2022-2023 Bulletin: Policies and General Information 
    
    Feb 04, 2023  
2022-2023 Bulletin: Policies and General Information

Student Grievance Procedure


Definitions

A “grievance” is an assertion made by a student under this procedure that they were wronged by a failure to follow Claremont Graduate University policies and/or practices. Grievances regarding faculty judgment of academic performance are not subject to this procedure. Grievances alleging conduct specifically covered by other CGU investigation and/or resolution procedures (e.g., alleged academic dishonesty/research misconduct, alleged sexual misconduct, etc.) are not subject to this procedure and should be brought under those other procedures. 

A “student” is anyone who was properly enrolled in the University at the time the perceived wrong occurred. 

A “Complainant” is the party that files the Statement of Grievance. 

A “Respondent” is the party accused by the grievance and may file a Response to Grievance. 

“Party” refers to a Complainant or Respondent, and “parties” refers to the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s), collectively. 

“Support Person” any person that attends a Hearing or proceeding under this Policy with a party, including, but not limited to, a parent, a friend, an Academic Advisor, a Disability Services practitioner, another University staff person, or an attorney. A Support Person shall never respond for a party or interact on behalf of an individual and will be required to submit a confidentiality agreement.  

“Preponderance of Evidence” a decision whether the Respondent more likely than not engaged in an alleged violation of this policy and procedure.  

“Records Retention” All records of grievances shall be logged and housed in the Dean of Students Office and retained permanently unless otherwise noted in an outcome decision that a record will be housed elsewhere.  

“Retaliation” Retribution of any kind taken against an individual participating or not participating in a complaint or grievance. 

“Accommodations” This Policy does not alter any institutional obligations under federal disability laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Parties and witnesses may request reasonable accommodations for disclosed disabilities to the Dean of Students or Human Resources at any point before or during the Grievance Process. Requests should be in writing. The Dean of Students representative will not affirmatively provide disability accommodations that have not been specifically requested by an individual, even where the individual may be receiving accommodations in other institutional programs and activities.  Accommodations are not retroactive.

Time Limits

Grievances must be filed by the Complainant with the Dean of Students within 180 days after the alleged incident took place. If a report contains allegations of unlawful discrimination and/or harassment or bullying the date considered is the last in the series.   

Time limitations specified in this policy may be extended by written agreement.

When a Complainant or Respondent, witness, or anyone named in a grievance, cannot perform a procedural step within a reasonable amount of time, they must ask the Dean of Students for an extension before the time limit has exceeded. Failure on part of the Complainant, Respondent, witness, or anyone named in a grievance, to observe time limits, or to receive an extension, will be determined to have abandoned their statement, and the case will be resolved without their input.

The Student Grievance Procedure may experience administrative delays during periods when the University is in recess.

Representation

Grievances must be filed by the Complainant with the Dean of Students within 180 days after the alleged incident took place. If a report contains allegations of unlawful discrimination and/or harassment or bullying the date considered is the last in the series.   

Time limitations specified in this policy may be extended by written agreement.

Voluntary Settlements Prior to a Hearing

Grievances may be resolved by mutual agreement if such resolution is voluntary amongst all of the parties (or just the parties relevant to the portion of a grievance being resolved) and is approved by CGU. If the parties reach a voluntary mutual resolution of a grievance prior to a hearing, and the resolution requires administrative action under CGU policies, the Dean of Students will forward the Statement of Grievance, Response to Grievance and proposed resolution to pertinent CGU administrators for consultation. The Dean of Students may: approve the resolution and take the required administrative action, or reject the proposed resolution and initiate hearing procedures. If the proposed resolution does not require administrative action, then, if approved by the Dean of Students, the resolution shall be considered the final step in the grievance procedure, and no subsequent complaints or defenses on the matter shall be heard

