Reporting a Complaint/Grievance Procedure

Reporting Discrimination and Harassment Complaints and Investigations Process

These grievance procedures provide prompt and equitable resolution of all complaints regarding Title IX violations and will be handled by and through the Title IX Coordinator’s Office.

 

Reporting Misconduct

Any member of the Chaffey community who has suffered sexual misconduct is encouraged to file a formal or informal complaint to the Chaffey Community College Title IX Coordinator or report such to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. If the Title IX Coordinator is involved in the alleged sexual misconduct, such complaint should be directed to the District’s Superintendent/President.  

The District’s Title IX Coordinator is:

Susan Hardie
susan.hardie@chaffey.edu
909-652-6531

Following notice to the Title IX Coordinator, where reasonable cause exists to believe a violation has occurred, one of two processes shall be promptly pursued:

  •   Informal Complaint Process
  •   Formal Complaint Process 


Upon receiving notice of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must promptly respond, advise the complainant of informal and formal processes, advise the complainant that he/she/they may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and/or local law enforcement, inform the complainant of supportive measures, and inform the Superintendent/President’s Office of the complaint.

 

Informal Complaint Process

An informal complaint is (1) an unwritten allegation of sexual misconduct; or (2) a written allegation of sexual misconduct that (a) falls outside of the designated timelines for a formal complaint or (b) is filed by an individual expressly indicating that his/her/their intention is to not file a formal complaint. 

Such complaints must be directed to the Title IX Coordinator.  Administrators receiving an informal complaint shall immediately forward such complaint to the Title IX Coordinator.  Upon receipt of an informal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator shall notify the person bringing the complaint (“complainant”) of his/her/their right to file a formal complaint and what such procedure looks like.  The complainant may choose at any time to file a formal complaint as long as it is within the timeline to do so.

If the Title IX Coordinator finds that, if true, the informal allegation(s) would constitute a Title IX violation, then investigation of the informal complaint is appropriate.  The Title IX Coordinator will promptly notify the complainant that the Title IX Coordinator or designee may decide to direct the complaint to the Informal Process Facilitator for a fact-finding investigation even if the complainant does not wish to do so.  The Informal Process Facilitator will then work with the complainant and the individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment (“the respondent”) on alternative resolutions that do not include permanent record sanctions.  Alternative resolutions include, but are not limited to, mediation, neutral evaluation, negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, obtaining apologies, rearrangement of work/academic schedules, informal counseling, and training.  To pursue an informal complaint process, the parties must voluntarily and on an informed basis consent in writing.  Participation in an informal process may not be a condition of enrollment or employment.  Either party may withdraw from the informal process at any time and for any reason.

An informal complaint process may not be pursued or offered to resolve any Title IX allegations that involve an employee and a student.

 

Formal Complaint Process

Filing a Formal Complaint

A formal complaint is a document filed and signed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging facts with enough specificity to indicate that a violation of the District policies or procedures on sexual misconduct has occurred.  The below formal complaint forms may be used by students, faculty, staff, and others to report any form of discrimination that falls under Title IX.  The complaint forms will be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator.

 

Click Here for Complaint Form

 

The complainant must file any formal complaint not involving employment within one year of (1) the date of the allegations or (2) the date on which the complainant knew or should have known of the facts underlying the allegations.  However, if the only defect in a formal complaint is that it fell outside of the applicable timeline, the Title IX Coordinator may not disregard the complaint.  The District strongly encourages anyone who has suffered sexual misconduct to report the incident(s) within 30 days of the alleged incident. Delay in filing impedes the District’s ability to investigate and prevent further behavior.

 

Due Process

During a formal investigation, the complainant and the respondent shall be afforded due process and an advisor to accompany him/her/they during the formal complaint process.

 

Standard of Review

The District shall use a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e. whether it is more likely than not that the respondent committed each alleged violation in the complaint) to determine responsibility and apply such standard equally to all formal complaints of sexual harassment.

 

Confidentiality

The identification of the complainant, respondent, and witness(es) must remain confidential unless necessary to carry out the Title IX grievance process.  The District shall take all reasonable steps to comply with any request to keep the process confidential and must inform either party when it cannot ensure confidentiality.

 

Written Notice

Upon receipt of the formal complaint, the District must provide written notice to the parties who are known of:

  • Each allegation in the complaint
  • A statement that respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process
  • The right to an advisor of their choice who may, but is not required to, be an attorney
  • The barring of knowingly making false statements or submitting false information during the formal complaint process
  • Any additional allegations that arise throughout the formal complaint process

 


Investigation Process

The investigator(s) has the sole responsibility to gather all evidence related to the complaint and to provide such evidence to both parties with 10 days to review and comment.  The investigator(s) shall conduct a thorough, prompt, and impartial investigation of the complaint, and review all factual information gathered through the investigation to determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment or other unlawful conduct.  The investigator will be adequately trained on the definition of sexual harassment, and the District’s grievance procedures.  The investigator may not have any conflicts of interest and must investigate impartially.

