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Sexual Harassment

Discrimination Complaint Procedures for Students

This procedure provides a means for resolving complaints by students who believe they have been adversely affected by illegal or prohibited discrimination by the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), a member college or center, or their students or employees.

Complaints may be brought under this procedure for discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, cizenship status (including document abuse), sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability, or genetic information. The entire college community should act promptly upon receipt of an allegation of conduct that might constitute discrimination. Any member of the college community should refer a person who might be a victim of such conduct to these procedures, as well as to the college officials responsible for conducting an investigation pursuant to these procedures.

Students who believe they are experiencing sexual harassment may utilize the Report process (as described below) in addition to the Informal and Formal Resolution processes. If a student has been a victim of sexual assault, a complaint may also be filed with College Public Safety (CPS).

All deadlines prescribed for Report, Informal Resolution and Formal Resolution processes may be extended by the Vice President of Student Affairs for good reason, such as (but not limited to) when classes are not in session or upon mutual agreement by the parties. Notwithstanding any deadline extension, college officials should take all necessary steps to ensure prompt and equitable resolution of any complaint of discrimination.

Information related to MCCCD's Discrimination Complaint Procedure for Students is also available from the Office of General Counsel's Office of Public Stewardship at 480-731-8880.

Informal Resolution of Discrimination Complaints

Before filing a formal complaint under this procedure, a student may attempt to resolve the problem through informal discussions with the person claimed to have engaged in discriminatory conduct and that person's supervisor or department head. The student may choose to ask the Vice President of Student Affairs to assist in the informal resolution process. The Vice President of Student Affairs may designate an employee to provide such assistance. The Vice President of Student Affairs may modify or reject an informal resolution of a complaint of discriminatory conduct under this process if, in the judgment of the Vice President, the resolution that is proposed is not in the best interests of both the student and the institution. The Vice President shall take such action no later than fifteen (15) calendar days after receiving notice of the informal resolution.

Attempts to informally resolve alleged discrimination should occur within ninety (90) calendar days of the most recent alleged discriminatory act. The college official responsible for this informal resolution process should ensure that the process is concluded promptly. For complaints dealing with alleged discrimination beyond the 90-day timeframe, a student must submit a written complaint under the formal resolution procedure of this policy.

If the complaint cannot be informally resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, the complainant has the right to file a written complaint within 300 days of the most recent alleged discriminatory act and to proceed under formal resolution procedures.

Formal Resolution of Discrimination Complaints

A student who contends that unlawful or MCCCD-prohibited discrimination has occurred may file a formal complaint by contacting the Vice President of Student Affairs at each respective college or center. The Vice President of Student Affairs will accept complaint filings within 300 calendar days of the most recent occurrence of the alleged discriminatory act.

A complaint must be signed by the student and filed on the form prescribed by the Office of General Counsel. A student may also contact the Office of General Counsel to obtain the name and phone number of the college or center official designated to respond to discrimination complaints.

The complaint must identify the action, decision, conduct, or other basis that constituted an alleged act or practice of unlawful or MCCCD-prohibited discrimination. The complaint must also allege that the action, decision, or occurrence was taken or based on the complainant's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status (including document abuse), age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other unlawful discriminatory grounds.

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Vice President of Student Affairs will notify the college president or provost and the Office of General Counsel. The Office of General Counsel will assign a case number to the complaint.

A copy of the complaint will be shared with the respondent within five (5) working days of receipt by the Vice President of Student Affairs Respondent will be put on notice that retaliation against the complainant or potential witnesses will not be tolerated and that an investigation will be conducted.

Respondent must provide a written response to the complaint within fifteen (15) calendar days of his or her receipt of the complaint.

After accepting a complaint, the Vice President of Student Affairs will designate a complaint investigator to conduct a fact-finding investigation, which will include, at a minimum, a review of written evidence (including the complaint and response), and interviews with appropriate employees and students. The Vice President of Student Affairs may serve as complaint investigator. The complaint investigator shall promptly complete the investigation and deliver to the Vice President of Student Affairs the investigator’s written findings and the results of the investigation, including summaries of all interviews and all documents received as part of the investigation. In no event shall this occur later than ninety (90) calendar days following receipt of the complaint. Within ten (10) working days following receipt of the results of the investigation from the complaint investigator, the Vice President of Student Affairs will submit to the President or Provost the investigator's written findings and the Vice President's recommendations as to the disposition of the complaint.

The president or provost will accept, reject, or modify the recommendations and will provide a written notification of his or her action to the complainant and respondent within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving the written findings and recommendations from the Vice President of Student Affairs.

When the investigation confirms the allegations, appropriate corrective action will be taken. Evidence which is collateral to the allegations of discrimination and/or sexual harassment and which was obtained during an investigation may be used in subsequent grievance or disciplinary procedures. Both complainant and respondent receive notice of the outcome. The institution will take appropriate steps to prevent further occurrences.

