Discriminatory Harassment Hearing Board (DHHB) Procedures

Procedures for Review By the DHHB

  1. Jurisdiction

The DHHB generally conducts reviews of investigatory findings in complaints of alleged discriminatory harassment (based on the Nondiscrimination, Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy (“Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct 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, and the matter has been referred to DHHB by the Title IX Coordinator for handling under these procedures.  Generally:

□ complaints that are primarily complaints of Sexual Misconduct involving students under the University’s Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy (“Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy”), which includes sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship violence as stalking, are handled in accordance with that policy.

□ when the party charging discriminatory harassment or the party charged with discriminatory harassment is a student, the provisions of the Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy will apply, including possible referral to these procedures.

□ when the party charged with discriminatory harassment is a staff member (exempt or non-exempt, with or without bargaining unit representation), complaints will be handled under the Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy unless referred for review by the Title IX Coordinator under these procedures.

□ when the party charged with discriminatory harassment is not an active community member, complaints will be handled under the Discrimination and  Sexual Misconduct policy unless referred for review by the Title IX Coordinator under the procedures.

Students may report complaints alleging discriminatory harassment, other than Sexual Misconduct , to any Responsible Administrator identified in the Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy [link to Responsible Administrator section] or may speak to their academic advisor, chairperson of the Department, or any staff member in student life, the Associate Dean of Student Life or the Chair of the DHHB, for guidance on how to proceed.

Staff and Faculty may report complaints of discriminatory harassment, other than Sexual Misconduct to any Responsible Administrator identified in the Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy [link] or may speak with their supervisor, the Director of Campus Safety, the Director of Human Resources for Employee Relations, or the Chair of the DHHB, for guidance on how to proceed.  (For information regarding Sexual Misconduct complaints, see the Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy.)

Students, staff and faculty may also consult on a confidential basis with any of the Confidential Resources identified in the Sexual Misconduct policy.

If a discriminatory harassment matter is referred to the DHHB, the Chairperson will first determine whether the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the DHHB.  If the Chair of the DHHB determines that the matter does not fall within the jurisdiction of the DHHB, the Chair will return the matter to the Title IX Coordinator.  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 an investigation to warrant submission to the DHHB review process.  (In no case will a timely complaint covering a matter within the DHHB’s jurisdiction be dismissed by the Chair of the DHHB without review by the DHHB unless the complaint is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence, although a referral may be made to the DHHB even if, at that stage, it is supported by less than a preponderance of the evidence.)  The investigation will be conducted by University staff (or in appropriate cases, external investigators, or both) appointed by the Vice President, Community and Employee Relations.  The complainant and the accused will be given an equal opportunity to separately present information in the context of the investigation and may utilize an advisor.  The advisor’s role is to consult with and support the party and the advisor may not do so in any way which disrupts or distracts from the investigation.  The advisor is not permitted to speak or otherwise make any direct statements to the investigator during such meetings.  The complainant or party charged wishing to be heard must speak on his or her own behalf.  An advisor who does not abide by this role may be precluded from further participation in investigatory meetings.  Unless otherwise required by law, the advisor must be a non-lawyer, active member of the University community.

An investigation usually involves interviews of witnesses and reviewing relevant documentation.  The Chair’s  determination will normally be made within 7 days of receipt of the investigation results by the Chairperson.  (If necessary, the Chairperson may seek additional information from the investigator(s), complainant, person charged or any third person prior to making this determination.  In that case, referral to the DHHB may be delayed beyond the 7 days.  The parties will be advised of any delay.) 

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 for handling to those procedures.

At any time prior to the actual submission to the DHHB for review, 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.  Either party may choose to terminate informal processing at any time.

If the Chair of the DHHB decides to refer the matter to a DHHB panel for review, s/he will forward to the panel any investigatory report.  If necessary, the panel may seek additional information from the investigator(s), complainant, person charged or any third person prior to issuing its own report.  Its report will contain 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.

Complaints finally reviewed 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.

CONTACT:

Vice President and Dean of Student Life Joe Tolliver, 229-5311, Sullivan Student Center,  jtolliver@stlawu.edu

Associate Dean of Student Life Rance Davis, 229-5551, Sullivan Student Center,  rdavis@stlawu.edu

Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Valerie Lehr, 229-5993, Vilas 103,  vlehr@stlawu.edu

Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Alison Del Rossi, 229-5993, Vilas 103, adelrossi@stlawu.edu

Vice President of Community and Employee Relations Lisa Cania, Vilas 114, 229-5656, lcania@stlawu.edu

Director of Human Resources for Employee Relations Colleen Manley, 229-5988, Vilas G2, cmanley@stlawu.edu

Director of Security and Safety Patrick Gagnon, 229-5555, Torrey Health Center, pgagnon@stlawu.edu

b) Timeliness and Scheduling

In most circumstances a complaint will be considered timely if it has been made 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 its review as soon as practicable after receipt of the investigators’ report from the Chairperson, normally within 14 calendar days.