Procedure

  • The Complainant should meet with the person(s) immediately involved in the grievance.
  • The Respondent should meet with the Complainant to discuss the grievance.
  • If a meeting between the Complainant and Respondent does not resolve the matter, the Complainant should consult with the Dean of Students to discuss the grievance and propose a resolution.
  • If the Complainant is unable to resolve the matter by meeting with the Respondent, and/ or in consultation with the Dean of Students, the Complainant should complete the Student Grievance Form. By submitting the Student Grievance Form, the Complainant is requesting the Dean of Students (or their designee) to arrange a meeting between Complainant, Dean of Students, and Respondent, and to follow other steps in these procedures. Complaints raising allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation will not be required to meet with the other party (Respondent), or to participate in informal resolution attempts as a pre-requisite to filing a Statement of Grievance.
  • Upon being sent a notification of the grievance and request to meet with the Dean of Students Office, the Respondent will meet with the Dean of Students to discuss the grievance and propose a resolution.
  • Upon request to meet with the Dean of Students, each party (Complainant and Respondent) will submit their respective Statement of Grievance (Complainant) and a Response to Grievance (Respondent) to the Dean of Students and within the stated timelines.
  • The Complainant and Respondent will respond to an invitation to meet with the Dean of Students and the opposing party to discuss the allegations and propose a resolution.
  • If a meeting between the Complainant and Respondent does not resolve the matter, the Dean of Students will review the Statement of Grievance and Response to Grievance to determine if a violation of policy within the scope of this policy has been asserted. The Dean may also make a pre-determination as to the grievance and may pursue additional efforts toward mutual informal resolution, if warranted in the Dean’s view. The Dean of Students also may also request information pertinent to the grievance or the response from the parties or third parties.
  • If the grievance is unable to be resolved prior to a hearing, the Dean of Students will forward the Statement of Grievance and Response to Grievance to the Committee on Student Grievances.
  • Generally, each party will receive a copy of the opposing party’s statement. The parties shall maintain confidentiality with respect to statements and other materials from the grievance process.

Convening the Committee on Student Grievances

The Committee on Student Grievances consists of:

  • Two students to be nominated by the Graduate Student Council.
  • Two faculty members to be nominated by the Faculty Executive Committee.
  • One staff representative
  • One Member from the Dean of Students Office serves to provide administrative oversight to the process and is a non-voting member.

The Committee on Student Grievances will be convened and will conduct a hearing in accordance with these and any other approved procedures and submit a recommendation on the grievance to the Dean of Students.

The Hearing generally will be scheduled within fifteen (15) business days after the Committee on Student Grievances receives the Statement of Grievance, Response to Grievance, and all relevant material from the Dean of Students.

The Committee on Student Grievances will review the case and make a recommended determination as to if the respondent is responsible or not responsible on issues and or policies in the grievance and recommend actions, if any, to be taken.

All parties are presumed not responsible until a final decision has been made.

Decisions will be made on preponderance of evidence and will be made on a majority vote.  

The Committee on Student Grievances will forward their recommended determination to the Dean of Students within five (5) business days following the completion of the hearing.

The Dean of Students will review the documents and procedural steps followed by the Committee on Student Grievances, then consider the recommendation, and issue a decision.

The Dean of Students will send written notification of that decision to all parties (Committee on Student Grievances, Complainant and Respondent) within five (5) business day of receiving notification from the Committee.

The Committee on Student Grievances has authority to use discretion in determining the appropriate format and expectations for the hearing, with respect to the particular grievance.

Considering a Grievance

Upon receiving a complaint form and supporting information, the Committee on Student Grievances will convene. Deliberation by the CSG and any consequent hearings shall begin within fifteen (15) business days of the committee receiving notification.

Hearing process

The hearing is considered a fact-finding/information gathering proceeding, not a judicial process.

A hearing must have a quorum in order to proceed. A quorum consists of four (4) members, including at least one faculty, one student and one staff member. The members present shall choose a chair of the hearing and a note taker.

The hearing process shall generally proceed as follows:

  • The Committee shall determine who shall be involved in the hearing process.
  • The Committee may seek advice from a “panel of experts” from the appropriate area.
  • The Committee may invite persons having information related to the grievance to participate in the hearing, also known as witnesses.
  • There shall be no confrontation or cross-examination of witnesses or parties.
  • Only the Committee and those being questioned or currently providing information may be present during that portion of the hearing.

