HEARING BOARD FOR COMPLAINTS OF DISCRIMINATORY HARASSMENT (DHHB)
Discriminatory Harassment Policy
It is the policy of St. Lawrence University that all our employees and students should be able to enjoy a work and educational environment free from all forms of discrimination and discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment. St. Lawrence University provides for the development of a climate of tolerance and pluralism and prohibits expressive behavior which is demeaning, intimidating or hostile, communicated verbally, physically or with other communication device, including telephonic or electronic means. It is expressly against University policy for any employee or student to engage in discriminatory harassment which is defined as any demeaning, intimidating or hostile verbal, physical or symbolic behavior that is based on race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender, national origin, marital or veteran’s status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other category protected by law or regulation, and has the effect of interfering with a reasonable person'sacademic or work performance or of creating, as experienced by a reasonable person, an intimidating or hostile workplace or educational situation or environment. Such behaviors include, but are not limited to, the use of slurs, epithets, gestures, demeaning jokes or derogatory stereotypes.
Sexual harassment is one form of discriminatory harassment, and is covered by this policy. It is expressly against University policy for any employee or student to engage in sexual harassment. A charged atmosphere is often involved in instances of sexual harassment, which is defined as any unwelcome sexual advancement, request for sexual favors, or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when:
1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education; or
2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.
No forms of discriminatory harassment of students or employees will be tolerated. Any employee or student violating this policy will be subject to disciplinary action for violation of this policy, up to and including termination or expulsion.
Discrimination and harassment may be found to be illegal under both state and federal law. In some cases, it may be susceptible to prosecution under criminal sexual law. This policy is not intended to proscribe, and should not limit free discussion of, the merits of any issue relating to ethnic, racial, religious or other multicultural difference or open inquiry into any material or issue relevant to the academic content of a course. Not all offensive conduct or language that might be derogatory concerning an individual or group necessarily constitutes discriminatory harassment. Whether a specific act does in fact constitute discriminatory harassment must be determined on a case-by-case basis in light of all relevant circumstances.
If you believe you have experienced or are experiencing discriminatory harassment, talk to the person or persons who may be responsible for the problem. If that is not possible, you are not comfortable doing so or it doesn't work, speak to someone for help or advice. Any St. Lawrence University employee having a complaint of harassment is urged to notify his or her immediate supervisor at once. If the complaint is against the immediate supervisor, or if the complainant for any other reason is not comfortable with or is unable to contact his or her supervisor, the Director of Human Resources for Employee Relations Colleen Manley, or the Director of Security & Safety Patrick Gagnon may be contacted. If you are a student you may speak to your academic advisor, the chairperson of the department, any staff member in student life, particularly residential learning, security, counseling, or the Associate Dean of Student Life. Anyone who receives a complaint should contact Lisa Cania, Community and Employee Relations; Colleen Manley, Human Resources; or the vice president or dean of the area involved (academic affairs, admissions and financial aid business and finance, communications, community and employee relations, information technology, student life, university advancement).
Formal complaints of alleged discriminatory harassment may be heard by the Discriminatory Harassment Hearing Board. For further information contact St. Lawrence University's Vice President for Community and Employee Relations Lisa Cania, Vilas Hall, St.Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617, 315-229-5567, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retaliatory action of any kind (such as, but not exclusive to, adverse action regarding employment or student status, adverse decisions related to salary, job duties and assignments or student assignments, or adverse action taken in connection with an opportunity for advancement for an employee or student), taken by any employee (including faculty, department heads, supervisors, and co-workers) or student of the University, or by any other person, against any other employee, student, or other person as a result of that person's seeking redress through an appropriate means, including under the procedures of the DHHB, cooperating in any appropriate inquiry in the matter, or otherwise participating in any proceedings under the procedures of the DHHB or appropriate University body , is prohibited. Any such retaliatory action can be the basis for a separate complaint.
Any person may also contact appropriate outside authorities to file complaints. A complaining individual may choose to forego internal review if he or she opts for external agency procedures.