The District must investigate complaints involving all academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs of the District, whether those programs take place in District facilities, on a District bus, or at a class or training program sponsored by the District at another location.  The District is not obligated to respond or investigate allegations that occurred off-campus unless the location is in use by a student organization officially recognized by the institution or by an education program or activity of the school.

The investigator will:

  • Conduct interviews with the following individuals:  the complainant, the respondent, witnesses;
  • Identify witnesses and evidence
  • Consider whether any individual should be removed from the campus pending the investigation
  • Review personnel and academic files of all parties involved
  • Provide findings in a written report that includes all of the following:
    • Description of the facts giving rise to the Formal Complaint
    • Summary of witness testimony
    • Analysis of relevant evidence
    • Finding that there is enough to believe that sexual misconduct occurred with respect to each allegation in the complaint
  • Remind all individuals of the District’s “No retaliation policy”

 

The investigator shall complete the above steps within 90 days of the Title IX Coordinator receiving the complaint.  The investigator shall conduct and complete the investigation with or without the cooperation of the alleged victim(s).  The written report must be provided to both parties with 10 days to review and respond prior to its completion.

There can be no order restricting either party from the discussion of allegations or the gathering of evidence.  Both parties must receive written notification of the investigation, potential violations, all allegations, interviews, changes or modifications to the process, meetings, hearings, appeals, and decisions.

 

Dismissal

The Title IX team must dismiss the formal complaint if (1) the allegations do not fall under the definition of sexual harassment, (2) the conduct occurred outside of a program or activity, or (3) the conduct occurred against a person outside of the United States. 

The Title IX team may dismiss a complaint if (1) the complainant requests its dismissal, (2) the respondent is not enrolled or employed at the school, or (3) circumstances outside of the District’s control prohibit the gathering of sufficient evidence.

If it is determined that dismissal is appropriate, the Title IX team must promptly provide written notice of the dismissal and the rationale behind the decision to all parties.

 

Live Hearing Process

Once the investigative report is completed and it is determined that there is enough to believe sexual misconduct occurred, a live hearing shall take place.  The Title IX team must provide each party with the expected date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearing(s), interview(s), or other meeting(s) with sufficient time for each party to prepare to participate.

If requested by either party, the live hearing may take place virtually with technology enabling all participants to see and hear each other simultaneously.  The hearing officer must be adequately trained in such technology and a record or transcript must be created and made available to all parties.

At the live hearing, the hearing officer must permit each party’s advisor, not the respondent or the complainant directly, to ask the opposing side and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions.  Questions regarding an individual’s prior sexual behavior or predisposition are not relevant unless offered to prove someone else committed the conduct.  Before the witness, respondent, or complainant may answer a cross-examination question or follow-up question, the hearing officer must determine if said question is relevant. If the hearing officer determines that a question is not relevant, he/she/they must explain the rationale behind such decision.  If either party does not have an advisor present, the school must provide him/her/they with an advisor of his/her/their choice without fee or charge.  Failure of a party to submit to cross-examination limits the evidence the hearing officer may take into account when coming to a decision on the formal complaint.  For example, if a witness or party does not submit to cross-examination, the hearing officer must not rely on any statements made by the witness or party to reach a decision.  However, a hearing officer may not draw any inferences from a party or witness failing to submit to cross-examination.

At the conclusion of the live hearing, the hearing officer must determine responsibility within a reasonably prompt period not to exceed 30 days.  The hearing officer must be trained on weighing evidence, ruling on issues or relevance, and applying the preponderance of the evidence standard.  The hearing officer must submit a written determination regarding responsibility and provide it to each party.

The written determination must include:

  • Each allegation listed in the formal complaint
  • A description of the grievance process that was conducted
  • Findings of fact
  • Conclusions
  • Rationale for such conclusions
  • Statement of results to each allegation
  • Disciplinary sanctions
  • Remedies
  • Procedures and basis for an appeal by either party

 

Remedial Measures & Disciplinary Action

If the hearing officer finds a Title IX violation has occurred, the District shall take action against the respondent.  Such action shall be prompt, effective, and commensurate with the severity of the offense.  Remedial measures must be reasonably calculated to stop the prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and protect the complainant.

These measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing an escort to ensure safety
  • Ensuring the complainant and respondent do not have class together or work in the same area
  • Providing a no-contact order
  • Providing counseling services
  • Providing medical services
  • Providing academic support services
  • Removing the respondent from campus
  • Arranging for the complainant to retake a course or withdraw without penalty

 

Appeals

Both parties have an equal opportunity to appeal the written determination by the hearing officer within 15 days of receiving the written determination.  Appeals shall be filed with the District’s Superintendent/President (“appeal decisionmaker”).  When an appeal is filed, the appeal decisionmaker or designee shall notify all parties.  The appeal decisionmaker, who is not the same individual as the hearing officer, Title IX Coordinator, or investigator, shall determine if the appeal is appropriate.

