60 business days), as outlined in this procedure. The investigators shall deliver to the Regional Director the investigation report, which shall include: a) a summary of the allegations, b) a written determination (including rationale) regarding the allegation and whether a policy violation is substantiated or unsubstantiated, and, c) any recommendation(s) addressing substantiated findings.
- Within ten (10) business days following receipt of the results of the investigation the Regional Director will accept or recommend further investigation. The Regional Director will provide a written notiﬁcation of the investigation outcome simultaneously to the complainant and respondent. This outcome notification will include a summary of the investigator’s written ﬁndings.
V. Sanctions and Corrective Action
- The Vice President of Student Affairs will implement student sanctions as appropriate under A.R. 2.5 Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy. If the respondent is an employee, the Vice President of Student Affairs will report the findings of fact and policy conclusions to the college or District Human Resources who will issue appropriate disciplinary sanctions or corrective action.
- MCCCD has clear policy goals to prevent and correct discrimination or harassment, therefore, possible sanctions include, but are not limited to: written warning, counseling, suspension, transfer, mandatory training, or dismissal of the respondent. As appropriate to remedy the effects of policy violations, action on behalf of complainants, such as employee assistance, professional counseling, voluntary transfer, etc., may also be offered. The institution will take appropriate steps to prevent further occurrences.
VI. Supportive Measures
For any allegation of unlawful discrimination, the MCCCD may provide supportive measures to assist or protect the parties during the pendency of the investigation. Such measures may include academic adjustments, arranging for changes in class schedules, or other appropriate temporary measures.
VII. Appeal Right
- A complainant or respondent who is not satisﬁed with the outcome has five (5) business days to submit an appeal of the decision, in writing, to the College President. If a conflict of interest prevents the College President from serving as the appeal officer, then the district Provost shall serve as the appeal officer. For respondents who are district office employees, the Provost shall serve as the appeal officer. If the Provost has a conflict of interest, a College President may serve as the appeal officer. Conflicts of interest requiring a change of appeal officer shall be communicated to the requesting party.
Grounds for Appeal. Appeals are limited under the following grounds: a) Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter; OR, b) New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made that could affect the outcome of the matter.
- The appeal request must state the grounds for appeal and why the complainant or respondent believes the outcome was improper.
- Denials based on lack of grounds shall be communicated to the requesting party within five (5) business days of the request for appeal being received by the appeal officer.
- If any grounds for appeal are met, the appeal officer will review the results of the investigation and written ﬁndings and respond to the request within ten (10) business days from receipt of the request. The ten-day review and response period may be extended for extenuating circumstances, with notice to all parties. The appeal officer may accept, reject, or modify the investigatory outcome. If the appeal officer determines that it is necessary to remedy a substantial deficiency caused by one of the appeal grounds above, the case ﬁle will be reopened and assigned for further investigation. If necessary, other investigator(s) may be assigned. If the appeal officer determines that the investigation was thorough and complete and that the decision is supported by the evidence, the appeal officer will affirm the investigation outcome. At this point, the student has exhausted the Discrimination Complaint Procedure for Students.
VIII. Maintenance of Documentation
Documentation resulting from each level in the Formal Resolution Process (including witness statements, investigative notes, etc.) will be maintained in accordance with state and MCCCD document retention guidelines, A.R. 4.15 Retrieval, Disclosure and Retention of Records.
IX. Conﬁdentiality of Proceedings
Every eﬀort will be made by the college and MCCCD to protect the conﬁdentiality of the parties during the processing of complaints under this procedure. Records will be maintained in a conﬁdential manner to the extent permitted by law and insofar as they do not interfere with MCCCD’s legal obligation to investigate and resolve issues of discrimination.
X. Retaliation Prohibited
Retaliation against a person who has ﬁled a complaint or against any witness questioned during an investigation is strictly prohibited. Any retaliatory action by instructors, supervisors, managers, academic professionals, administrators, or other employees who have the authority to take adverse action against a complainant or witness is prohibited and may be grounds for disciplinary action. As per A.R. 5.1.15 Retaliation Prohibited, “MCCCD strictly prohibits an adverse action that might deter a reasonable person from participating in activity protected by antidiscrimination laws.”
XI. False Statements Prohibited
Any individual who knowingly provides false information pursuant to ﬁling a discrimination charge or during the investigation of a discrimination charge will be subject to appropriate discipline under the Student Conduct Code or appropriate employee Administrative Regulation.
External Filing of Discrimination Complaint
MCCCD encourages students to use the MCCCD Discrimination Complaint Procedure for Students to resolve discrimination concerns. Students also have the right to ﬁle civil rights complaints with appropriate external agencies. No retaliation will be taken against a person for ﬁling a complaint with an external agency. The following agency accepts discrimination charges ﬁled by, or on behalf of, students:
Oﬃce for Civil Rights, Region VIII (OCR) Denver Oﬃce
U.S. Department of Education Federal Building
1244 Speer Boulevard, Suite 310
Denver, Colorado 80204-3582