DISCRIMINATORY HARASSMENT HEARING BOARD
The DHHB conducts hearings in complaints of alleged discriminatory harassment (based on the Discriminatory Harassment Policy found at http://www.stlawu.edu/university-policies-and-procedures where the complainant is a member of the St. Lawrence University community as an active student, active faculty member, or an active member of staff. Notwithstanding the foregoing:
□ complaints that are primarily complaints of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, as determined by the Associate Dean of Student Life, where the two parties are students will be investigated by and as appropriate referred to the Special Hearing Board;
□ when the party charged is a staff member (exempt or non-exempt, with or without bargaining unit representation), complaints will be investigated and handled by the Human Resources Office (consistent with the obligations of any applicable bargaining unit agreement) and/or the office of the Vice President with oversight of the area in which the charged party works, with the option of either office sending the complaint to the DHHB;
□ when the party charged is not an active community member, complaints will be investigated and handled by the Director of Security and Safety, in consultation with the Vice President for Community and Employee Relations. In circumstances where considered appropriate by the Vice President for Community and Employee Relations, such cases may be referred to the DHHB.
Students may file complaints with the Director of Campus Safety, the Associate Dean of Student Life or the Chair of the DHHB. Staff and Faculty may file complaints with their supervisor, the Director of Campus Safety, the Director of Human Resources for Employee Relations, or the Chair of the DHHB. See contacts below.
Once a complaint has been made to a supervisor, Campus Safety, the Associate Dean, and/or Human Resources, it will be promptly investigated by University staff in a process supervised by the Vice President for Community and Employee Relations. Findings of the investigation will be reviewed by the Chairperson* of the DHHB. The Chairperson will first determine whether, based on the above, the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the DHHB. If it is determined that the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the DHHB, the Chairperson will then determine if there is a sufficient factual basis based on the investigation to warrant submission to the DHHB hearing process. This determination will normally be made within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the investigation results by the Chairperson. (If necessary, the Chairperson may seek additional information from the investigator, complainant, person charged or any third person prior to making this determination. In that case, referral to the DHHB may be delayed beyond the seven days.)
Even though falling within the DHHB’s jurisdiction, a complaint that is deemed to be more appropriately heard or processed under other existing procedures at the University based on all of the known facts and circumstances may be referred by the Chairperson of the DHHB to those procedures.
At any time prior to the actual submission to the hearing process, the Chairperson of the DHHB can explore an informal resolution to the complaint provided both the complaining party and the charged party agree to such a process. Informal resolution of complaints may not be appropriate in all cases (for example, those involving sexual assault). Either party may choose to terminate informal processing at any time.
Upon submission to the DHHB, it makes appropriate recommendations, up to and including expulsion and/or termination, based upon a preponderance of information presented to it.
Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent practicable. However, a request by a complaining party that the University limit its disclosure of information may impair its ability to most effectively respond. The University will nonetheless take reasonable steps to investigate and respond as best it can.
In instances in which the Chairperson is aware of information which would support a complaint, but an individual complainant is unwilling or unavailable to proceed, the Chairperson may elect to proceed with a complaint in his/her own name.
Complaints heard by the DHHB cannot be re-heard or simultaneously heard by other university committees or hearing bodies. When complaints of discriminatory harassment are being heard or investigated as possible violations of federal, state or local laws or regulations the DHHB may decide to temporarily postpone hearings on the complaint(s) as appropriate, but such external proceedings are not a substitute for proceedings under these procedures.
Any member of the St. Lawrence Community may contact the DHHB via:
Vice President and Dean of Student Life Joe Tolliver, 229-5311, Sullivan Student Center, email@example.com
Associate Dean of Student Life Rance Davis, 229-5551, Sullivan Student Center, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Valerie Lehr, 229-5993, Vilas 103, email@example.com
Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Alison Del Rossi, 229-5993, Vilas 103, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President of Community and Employee Relations Lisa Cania, Vilas 114, 229-5656, email@example.com
Director of Human Resources for Employee Relations Colleen Manley, 229-5988, Vilas G2, firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Security and Safety Patrick Gagnon, 229-5555, Torrey Health Center, email@example.com
TIMELINESS AND SCHEDULING:
In most circumstances a complaint will be considered timely if it has been filed within six months of the alleged misconduct or the cessation of the alleged misconduct, whichever is later. In unusual circumstances (including a complaint filed after a student, faculty member, or staff member has separated from the University but which involves conduct occurring while an active student, faculty or staff member) the Chairperson of the DHHB may proceed with a complaint filed beyond the six month period. The DHHB conducts hearings as soon as practicable after receipt of the complaint from the Chairperson, normally within 14 calendar days. Hearings are scheduled as determined by the reasonable availability of the parties involved, witnesses, members of the DHHB and the chairperson of the DHHB.
The DHHB consists of nine active members of the St. Lawrence University community: five faculty members, three exempt and one non-union hourly staff member. The nine members will meet annually to select a chairperson for the DHHB who will oversee all administrative and procedural requirements.