An appeal is appropriate if it is based on (1) a procedural irregularity that affects the outcome of the formal complaint, (2) any new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the written determination was submitted, or (3) there was a conflict of interest or bias affecting the outcome of the formal complaint.  The appeal decision maker shall then review the original complaint, investigative report, written determination, and appeal. 

Each party must be given a reasonable and equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support or challenging the outcome by the hearing officer.  The appeal decision maker must issue a written decision with the result of the appeal and the rationale behind such result within 45 days of receiving the appeal.  The written decision must be issued to both parties simultaneously.

 

Employee Discipline

Once there is a decision by the hearing officer and any pending appeal with regard to an employee’s misconduct, the recommended sanction shall be sent to the District’s Human Resources.  Human Resources will then proceed with the appropriate discipline process as outlined by the Education Code, Board Policies, and/or respective collective bargaining agreement.

 

Third Parties

If a third party, such as an opposing sports team member, coach, or other individual who is not an employee or student of the school but is participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the school, files a formal complaint with the recipient school, the Title IX team must promptly respond to the complainant.

The prompt response shall include informing the third party complainant of the following:

  • The ability to file a complaint with local law enforcement or the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights;
  • The formal and informal grievance processes; and
  • Supportive measures 


If the third party is the respondent to a sexual harassment complaint under Title IX, the third party shall be given the same written notice under the formal grievance process if the third party was participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the school.  In these regulations, “program or activity” includes all operations of the postsecondary institution.

 

Limited Extension of Time frames

Either party may request a temporary delay or limited extension of time frames in the grievance process for good cause with written notice to both parties of the delay or extension and the reasons for such action.  Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.  The Title IX team will determine if good cause exists.

 

Supportive Measures

Upon receipt of a formal or informal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must promptly contact the complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures.  Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered without fee or charge to the complainant or respondent with or without the filing of a formal complaint.  The implementation of supportive measures is the responsibility of the Title IX Coordinator.

Such supportive measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Counseling;
  • Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of campus;
  • Implementation of self-defense classes;
  • Extension of deadlines or other course-related adjustments;
  • Modifications of work or class schedules and locations;
  • Campus escort services;
  • Mutual restrictions on contact between complainant and respondent;
  • Leaves of absence; or
  • Other similar measures

 

Retaliation

Retaliation includes any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in such protected activity.  Protected activity includes reporting or disclosing any sexual misconduct and/or participation in the Title IX grievance process provided.  Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse actions related to employment or education.

The District or any school within it may not intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for purposes of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or because such individual has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any investigation, hearing, etc.  Any complaints of retaliation must be filed with the Title IX Coordinator.  Exercising an individual’s right under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.  Charging an individual with a violation of the code of conduct does not constitute retaliation unless the violation is based on the same facts in the formal complaint and is used to interfere with the party’s Title IX rights.

 

Privileged or Confidential Reporting

A responsible employee of the District must report sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.  Responsible employees include all employees of the District who (1) have a duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct and (2) that a student/employee reasonably believes has the duty listed above with the exclusion of professionally licensed medical counselors.

 

Emergency Removal

The District may remove the respondent from the school’s educational program or activity on an emergency basis.  The District must undertake an individualized safety and risk analysis, determine that an immediate threat to the physical health and safety of any student or other individual justifies removal, and provide the respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision.

 

Recordkeeping

The District will retain on file for a period of at least 3 years after the conclusion of a case copies of:

  • The written investigative report
  • A summary of the report
  • The notice provided to the complainant of the determination and right to appeal
  • Any appeals
  • The final decision 


The District must maintain for a period of at least 7 years records of:

  • Each sexual harassment investigation
  • Any appeals
  • Any informal resolution and the results of such
  • All materials used to train the Title IX team

 

Reporting an Incident to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, you may either fill out this form or submit a signed letter via email or postal address as listed below.

If you choose to submit your own letter, you must include the following information:

  • The complainant’s name, address and, if possible (although not required), a telephone number where the complainant may be reached during business hours;
  • Information about the person(s) or class of persons injured by the alleged discriminatory act(s) (names of the injured person(s) are not required);
  • The name and location (city and state) of the institution that committed the alleged discriminatory act(s); and
  • A description of the alleged discriminatory act(s) in sufficient detail to enable OCR to understand what occurred, when it occurred, and the basis for the alleged discrimination.


Mail to:

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100

or
Email to:

OCR@ed.gov

You can also find more information for U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights website regarding the procedure.