  1. DHHB MEMBERSHIP:

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.

  1. REVIEW PROCEDURES:

At least two members of the DHHB will serve with the Chairperson of the DHHB (or designee) as the Review Panel for each individual complaint; each Review Panel will, normally,  include at least one faculty member and one staff member.  Each Review Panel will select one member to serve as Chairperson of the Panel. Each Review Panel 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 "Review Panel" is used it refers to the specific body selected to review a complaint.

The Review Panel may speak directly with the investigator(s), with any party or witness, or direct the investigator(s) to obtain additional information.  Upon completing its review of the investigators’ report, the Review Panel makes recommendations based upon a preponderance of information presented.

The Chair of the DHHB and/or the Review Panel 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 investigatory meetings or meetings with the Review Panel 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) unless otherwise required by law.  In all cases, the Advisor’s role is to consult with and support the party and he/she may not do so in any way which disrupts or distracts from the proceedings.  The Advisor is not permitted to speak or otherwise make any direct statements to the investigator(s) and/or DHHB.  Each party who wishes to be heard must speak on his/her own behalf.   An advisor who does abide by the role may be precluded from further participation in meetings.

b)         the right to provide a personal statement of events.

c)         the right to ask that witnesses be interviewed during the investigation to provide relevant information.  However, the investigators 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 Review Panel and is replaced by another member.

f)         the right to decline to answer a question. However, the investigation and review process proceeds based on the information provided.

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 investigatory meetings or meetings with the Review Panel 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) unless otherwise required by law.  In all cases, the Advisor’s role is to consult with and support the party and he/she may not do so in any way which disrupts or distracts from the proceedings.  The Advisor is not permitted to speak or otherwise make any direct statements to the investigator(s) and/or DHHB.  Each party who wishes to be heard must speak on his/her own behalf.   An advisor who does abide by the role may be precluded from further participation in meetings.

c)         the right to provide a personal statement of events.

d)         the right to ask that witnesses be interviewed during the investigation to provide relevant information. However, the investigators 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 Review Panel and is replaced by another member.

g)         the right to decline to answer a question. However, the investigation and review process proceeds based on the information provided.

f) Retaliation

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 Review Panel 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 under these procedures of the DHHB is prohibited. Any such retaliatory action can be the basis for a separate complaint.  The University will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but will take strong responsive action if retaliation occurs.

SUMMARY:

After having reviewed the investigatory report, and prior to rendering its final decision, a summary of information received by the Review Panel which it considers relevant will be provided to each party by the facilitator for the Review Panel for the specific complaint, together with the written personal statement (if any) of each party appended.  Each party to the complaint will then have 72 hours in which to respond, either in writing or in person, as determined by the Review Panel.  In the course of this process, the identification of witnesses may be kept confidential, as determined by the investigatory/Review Panel, unless such identification is reasonably necessary to a party's ability to respond.

REPORT:

The Review Panel 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 review process. The Review Panel's report should identify the complaint, the parties involved, and present the Panel's recommendation(s), with rationale. The Vice President is free to discuss the written report with the Facilitator and/or any or all members of the Review Panel for the complaint, or the investigator(s). Within a reasonable time, normally within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the report, the Vice President, taking the report of the Review Panel into consideration, will make a decision and convey that decision in writing, with rationale, to the complainant and the party charged, with a copy to the Facilitator for the Review Panel 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 Review Panel report may proceed as described, with the unacceptable conduct and relevant policies identified for action by the supervising Vice President.

APPEAL:

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 within 14 calendar days of the appealing party’s receipt of the Vice President’s decision.  The Vice President for Community and Employee Relations shall, in the case of staff, appoint a disinterested Vice President to hear the appeal, and in the case of faculty or students, shall appoint the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs.  Reasons for an appeal are limited to: improper procedures, new information not reasonably available to a party at the time a matter was being considered by the Review Panel, or unreasonable penalties. The Vice President does not rehear DHHB complaints but ensures 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 Review Panel’s report and hear any appeal.

FURTHER ISSUES:

  • 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 Review Panel 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 Review Panel (including investigatory information) will be kept in the Office of Human Resources for at least three years.
  • Failure to cooperate with requests of the DHHB or a Review Panel or directives of the chairperson 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 Review Panel in its hearing of any complaint.
  • 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 Review Panel, by a majority vote of the available members of that Review Panel.
  • 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), are requested to not publicly discuss these proceedings. 

[1] 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.

[2]  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.

Effective October 1, 2014