Tompkins Cortland Community College

Departments

Harassment/Discrimination Procedure

An individual who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination, retaliation or harassment in violation of the College’s Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment may, but is not required to, attempt to informally correct the situation by directly approaching the person responsible in order to resolve the problem.  If the allegations include sexual violence, this approach is not desired or the individual feels uncomfortable following it, or if it is attempted and does not result in satisfaction, the incident should be reported promptly to one of the following intake specialists:

Sharon Dovi

Director of Human Resources,
Affirmative Action Officer, Senior Title IX Coordinator
Room 219
844-8222, ext. 4440

Carolyn Boone

Coordinator of Access and Equity Services,
Title IX Coordinator
Room 130
844-8222, ext. 4283

Darese Doskal

Director of Residence Life and Judicial Affairs,
Title IX Coordinator
Residence Life Office
844-8222, ext. 6591

Seth Thompson

Chief Diversity Officer
Director of Diversity Education & Support Services
Room 187
844-8222, ext. 4358

If the respondent* is a student, the matter will be referred to the Office of Residence Life and Judicial Affairs. The Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Procedure will be kept as confidential as possible. Information about the complaint and the complaint procedure will only be shared with those with a need to know.

*For purposes of this procedure complainant refers to the person making the complaint, the respondent is the person against whom the complaint is made. Days are calendar days.

In all proceedings, all parties are entitled to have a union representative, legal counsel or other support person present; however, their role is limited to observation and consultation. All statements or evidence shared with one party shall be made available to both parties.

Informal Complaint Procedure

informal complaint procedure flowchart

The Informal complaint procedure:

  • Provides for intake specialists to (1) furnish information, (2) receive complaints, and (3) attempt to resolve complaints in a mutually acceptable manner.
  • Results in a complete report, prepared by the intake specialist, at the completion of this step in the process.
  • Is designed to operate in an expeditious manner.

Allegations of sexual violence will not be processed through the informal complaint procedure and will be immediately referred to the Senior Title IX Coordinator for formal proceedings.

Complaint filing

To file a complaint, complainants will (1) contact an intake specialist as soon as possible following the incident and generally within 60 days following the last occurrence of the behavior that is the subject of the complaint, and (2) sign the completed Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Form.

Any member of the campus community may consult an intake specialist for advice, without obligation to file a written complaint.  If the potential complainant declines to participate in the completion of the Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form, the intake specialist may or may not proceed with the complaint process.

Informal Complaint processing

Within five days of the written complaint’s receipt, the intake specialist must report the source and substance of the complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer/Senior Title IX Coordinator and the respondent.  The report should be placed in the Discrimination and Harassment file in the Office of Human Resources.

The intake specialist will have 14 days from the complaint’s receipt to meet with the complainant, respondent, and other pertinent witnesses, and to conduct any such other or further investigation he/she deems required under certain circumstances. The intake specialist will attempt to achieve a fair and appropriate resolution of the complaint as expeditiously as possible.  Under unusual circumstances, the intake specialist may take an extension of up to 14 days.

Prior to completing the Informal Complaint Procedure, and upon the complainant’s or respondent’s request, or the intake specialist’s initiative,  if any of these parties believes no useful purpose is served by pursuing the Informal Complaint Procedure, the Formal Complaint Procedure may be initiated.  In such situations, the intake specialist will complete and submit his or her report as described in the Formal Complaint Process below.

Informal Complaint disposition

Within 14 days of the conclusion of the complaint processing period, the intake specialist must complete and submit a report on the status of the complaint.

If the complaint is resolved to the satisfaction of all pertinent parties, the intake specialist’s report must specify this resolution in appropriate detail.  The report also will include a written summary of the resolution, signed by all the pertinent parties (normally the complainant, respondent and Intake Specialist).  Reports of resolved complaints will usually be brief.  They are to be submitted to the complainant, respondent, and office of Human Resources and only to such other campus-level office agreed to in the solution.