MCCCD Administrative Review Process:

Request for Reconsideration

A complainant or respondent who is not satisfied with the decision of the president or provost has ten (10) working days to request, in writing, administrative review of the decision by his or her college president or provost. The request for administrative review must state specific reasons why the complainant or respondent believes the finding was improper. The president or provost will review the results of the investigation and written findings and respond to the request within ten (10) working days from receipt of the request. If the president or provost determines that the decision is not supported by the evidence, the case file will be reopened and assigned for further investigation. If the president or provost determines that the investigation was thorough and complete and that the decision is supported by the evidence, he or she will deny the request for administrative review. At this point, the complainant has exhausted the Internal Discrimination Complaint Procedure.

Complaint Process

Faculty, staff and all other college officials should refer any student seeking to make a complaint of discrimination to the Vice President of Student Affairs. Every student complaint of discrimination shall be investigated under the authority of the Vice President of Student Affairs in accordance with these Procedures. The Vice President of Student Affairs and any complaint investigator who participates in a complaint resolution pursuant to these Procedures shall administer every resolution process in an impartial manner, and shall fully consider all facts discovered in the course of any investigation before a resolution is reached. Each party in any complaint resolution shall have full opportunity to present all information and documentation the party feels is germane to the complaint. At no time shall a student who has made an allegation of discrimination under these Procedures be asked or required in any way by a college official to engage in any direct confrontation with any person alleged to have committed an act of discrimination. The Vice President shall ensure that every effort is made to obtain information from each witness to every act of alleged discrimination or from any other person possessed of information that is relevant and material to the complaint resolution. The Vice President of Student Affairs shall ensure that all appropriate corrective action that is warranted as a result of any complaint resolution will be taken, and shall employ best efforts to ensure that the college prevents recurrence of discrimination in the future.

Maintenance of Documentation

Documentation resulting from each level in the Formal Resolution Process (including witness statements, investigative notes, etc.) will be forwarded to and maintained by the Office of General Counsel. Investigative records are not to be maintained with or considered as a part of a student record. Documentation regarding corrective action is considered part of the student's record.

Right to Assistance

A complainant or respondent may receive the assistance of an attorney or other person at any stage of a complaint filed under this Internal Discrimination Complaint Procedure. Such person may attend any investigative interview and advise the complainant or respondent but shall not otherwise participate in the interview. The complaint investigator shall direct communications directly to the complainant and respondent, and not through such individual's attorney or other person providing assistance.

Confidentiality of Proceedings

Every effort will be made by the college and MCCCD to protect the confidentiality of the parties during the processing of complaints under this procedure. Records will be maintained in a confidential manner to the extent permitted by law and insofar as they do not interfere with MCCCD's legal obligation to investigate and resolve issues of discrimination.

Retaliation Prohibited

Retaliation against a person who has filed a complaint or against any witness questioned during an investigation is strictly prohibited. Any retaliatory action by instructors, supervisors, managers, academic professionals, administrators, or other employees who have the authority to take adverse action against a complainant or witness is prohibited and may be grounds for disciplinary action.

False Statements Prohibited

Any individual who knowingly provides false information pursuant to filing a discrimination charge or during the investigation of a discrimination charge will be subject to appropriate discipline.

Filing a Report of Sexual Harassment

A student who believes that he or she is, or has been, the victim of sexual harassment as prohibited by MCCCD policy may Report (either orally or in writing) the harassment to the Vice President of Student Affairs at each college or center. The Report should be made within 180 calendar days of the most recent alleged incident of sexual harassment. A student who is or has been the victim of a sexual assault, or witness to a sexual assault on campus, may also report the incident to College Public Safety (CPS). In this case, the Title IX Coordinator and College Public Safety will each conduct an investigation, sharing information as appropriate.

Upon receipt of the Report, the Title IX Coordinator will have a meeting with the alleged harasser. The meeting shall include: identifying the behavior as described in the Report, alerting the alleged harasser to the perception of the impact of his or her behavior, providing the individual with a copy of the MCCCD Sexual Harassment Policy, encouraging completion of the Office of General Counsel's Sexual Harassment Online Tutorial, and encouraging greater awareness of behaviors that may lead to perceptions of sexual harassment. Neither the Report nor the meeting with the alleged harasser shall in any way constitute a finding of sexual harassment. The name of the complainant shall not be identified to the respondent during the Report process; however, complainants should be aware that they may be called as witnesses in subsequent disciplinary or due process proceedings, as well as in litigation. The meeting with the alleged harasser must be conducted within ten (10) working days of receipt of the Report.

External Filing of Discrimination Complaint

MCCCD encourages students to use the MCCCD Discrimination Complaint Procedure for students to resolve discrimination concerns. Students also have the right to file civil rights complaints with appropriate external agencies. No retaliation will be taken against a person for filing a complaint with an external agency. The following agency accepts discrimination charges filed by, or on behalf of, students:

Office for Civil Rights, Region VIII (OCR)
Denver Office
U.S. Department of Education
Federal Building
1244 Speer Boulevard, Suite 310
Denver, Colorado 80204-3582
Phone: 303-844-5695
Fax: 303-844-4303
TDD: 303-844-3417

AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation Process, March 13, 2012

Questions or comments?
Contact Lee Combs @ 480.731.8878

Maricopa Community Colleges
Office of General Counsel
2411 West 14th Street
Tempe, AZ 85281-6942
480.731.8877 / 480.731.8890 fax

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Page Updated 10/15/07

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