Faculty Council and the VP, C&ER collaborate in identifying faculty and staff interested in membership on the DHHB. Membership requires:
1) A commitment to and sincere interest in the issues of creating an SLU community committed to diversity, and hence willing, through mechanisms such as the DHHB, to respond to instances of discrimination;
2) A willingness to participate in training on both hearing procedures and multicultural sensitivity;
3) A willingness to serve a five-year term, unless unforeseen circumstances intervene, to allow for thorough training for fair processes.
The recommendations for membership are forwarded to the President, who consults with Senior Staff, for approval.
A Facilitator for the DHHB will be chosen by the Chairperson of the DHHB from active faculty and staff members of the SLU community, but most commonly will be the Vice President for Community and Employee Relations. The Facilitator will assist the Chairperson in the performance of administrative duties. The Facilitator will attend all meetings (including hearings) of the DHHB as a non-voting member.
At least three members of the DHHB will serve with the Chairperson of the DHHB (or designee) as the Hearing Board for each individual complaint; each Hearing Board will, normally, include at least one faculty member and one staff member. Each Hearing Board will select one member to serve as Chairperson of the Hearing Board. Each Hearing Board will also be assisted by the Facilitator.
NOTE: The full Discriminatory Harassment Hearing Board, with or without all members in attendance, is referred to as "DHHB." When "Hearing Board" is used it refers to the specific body selected to hear a complaint.
The Hearing Board may call witnesses and seek other information (each party may request that specified witnesses be called or information sought, but the final decision to do so rests with the Hearing Board) and makes recommendations based upon a preponderance of information presented. The Hearing Board may request that witnesses appear to provide information. Failure to appear or to cooperate with the Hearing Board can result in the imposition of discipline by the Hearing Board. Specific hearing procedures (e.g., order of witnesses, number of witnesses, acceptable form of evidence, limitations on evidence presented, etc.) shall be determined by the Hearing Board in each case.
The Chair of the DHHB and/or the Hearing Board may seek assistance from the University’s counsel as needed.
A complainant has:
a) the right to have an active St. Lawrence University student, staff, or faculty member accompany him/her throughout the hearing for support and as an advisor. The complainant is not entitled to be accompanied or represented by an attorney-at-law or a non-community member (i.e. not an active member of SLU community) at the hearings or meetings with the DHHB or Hearing Board chairperson and/or facilitator in preparation for the hearings.
b) the right to provide a personal statement of events.
c) the right to ask that witnesses be called by the Hearing Board to provide relevant information. However, the Hearing Board may establish a reasonable limit on the number of witnesses and also place reasonable restrictions on the introduction of any proffered information.proffered information.
d) the right to appeal.
e) the right to identify one member of the DHHB, without cause, who is asked to recuse himself/herself from consideration for serving on the Hearing Board and is replaced by another member.
f) the right to decline to answer a question. However, the Hearing Board proceeds based on the information provided. Failure to cooperate with the Hearing Board may be considered by the Hearing Board in its hearing of the complaint.
The party charged has:
a) the right to be informed of the charges in writing, the time and place of the offense and his or her accuser.
b) the right to have an active St. Lawrence University student, staff, or faculty member accompany him/her throughout the hearing for support and as an advisor. The complainant is not entitled to be accompanied or represented by an attorney-at-law or a non-community member (i.e. not an active member of SLU community) at the hearings or meetings with the DHHB or Hearing Board chairperson and/or facilitator in preparation for the hearings.
c) the right to provide a personal statement of events.
d) the right to ask that witnesses be called by the Hearing Board to provide relevant information. However, the Hearing Board may establish a reasonable limit on the number of witnesses and also place reasonable restrictions on the introduction of any proffered information.
e) the right to appeal.
f) the right to identify one member of the DHHB, without cause, who is asked to recuse himself/herself from consideration for serving on the Hearing Board and is replaced by another member.
g) the right to decline to answer a question. However, the Hearing Board proceeds based on the information provided. Failure to cooperate with the Hearing Board may be considered by the Hearing Board in its hearing of the complaint.