Complaints not resolved informally

If the complaint remains unresolved, the intake specialist’s report must summarize the complainant’s allegations, the respondent’s replies, witness statements, problem-solving efforts and recommendations of the intake specialist. Such recommendations may include referral to the President for appropriate disciplinary actions or referral to the Formal Complaint Procedure.  Reports of unresolved complaints will be submitted to the complainant, the respondent, the office of Human Resources, and the Discrimination and Harassment Policy Complaint Hearing Panel when referred to them.

Formal Complaint Procedure

formal complaint procedure flowchart

The Formal Complaint Procedure:

  • Includes the filing of a formal complaint
  • Involves the appointment of a hearing panel
  • Calls for a formal investigation of all the elements of a complaint.
  • Is based on findings of fact relevant to each element of a complaint.

Formal Complaint initiation

If there is no mutually acceptable resolution of a complaint at the Informal Complaint Procedure, or upon the request of the complainant, respondent or intake specialist, the Formal Complaint Procedure will be initiated by filing the written complaint with the Affirmative Action Officer/Senior Title IX Coordinator. The Affirmative Action Office/Senior Title IX Coordinator will coordinate the forming of a three-person hearing panel (Panel).  The Panel will be composed of three trained members from the Discrimination and Harassment Policy Complaint Hearing Panel Pool (Pool). One member will be chosen by the complainant, one member will be chosen by the respondent and those two members will select a third member jointly. In the event that the selection of the three-person panel is not completed within 7 days after notification, the Affirmative Action Officer /Senior Title IX Coordinator will complete the selection process.

Formal Complaint processing

The hearing panel will conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation, and will meet with both the complainant and the respondent, interview pertinent witnesses and review relevant and material evidence as necessary on each element of the complaint.  The complaint investigation shall be completed within 30 days of the appointment of all three members of the hearing panel.

Formal Complaint disposition

The hearing panel will prepare a report at the conclusion of the investigation.  A draft version of the hearing panel’s findings of the fact portion of the report will be conveyed to the complainant and the respondent for comment before the final version of the report is completed.  The hearing panel will seek comments, supported by evidence, to address factual inaccuracies and misunderstandings only.  All parties will have 7 days to comment.

The hearing panel’s complete report must contain (1) the complainant’s allegations, (2) the respondent’s replies, (3) information provided by witnesses or documents including comments on the draft report, (4) a description of the investigation process, (5) the hearing panel’s analysis of evidence and findings of fact on each element of the complaint and (6) any recommendation(s) the hearing panel may consider pertinent to the disposition of the complaint. If the Panel members did not reach consensus, differing views will be included in the report.

The hearing panel’s findings of fact shall be based on the "preponderance of the evidence" standard.  A charge will be found unsupported unless a "preponderance of the evidence" supports a finding of the misconduct.  This "preponderance of the evidence" standard requires that the evidence supporting each finding is more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition to it.

If a preponderance of the evidence does not support the complaint, and if there is evidence that the complaint was filed without a reasonable basis in fact and honest belief, the hearing panel shall include that evidence in its report.  Such conduct could constitute a violation of this nondiscrimination policy and shall be reported to the President for appropriate action, including possible disciplinary action.

The hearing panel’s report will be submitted to the complainant, the respondent, Affirmative Action Officer/Senior Title IX Coordinator , and placed in a separate file in the Office of Human Resources.  The complainant and the respondent may respond in writing to the report; any such responses must be filed with the Affirmative Action Officer/Senior Title IX Coordinator within 7 days of the date of the hearing panel’s report. The Affirmative Action Officer/Senior Title IX Coordinator will promptly forward the full report to the President.

The President, in consultation with legal counsel and the Affirmative Action Officer/Senior Title IX Coordinator, will make his or her decision as to the disposition of the case as soon as possible, but no later than 7 days of the date of the hearing panel’s report.  This decision will be in writing and will include an explanation of the decision.  Copies of the decision will be sent to the complainant, the respondent, and the Office of the Provost.

Appeals

The College’s Affirmative Action Officer/Senior Title IX Coordinator will provide general information on the State and Federal guidelines and laws, as well as the names and addresses of various enforcement agencies.

Rev. 11/16