Policy 1437 - Procedures for Resolution of Sexual Harassment Complaints
Revision Date: 3/28/2014
Responsible Office: Student Affairs, Office of the President
Reference: University of Louisiana System, Policy M-(11)a, Board Rule Chapter 3, Section XIX
Louisiana Tech University has developed a two-step procedure for handling sexual harassment complaints:
A mechanism to resolve complaints informally;
A procedure to handle formal charges if the first procedure is unsuccessful or if further action is deemed appropriate.
Procedure for Resolving Complaints Informally:
Any employee or student who believes he/she has been the subject of sexual harassment, sexual intimidation, sexual violence, or discrimination is encouraged to consult with an appropriate University officer (e.g., Title IX Coordinator (See Policy 1445), unit head, director, department head, dean, appropriate vice president or human resource director) to gain an understanding of both the Louisiana Tech University Sexual Harassment Grievance Policy and of possible options and resources. The Title IX Coordinator is Carrie Flournoy, P.O. Box 3168; phone: 257-3785; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students have the option of consulting with the Dean of Student Life and/or the Dean of Student Development.
Upon receiving the initial complaint, the University officer will schedule a preliminary meeting to discuss the charges, to explain proper procedures, to complete the Sexual Harassment Complaint Checklist (click to download form), and to determine whether further information is needed. Based upon the outcome of this meeting, the administrator will take one of the following actions:
If the person wants to proceed with the complaint, the University officer will explain the process and the procedures.
If the person does not want to proceed with the complaint, the University officer will make a record of the complaint and take such action as necessary to protect the interest of the complainant and of the University.
If after the preliminary investigation the University officer feels that sexual harassment has not occurred, the officer will advise the person of his/her findings and will advise the person of his/her options if the person wishes to proceed further with the complaint.
Louisiana Tech University has two types of procedures to address sexual harassment complaints - informal and formal. Anyone who believes himself or herself to be a victim of sexual harassment may make use of both procedures, if deemed necessary.
If a person decides to file a sexual harassment complaint, the following procedure will be adhered to:
Every effort should be made to resolve a complaint within thirty (30) days of the complaint using an informal process. During this preliminary stage, the complainant will be encouraged to provide information contained in the Sexual Harassment Complaint Checklist describing the behavior and relief sought. After completing the Sexual Harassment Complaint Checklist, the administrator will use the Assessment Form (click to download form) to determine appropriate courses of action. If the University officer decides that the described situation fits the definition of sexual harassment, he/she will request the names of the involved parties and will request an agreement to conduct an informal investigation.
The objective of this process will be to provide appropriate relief to the aggrieved party, sensitize the alleged harasser to the effects of such behavior, and resolve the complaint to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. An investigation will minimally include contacting the University officer responsible for the accused, i.e., if a student makes a complaint to the Dean of Student Life about a faculty member, the Dean of Student Life will notify the faculty member's Dean and/or Unit Head relative to the complaint. Other steps that may take place in the investigative process are the following: (1) additional fact-finding; (2) a meeting with the administrative officer of the accused to discuss the grievance; and (3) a meeting with the complainant and accused separately or together.
Where a resolution is reached, a dated copy of the terms of the resolution indicating the nature of the complaint and the names of the parties shall be recorded and kept in a separate case file to be located in the appropriate University office.
Legal representation is not an intended part of the informal resolution stage.
NOTE: The person filing the complaint will be protected against retaliation in any form. Words or behaviors that punish a person for filing a complaint of sexual harassment are illegal.
NOTE: False accusations have a damaging effect on innocent people.
Louisiana Tech University will make every effort to maintain confidentiality to the extent legally possible throughout the investigation and hearing procedures. If a complainant insists on confidentiality, the ability to respond may be limited.
Formal Complaint Procedures
If the informal proceedings are deemed inappropriate by either party, or if the matter is not resolved, the aggrieved party may initiate the formal grievance procedure. A Formal Complaint Form should be completed by the complainant (click to download form). In extraordinary circumstances, when the continued working or academic relationship between the aggrieved party and the accused creates an impossible working/academic environment, a temporary transfer or reassignment of duties will be considered.
If the aggrieved party decides to proceed with a formal grievance, the following action will take place:A written and signed complaint of sexual harassment must be submitted to the appropriate University officer by the aggrieved party within ten (10) working days after the informal resolution has failed or within sixty (60) calendar days of the incident cited as sexual harassment. Student complaints should be submitted within ten (10) months of the incident. The complaint shall state, clearly and concisely, the facts which are the grounds for the proceeding, and the relief sought. The University officer receiving the written complaint shall inform the appropriate Vice President of the complaint so that a hearing may be set. In special circumstances, time limits may be waived with the mutual consent of University officers. All matters will be handled as expeditiously as possible.
Upon receipt of the written complaint, the appropriate University officer(s) will within five (5) days contact the person who allegedly engaged in the sexual harassment, and inform him/her/her of the basis of the complaint and the opportunity to respond. That person will have five (5) days to respond to the complaint. The response shall contain full, direct, and specific responses to each claim in the complaint.
Within fifteen (15) days of the aforementioned deadline, the Vice President for Student Affairs will convene the University's Sexual Harassment Grievance Committee to establish hearing procedures concerning the complaint. The committee is composed of 10 members (both classified and unclassified employees) who are appointed by the President.
The function of the University's Sexual Harassment Grievance Committee will be to hear and consider testimony and other relevant evidence, to make findings of fact, to determine whether the University's policy on sexual harassment has been violated, and if so, to recommend appropriate relief and disciplinary action(s). A copy of the Committee's findings will be made and retained by the appropriate University officer(s).
Both the accuser and accused may bring one representative (either personal or legal counsel) who may attend and serve in an advisory capacity only. Prior written notice should be provided to the Vice President for Student Affairs (Chair of the Committee) regarding plans to bring a representative or legal counsel.
If the University's Sexual Harassment Grievance Committee determines that sexual harassment has occurred, it will recommend appropriate corrective action. The corrective action will reflect the severity of the incident and any past sexual harassment offenses. Appropriate corrective action can include but is not limited to the following:
- Oral reprimand
- Written reprimand
- Reassignment of duties
- Any combination of the above.
Within five (5) days following the conclusion of its investigation and hearing, the University's Sexual Harassment Grievance Committee will forward its findings and recommendation for action to the President or his/her designee. When the recommendation concerns a classified employee, the designee will be the Director of Human Resources. Within fifteen (15) working days, the President or his/her designee will review the Committee's recommendation and determine an appropriate course of action. The decision will be communicated in writing to the accuser, accused, and the accused's appropriate administrative supervisor(s).
Either party may appeal the Committee's recommendation by submitting a written request to the President or his/her designee. Request for an appeal must be made to the President or his/her designee within fifteen (15) days after the appealing party receives a copy of the Committee's findings. The written ruling of the President or his/her designee shall constitute the final decision. Beyond that point, both parties may seek remedies outside the University.
The use of this formal procedure in no way limits a resolution that is agreeable to all parties at any state; however, any such mutually agreed upon resolution must be documented in writing and signed by the accuser, the accused, and the administrator who handled the complaint.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits retaliation against persons filing complaints. Steps will be taken to prevent retaliation and will take strong responsive action if it occurs.