ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY TYPE: STUDENTS
POLICY TITLE: Discrimination Grievance Procedure (Students)
- Policy Statement
Fox Valley Technical College will provide equal opportunity in educational programs and services to all persons regardless of age, race, color, creed, religion, disability, marital status, parental status, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, or pregnancy unless such status relates to a bona fide academic qualification. Services, financial aid, and other benefits of this College are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis.
The college seeks continuous compliance with all applicable state and federal antidiscrimination laws, including but not limited to, Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Carl D. Perkins of Vocational Education Act, the Guides of the Civil Rights Office for the Elimination of the Discrimination and Refusal of Services in Vocational Programs, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, 38.23, Wis. Stats., other laws, executive orders and/or administrative directives and applicable codes.
Discrimination shall mean unequal treatment in any service, program, course, activity, or facility at Fox Valley Technical College based upon a student’s protected status as defined by law.
Harassment is a form of discrimination and includes verbal or physical conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic environment, which substantially interferes with an individual’s academic performance or substantially and adversely affects an individual’s academic progress. Harassment includes unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe enough to interfere substantially with an individual’s academic progress or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic environment. This definition also applies when:
Complainant is an individual who is currently enrolled, is currently seeking access to an educational service, program, course or facility at the college, or who has been enrolled or who has sought access to an education service, program, course or facility at the college within the last 300 calendar days who alleges discrimination based on a protected status or prohibited harassment as set forth above.
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s status as a student, or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic decisions affecting the individual.
Assurance of Nonretaliation
Retaliatory action against anyone filing a complaint of any type of discrimination or harassment or anyone who participates in the investigation of a complaint is strictly prohibited. The complainant, any person who participates in the investigation of a complaint, and the accused will be advised of the District’s policy in this regard when a complaint has been filed. Retaliation is itself a form of misconduct that may form the basis for disciplinary actions. Any complaints of retaliation, on any basis, should be referred immediately to the Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator.
Confidentiality is critical to the grievance procedure. A complaint, in and of itself, is not evidence of inappropriate behavior. We respect the privacy of all persons involved in the complaint – the complainant, a person accused of engaging in the prohibited conduct, witnesses, and others as deemed necessary. These individuals shall maintain confidentiality and not discuss any part of the complaint investigation, findings, or any action taken, except with those persons who have a legitimate need to know. The College shall maintain confidentiality to the extent allowed by law and to the extent necessary to conduct a thorough and efficient investigation of the complaint.
The Discrimination Grievance Procedure is designed to comply with any applicable federal regulations which require federal grantees to adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student complaints, alleging discrimination. It is also designed to comply with State of Wisconsin law prohibiting discrimination against students for the reasons set forth in Sec. 38.23 Wis. Stats.
The procedure consists of four (4) steps: 1) Intake; 2) Investigation; 3) Review and Findings; and 4) Appeal.
Step 1 – Intake
It is the primary responsibility of the Affirmative Action Officer to ensure the effective installation, maintenance, processing, timelines, recordkeeping, and notification required by the grievance procedure. The Affirmative Action Officer may assign the investigation to another individual at his/her discretion if such reassignment would further the purposes of this policy. The person (complainant) with a discrimination or a harassment complaint shall attempt to resolve the issue by informal discussion with the Instructor, Dean, or Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator as soon as possible after the known occurrence of the act or event. The full cooperation of the complainant is essential throughout the grievance procedure.
If the matter is not resolved through informal discussion, the complaint shall be presented in writing to the Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator within 300 calendar days after the known occurrence of the act or event. The complaint should include the name of the individual against whom the complaint is filed, and the specific nature of the alleged discrimination or harassment, the time, place, pertinent facts, and any other circumstances relating to the incident. The complainant must include his/her name, address, phone number, and signature. The complainant is requested to use the Allegation of Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form for the written complaint.
The complainant will be given a copy of the Discrimination Grievance Procedure.
Step 2 – Investigation
The Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator shall thoroughly investigate the complaint. If the subject of the complaint is the Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator, then the Affirmative Action Officer shall investigate the complaint. The steps in the investigation process will include, but not be limited to:
The Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator may involve other FVTC offices or staff as appropriate to complete a thorough investigation. Any individual (accused) specifically alleged to be responsible for the complaint of discrimination or harassment will be asked to respond to the complaint verbally and in writing. Any person with knowledge of the alleged action(s) is required to participate in any investigation as requested.
- Interview complainant to clarify allegation and receive written statement.
- Ask complainant for additional evidence, facts, and names of potential witnesses.
- Interview the accused and receive written statement.
- Interview witnesses, if any, and receive written statements.
- Review relevant documents.
- Develop and maintain file on all statements, reports, and evidence.
- Develop letter of findings.
The investigation will begin within ten (10) days of receipt of the written complaint and should, if practical, be concluded within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the complaint.
Step 3 – Review and FindingsOnce the investigation is completed, all information and evidence will be reviewed to determine whether there is a reasonable belief to conclude that the complainant has been subjected to discrimination or harassment, or if FVTC policies and procedures had been violated. When the review is completed, the findings resulting from the investigation will be communicated to the complainant and the accused within fifteen (15) days of conclusion of the investigation, unless after diligent attempts the parties are not available.
Fox Valley Technical College will take appropriate corrective action when it has been determined that a discrimination or harassment situation has occurred. Staff who have been found to be in violation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, pursuant to relevant policies and/or appropriate collective bargaining agreements. Students who have been found in violation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the college, pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Appeal Procedure.
Step 4 – Appeal StepsIf the complainant is dissatisfied with the written findings of the Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator, he/she may appeal the findings by giving written notice to the District President within fifteen (15) calendar days after receipt of the written findings. The President shall within fifteen (15) calendar days schedule a meeting with the complainant. The President shall within fifteen (15) calendar days after the meeting, send a written response to the complainant.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the response of the President, he/she may appeal the response by giving written notice to the Fox Valley Technical College Board of Trustees within fifteen (15) calendar days after receipt of the President’s decision.
Within sixty (60) calendar days after receiving an appeal, the Fox Valley Technical College Board of Trustees will review the allegations, the written findings, and the response of the President. The Board may interview the complainant, the accused and others, as deemed necessary.
The Board must take one of the following actions:
If the matter is remanded for review, the complainant may appeal any subsequent findings to the President and to the Board within the time frames mentioned above.
- Deny the appeal
- Overturn the response of the President
- Remand the matter for complete or partial review, citing specific issues to be considered
Once a final determination is made, the decision of the Board is
final and there shall be no further appeal of the matter internally.
Nothing in this grievance procedure shall preclude the complainant from seeking a remedy under state or federal law.
Allegation of Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form
- U.S. Department of Education – Office for Civil Rights
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- U.S. Department of Labor