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Complaint Procedure for Review of Allegations of Unlawful Discrimination/Harassment Policy


Provides a mechanism through which SUNY Plattsburgh may identify, respond to, and prevent incidents of illegal discrimination. 

Policy Information

Policy Number Policy Owner
2000.5.P Affirmative Action Office & Title IX
  • 4.0 Policy

    The State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh ("SUNY Plattsburgh " or "the College"), in its continuing effort to seek equity in education and employment and consistent with Federal and State anti-discrimination legislation, has adopted a complaint procedure for the prompt and equitable investigation and resolution of allegations of unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction. Harassment on the basis of the above categories is one form of unlawful discrimination. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence. Employees who observe or become aware of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, should report this information to the campus Affirmative Action Officer and/or the Title IX Coordinator. Conduct that may constitute harassment is described in Definitions and Prohibited Acts and Behaviors.  More detailed information may be obtained from the Office of Affirmative Action or the Title IX Coordinator.

    This Complaint Procedure for the Review of Allegations of Unlawful Discrimination provides a mechanism through which SUNY Plattsburgh may identify, respond to, and prevent incidents of illegal discrimination. The College will take steps to prevent discrimination and harassment, to prevent the recurrence of discrimination and harassment, and to remedy its discriminatory effects on the victim(s) and others, if appropriate. The College recognizes and accepts its responsibility in this regard and believes that the establishment of this internal, non-adversarial complaint process will benefit students, faculty, staff, and administration, permitting investigation and resolution of problems without resorting to the frequently expensive and time-consuming procedures of State and Federal enforcement agencies or courts.

    These measures are intended to balance the rights of those bringing complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation (the "Complainant") with those against whom claims are brought (the "Respondent"). This procedure is administered by the Affirmative Action Officer (AAO), who reports to the College President. The State University of New York, Office of General Counsel has approved this procedure.

    A complainant is not required to pursue the SUNY Plattsburgh procedure before filing a complaint with the appropriate State or Federal agency, and the Complainant may file such a complaint at any time during the process. However, after filing with one of these outside enforcement agencies, or upon the initiation of litigation, the complaint shall be referred to the campus Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator for investigation with the Office of General Counsel.

    Time Limits
    Employees of SUNY Plattsburgh and third parties must file a written complaint with the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator within 180 calendar days following the alleged discriminatory act or the date on which the Complainant first knew or reasonably should have known of such act. All such complaints must be submitted on the forms provided by the College.

    Students must file a complaint within 180 calendar days following the alleged discriminatory act, or 90 calendar days after a final grade is received for the semester during which the discriminatory acts occurred, if that date is later. For alleged discriminatory acts in a spring semester, students will have 90 calendar days from the beginning of the following fall semester to file a complaint.

    It is the Complainant's responsibility to be certain that any complaint is filed within the 180-day period.

    If the Complainant brings a complaint not involving sex discrimination beyond the period in which the complaint may be addressed under these procedures, the Affirmative Action Officer may, after consultation with the Office of General Counsel, terminate any further processing of the complaint, refer the complaint to General Counsel, or direct the Complainant to an alternative forum (see External Enforcement Agencies listed in the Appendix for a list of alternative forums).

    Complaints of sex discrimination brought beyond the 180-day period will be tracked and investigated to the extent possible consistent with the campus Title IX obligations, including the Title IX Coordinator’s duties to spot patterns and address systemic issues. Additionally, the Title IX Coordinator will ensure that complainants in sex discrimination cases are made aware of their Title IX rights, available remedies and resources on and off-campus, interim remedies, and the right, if any, to file a complaint with local law enforcement.

    Should a complaint of sexual violence or sexual harassment be filed later than 180 days following the alleged act, the complainant will still be offered all appropriate and available services and resources for victims of sexual violence and harassment, including interim measures to protect the parties. In addition, the matter will be investigated and may be referred for appropriate employee or student disciplinary action.

    As soon as reasonably possible after the date of filing of the complaint, the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator will mail a notice of the complaint and a copy of the complaint to the Respondent(s).

    Jurisdiction of the Affirmative Action Officer and Title IX Coordinator
    Complaints of illegal discrimination should be made to the Affirmative Action Officer (AAO), and/or, in the case of sex discrimination, the Title IX Coordinator (TIX). Complaints or concerns that are reported to a College administrator, manager, or supervisor concerning an act of discrimination or harassment or acts of discrimination or harassment that administrators, managers, or supervisors observe or become aware of shall be immediately referred to the Affirmative Action Officer. Complaints may also be made directly to the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator by anyone who experiences, observes, or becomes aware of discrimination or harassment. The AAO or TIX will also receive initial inquiries, reports, and requests for consultation. The AAO or TIX will respond as appropriate in a timely manner.

    SUNY Plattsburgh is committed to providing a learning and working environment free from discrimination. The College, through the Office of Affirmative Action and Title IX Coordinator, reserves the right to pursue any complaint of discrimination about which it becomes aware. Based on information received, the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator may exercise her/his discretion and initiate a complaint on behalf of the College community, regardless of complainant cooperation or involvement.

    In addition, the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator may determine that a specific complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment is of such a serious or potentially criminal nature that the investigative steps outlined in the process should be accelerated or eliminated. Such a circumstance will be communicated to the President (or his/her designee) and to the Director of Human Resource Services for appropriate action, including the initiation of disciplinary action. If the Respondent is a student, the referral will be to the Student Conduct Office.

    The Affirmative Action Officer, or in instances involving sexual violence, the Title IX Coordinator, is available to assist in preparing the complaint. The Title IX Coordinator will ensure that complainants are aware of their Title IX rights and available resources on and off-campus, and the right, if any, to file a complaint with local law enforcement. Interim measures for students may include, but are not limited to, information about how to obtain counseling and academic assistance in the event of sexual assault, and steps to take if the accused individual lives on campus and/or attends class with the complainant. Such interim measures are available whether or not there is a formal complaint. See Victim/Survivor Bill of Rights. [link]

    SUNY Plattsburgh will comply with law enforcement requests for cooperation and such cooperation may require the campus to temporarily suspend the fact-finding aspect of an investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence. The campus will resume its Title IX investigation as soon as it is notified by the law enforcement agency that it has completed the evidence gathering process. The campus will implement appropriate interim steps during the law enforcement agency’s investigation period to provide for the safety of the victim(s) and the campus community.

    Employees with Title IX compliance responsibilities and/or employees who have the authority to take action to redress the harassment must report any complaints to the Title IX Coordinator. (See Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy [link] https://www.plattsburgh.edu/policies/administrative/sexualviolencepolicy.php for a list of those with compliance responsibilities.)

    Retaliation
    Anyone who participates in the procedure has the right to do so without fear of or actual retaliation. It will be made clear to all parties that retaliation against an employee, a student, or a third party who has filed a discrimination complaint, or against any witness or other participant in this process, will result in appropriate sanctions or disciplinary action as covered by College policies or applicable collective bargaining agreements. These sanctions will be invoked for retaliation regardless of the merits of the original complaint.

    Retaliation is an adverse action taken against an individual as a result of complaining about unlawful discrimination or harassment, exercising a legal right, and/or participating in a complaint investigation as a third-party witness. Participants who experience retaliation should contact the campus Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator.

    Confidentiality
    To the extent practicable or allowable by law, all aspects of the complaint and investigation conducted in accordance with these procedures will be confidential. All affected parties shall cooperate fully in the investigation and shall maintain and preserve the confidentiality of the investigation.

    No party shall employ audio or video taping devices during any portion of the procedures detailed hereafter.

     

For additional information about this policy, please contact the Policy Owner listed above.

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