No party to the complaint or person or persons acting on his/her behalf can retaliate against the other party or persons acting on behalf of that party. Such retaliation can be considered by the Hearing Board or the DHHB in its deliberations. Retaliatory action of any kind (such as, but not exclusive to adverse action vis-a-vis standing in employment or student status, adverse decisions related to salary, job duties or assignments or student assignments, or adverse action taken in connection with an opportunity for advancement for an employee or student) taken by any employee (including faculty, department heads, supervisors, managers, and co-workers) or student against any other person as a result of that person seeking redress under the procedures of the DHHB, cooperating in any inquiry of the DHHB, or otherwise participating in any proceedings or hearings under the procedures of the DHHB is prohibited. Any such retaliatory action can be the basis for a separate complaint.
After having heard from each party and relevant witnesses as determined by the Hearing Board, and prior to rendering its final decision, a summary of information received by the Hearing Board which it considers relevant will be provided to each party by the facilitator for the Hearing Board for the specific complaint, together with the written personal statement (if any) of each party appended. Each party to the complaint will then have a final opportunity to respond, either in writing or in person, as determined by the Hearing Board. In the course of this process, the identification of witnesses may be kept confidential, as determined by the Hearing Board, unless such identification is reasonably necessary to a party's ability to respond.
The Hearing Board will issue a written report to the Vice President of the division of the party charged (except that in the case of faculty, it will go to the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs) and to each of the parties to the complaint within, normally, 14 calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing process. The Hearing Board's report should identify the complaint, the parties involved, and present the Hearing Board's recommendation(s), with rationale. The Vice President is free to discuss the written report with the Facilitator and/or the Hearing Board for the complaint. Within a reasonable time, normally within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the report, the Vice President, taking the report of the Hearing Board into consideration, will make a decision and convey that decision in writing to the complainant and the party charged, with a copy to the Facilitator for the Hearing Board for the complaint.
In instances where the alleged incident(s) are found to be in violation (in whole or in part) of University Policies other than the Discriminatory Harassment Policy, the Hearing Board report may proceed as described, with the unacceptable conduct and relevant policies identified for action by the supervising Vice President.
An impartial appeal of the decision rendered by the Vice President may be made by either the complainant or the charged party in writing to the Vice President for Community and Employee Relations (in the case of staff) or the Vice President of the University/Dean of Academic Affairs (in the case of faculty) within 14 calendar days of the appealing party’s receipt of the Vice President’s decision. Reasons for an appeal are: improper procedures, new information not reasonably available to a party at the time a matter was being considered by the Hearing Board, or unreasonable penalties. The Vice President does not rehear DHHB complaints but ensure that the rights of both parties are protected, appropriate procedures are followed, and penalties are reasonable. Within a reasonable time, normally within 14 calendar days, the Vice President will render a written decision on the appeal which will be provided to both parties.
In cases where a Vice President who otherwise would participate in this process is a party to the Complaint, the President will appoint an appropriate substitute for this process. In cases where the President is a party to the complaint, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees will appoint appropriate personnel to receive the Hearing Board’s report and hear any appeal.
- Students, faculty, or staff who violate sanctions imposed under the Discriminatory Harassment Policy shall be subject to further disciplinary action up to and including termination from the University as determined by the President, or his/her designee.
- No meeting of the DHHB or any Hearing Boards of the DHHB on a complaint shall be recorded in any way other than the individual notes taken by those present.
- All records and relevant files of the DHHB and Hearing Boards of the DHHB will be kept in the Office of Human Resources for at least three years.
- Failure to cooperate with requests of the DHHB or a Hearing Board of the DHHB or directives of the chairperson of the DHHB or a Hearing Board of the DHHB by either party or persons acting on a party's behalf may be dealt with by appropriate disciplinary action and may be considered by the DHHB or Hearing Board in its hearing of any complaint.
- Complaints that cannot be reasonably heard in Canton, N.Y., will be dealt with based on a recommendation of the majority of the available DHHB members.
- Issues and questions that are not specifically addressed in the above are resolved by a majority vote of the available members [those who are available for consultation within a reasonable time] of the DHHB or, in connection with a specific matter arising before a Hearing Board, by a majority vote of the available members of that Hearing Board.
- Proceedings of the DHHB shall be kept confidential to the extent practicable and participants in the process (whether as parties, witnesses or members of the DHHB), should not publicly discuss these proceedings.
 With respect to any given matter/issue, the Chairperson, in his/her discretion, may appoint a member of the DHHB to serve as his/her "designee." Any authority vested in the Chairperson under these procedures is also vested in his/her designee.
 If the Vice President for Community and Employee Relations is the Vice President of the Division of the party charged, the appeal shall go to a person then designated by the President.
Revised: December 2012