Grievance Policy at Dickinson

This online policy content is provided as a resource for the students, faculty, staff, and administration of Dickinson College. Content is subject to change. Please contact the appropriate person or office to obtain the most current information.

A student wishing to bring a complaint against the college or a member of the staff or administration regarding discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or legally protected characteristics such as race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, or military status, or upon violations of federal,  state or local statutes, must do so in writing to Vice President for Student Development. This procedure does not apply to grievances involving faculty or grievances arising solely from violations of college policy or grievances in connection with sexual harassment or the resolution of charges of misconduct against students, for which the college currently has independent procedures outlined in the Academic Handbook, Student Handbook, College Bulletin, and other documents.

The following procedures govern student complaints of discrimination or violations of federal, state or local statutes by the college or by members of the staff and administration.

Procedures

Filing a Complaint
A student wishing to bring a complaint against the college or a member of the staff or administration regarding discrimination must do so in writing to the Vice President for Student Development’s office. A complaint must be submitted no later than roll call of the semester following the alleged violation.

Resolving a Complaint
Upon receiving a complaint, the Vice President for Student Development or his or her designee shall refer the matter to the appropriate division for investigation and resolution. For example, this may be the Dean of Students, the Provost and Dean of the College, the Vice President of Human Resource Services, the Vice President of Library and Information Services or the Vice President of Operations. The Vice President for Student Development or Vice President of the office responsible for overseeing the matter complained of shall appoint at least one hearing officer or handle the matter himself/herself. The hearing officer shall be responsible for investigating the allegations, determining the outcome of the complaint, and imposing remedial action and/or sanctions appropriate under the circumstances.

The hearing officer shall notify both the student and the office or employee against whom a complaint has been made of the allegations presented. The office or employee against whom a complaint has been made shall also receive a copy of the original letter of complaint.

After reviewing available and relevant materials and talking with the student, the accused office or employee, and any other persons with relevant information, the hearing officer shall provide a draft letter outlining his/her determination to the Vice President for Student Development or Vice President of the division overseeing the matter, who may accept, modify or reject the determination of the hearing officer on the basis of the facts, the recommended response or both. The Vice President for Student Development or Vice President of the division overseeing the matter may also direct the hearing officer to further explore the underlying situation.

The hearing officer ’s draft report shall address the following points:

In cases involving complaints against an office of the college:
  1. The office is not responsible for the misconduct alleged; or
  2. The office is responsible for misconduct and shall be required to implement the remedial actions suggested by the hearing officer.

In cases involving complaints against an employee:
  1. The member of the staff or administration is not responsible for the misconduct alleged; or  
  2. The member of the staff or administration is responsible for misconduct and shall be sanctioned, including but not limited to, the possibility of remedial actions or adverse employment action or both.

Once the Vice President for Student Development or Vice President of the division overseeing the matter accepts the determination of the hearing officer, a final letter outlining the hearing officer's decision will be provided to the student and office or employee against whom the complaint was made normally within three (3) working days of the decision. If an employee is found responsible, a copy will be placed in the employee’s personnel file and in an administrative file. If an employee is absolved of responsibility, a copy of the letter will be placed only in an administrative file.

Appeals
The student, office or employee may appeal the decision. Notice of the intent to appeal must be submitted to the Office of Human Resource Services. The appeal must be filed within one week of the date of the statement of intent to appeal. Such appeals shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the Office of Human Resource Services. The appeal shall consist of a plain, concise and complete written statement of the grounds for the appeal.

The Vice President of Human Resource Services or his or her designee will consider the appeal. Appeals may be based only on the following grounds:
  1. Stated procedures were not followed.
  2. New and relevant evidence, not available at the time of the original investigation, has arisen.
  3. The decision reached is not consistent with the clear and convincing weight of the information developed during the investigation.
  4. The sanction or remedy determined by the hearing officer was inadequate or excessive for the misconduct alleged.

The Vice President of Human Resource Services may take one of the following actions:
  1. Reject the appeal if he or she finds the grounds for appeal unsubstantiated by clear and persuasive evidence or if he or she finds that any procedural irregularities were minor in nature and would not have altered the outcome of the hearing or if he or she finds that the sanction or remedy imposed is not clearly and convincingly inadequate or excessive.
  2. Return the case for reconsideration if new and relevant evidence has arisen or if there were procedural violations determined to have unfairly influenced the decision or if the sanction or remedy requires adjustment based upon the standard set forth in paragraph C.1. above.
  3. Affirm the appeal and overturn or modify the decision of the hearing officer.
  4. Affirm the appeal, with or without modifying the remedial actions and/or sanctions determined by the hearing officer.

The decision of the Vice President of Human Resource Services will be reviewed with the President prior to being conveyed to the parties. This decision shall be conveyed in writing to the student and the office or employee against whom the complaint was made, and the Vice President for Student Development or Vice President of the division involved, normally within three (3) working days of the decision. If an employee is found responsible, a copy of the decision will be placed in the employee’s personnel file and an administrative file. If the employee is absolved of responsibility, a copy of the letter will be placed only in an administrative file.