Appeals

Either party may appeal the final decision. A Complainant or Respondent who is not satisfied with the policy findings and/or sanctions at the completion of the hearing process may submit an appeal to the Dean of Students.

Appeals must be submitted within three (3) business days of the Notice of the Hearing Decision. The appeal must specify which grounds the appeal is based upon and include any arguments the party wishes to make in support of their appeal. Appeals are limited to ten (10) pages, including attachments.

If no appeal is filled all parties will be notified that the case has been closed and the Committee on Student Grievances will be released from any further duties. 

A party may appeal based on one or more of the following grounds:

  • Procedural Error: There was a procedural error(s) which materially affected the outcome of the matter (i.e., failure to follow the process outlined in this Policy).  The appealing party must describe in their appeal how the procedural error impacted the outcome. 
  • Conflict of Interest: A party believes a conflict of interest or bias for or against an individual party, or for or against Complainants or Respondents in general, that affected the outcome of the matter.  The appealing party must describe in their appeal the alleged conflict of interest or bias held by the individual and how this altered or impacted the outcome.
  • New Evidence: There is new evidence which was not available or known (and could not have reasonably been known) at the time of the final determination (hearing) which materially affected the outcome of the process.  The appealing party must describe in their appeal how the new evidence would have altered the outcome of the process and why the new evidence was not available or reasonably known prior to the appeal.
  • Disproportionate Sanctions: The sanctions are disproportionate to the findings.  

The submission of an appeal pauses the implementation of any sanctions during the pendency of the appeal(s). Appeal Authority

The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs or designee will conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial review of the appeal.  Appeals made by Tenured faculty may be referred by the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs or to the Office of the Provost for a final decision.

Appeal Response

The Dean of Student’s Office or designee will send a written notice of the appeal to the non-appealing party and provide them with a copy of the appeal.  The non-appealing party may issue a response to the appeal.  The appeal response is limited to ten (10) pages, including attachments, and may address only the issues raised in the appeal.  The non-appealing party will have five (5) business days to submit their appeal response after receiving the notice of the appeal.

Appeal Clarification

If the Appeal Authority needs clarification on any point raised in the appeal, they may make a written request for clarification from the appealing party. The appealing party may respond in writing.  The Dean of Students or designee will provide copies of the written communications to the non-appealing party.    

Appeal Record

The review of an appeal will not involve any additional investigation by the Appeal Authority.  The review will be based upon evidence introduced during the hearing process and presented at the hearing, as well as the arguments made during the appeal process.  The Appeal Authority will not consider new evidence for the purposes of upholding, overturning, or modifying the findings.  Appeals submitted under the ground of new evidence will be considered only to determine whether the new evidence could likely change the determination of responsibility.

Appeal Decision

The Appeal Authority will draft a written report which summarizes their decision regarding the appeal.  The Appeal Decision will include a description of the ground(s) for the appeal, a summary of the issues raised on appeal, a statement regarding the evidence considered, a statement describing the decision that was made based on the preponderance of the evidence standard, and the determination regarding the appeal. 

The Appeal Authority may decide to do the following:

  • Uphold the findings and sanctions;
  • Overturn the findings and/or sanctions;
  • Modify the findings and/or sanctions; or
  • Remand the case for a second hearing based on new evidence which could likely affect the outcome of the matter. 

Notice of the Appeal Decision

Written notice of the Appeal Decision will be sent to all parties within ten (10) business days of the submission of an appeal response from the non-appealing party (or the deadline for the non-appealing party to submit a response).  The Notice of the Appeal Decision will include a copy of the written Appeal Decision.  The notice will inform the parties there is no further review of the matter, no further right to appeal, and that the matter is closed. 

The determination regarding responsibility and sanctioning becomes final on the date of the Appeal Decision, unless the Appeal Decision determines an additional hearing is necessary based on new evidence discovered at which time it the case would be returned to the Committee on Student Grievances.

Retaliation

Retaliation against a person who reports, complains about, or participates in the investigation of an allegation of CGU policy violation, will not be tolerated.