200.00 Discrimination Grievance Procedures
SECTION CONTENTS 200.00 Discrimination Grievance Procedures 210.00 Jurisdiction of the Office of Institutional Equity 220.00 University's Right to Initiate an Investigation 230.00 Deadlines 240.00 Remedial action 250.00 Confidentiality 260.00 Reports to Law Enforcement
The discrimination grievance procedures apply to complaints alleging violations of federal and state civil rights laws, Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972, Board of Regents non-discrimination and Title IX policies and the Montana State University Non-Discrimination Policies, including complaints of sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual misconduct and harassment based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or preference, marital or parental status, age, religion, creed or political belief, mental or physical handicap or disability, genetic information, or status as a covered veteran.
These procedures are internal to the University and have been adopted to provide:
- Impartial and prompt investigation of complaints alleging prohibited discrimination;
- Appropriate due process for any individual against whom a complaint of discrimination has been made; and
- Prompt and equitable resolution of complaints when prohibited discrimination has been confirmed.
The jurisdiction of the OIE is limited to complaints of discrimination arising under the University's Nondiscrimination Policies, Board of Regents policies, Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972 or any state or federal law or regulation prohibiting discrimination. The Office accepts complaints, investigates, issue findings, and makes recommendations for the remediation of complaints of discrimination filed by an individual or referred by a university official, agent or committee.
If, in the course of any university committee process, the committee identifies concerns about discrimination arising in the matter before it, the committee shall refer the discrimination concerns to the Office of Intuitional Equity for consultation before acting on the matter.
The University may investigate a complaint of discrimination at any time if, in the opinion of the OIE Director, such action is warranted to resolve an incident of discrimination, even if no complaint has been filed. Unless otherwise specified, the investigation shall follow the procedures for the conduct of formal investigations described in Section 300.00 except that there will be no complainant.
The university will strive to complete investigations within sixty days from the date the charges were filed, unless good cause can be shown for the delay. The time needed to complete an investigation will vary depending on the complexity of the investigation and the severity and extent of the discrimination. If additional time to complete the investigation is required, notice shall be made in writing to all parties.
Remedial action means the administrative steps taken to remedy a situation that has led to a complaint.
The purposes of remedial action are to:
- Prevent serious and immediate harm to the complainant and others;
- Prevent retaliation against the complainant, respondent and/or witnesses;
- End discriminatory or harassing behavior and prevent its recurrence; and
- Provide appropriate training in issues related to discrimination.
At any time during the complaint process, the OIE Director and/or other appropriate administrator may take appropriate remedial action to ensure that these purposes are achieved. Respondents may not appeal remedial actions.
Remedial action may include, but shall not be limited to:
- Altering the complainant's or respondent’s work or academic environment;
- Conducting workshops on discrimination or harassment for the unit, division or department;
- Meeting with the respondent and his or her supervisor(s) to discuss ways in which the behavior about which the complaint has been brought can be changed;
- Mediating or conciliating the complaint;
- Reassigning or transferring one or more of the parties to another course, advisor, work location or reporting relationship;
- Moving students to different rooms in the residence halls or to different halls;
- Transferring students or faculty to different course sections;
- Assigning alternate advisors, mentors, supervisors, or evaluators and providing academic support services such as tutoring;
- Issuing an informal, verbal reprimand;
- Providing counseling and medical services;
- Providing an escort to ensure that the complainant can move safely between classes and activities;
- Arranging for the complainant to re-take a course or withdraw from a class without penalty, including ensuring that any changes do not adversely affect the complainant’s record;
- Suspending an employee with pay pending investigation;
The complainant shall be informed of any remedial action taken by the University.
Confidentiality for the alleged victim will be respected to the extent possible. However, even if the alleged victim requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the university is required to:
- take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint to the extent possible consistent with the alleged victim’s wishes;
- notify the alleged victim that the failure of the alleged victim to pursue a complaint may limit the campus’ ability to fully address the matter; and
- report the incident or assault to local law enforcement authorities if a health or safety emergency as defined by state or federal law is found by the campus to require such reporting.
In addition, Office of Institutional Equity, Title IX Coordinator or designee shall may disclose confidential information to the complainant, the respondent, potential witnesses, appropriate supervisors and administrators and other university official or agents as necessary to: (1) give the respondent fair notice of the charges, (2) conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation, and (3) take any appropriate remedial or disciplinary action.
Confidential information may also be disclosed to:
- University officials who have a need to review the report to perform official University business including taking remedial and/or disciplinary action;
- Attorneys for the complainant and respondent;
- Officials of the Montana University System, the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education or other duly constituted board.
- As necessary to respond to litigation or formal investigation of a complaint filed or appealed to the Board of Regents, State and federal agencies and the court.
If any information to be disclosed includes education records under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA], the requirements of the FERPA will be followed before release of the education records.
Because investigations may involve matters of individual privacy, parties involved in an investigation, including witnesses, shall keep information concerning the investigation confidential. While an individual may choose to waive his or her personal right to confidentiality by disclosing information to others outside the complaint investigation process, he or she is not free to breach the privacy rights of others.
Anyone who believes he or she has been the victim of discrimination which may also be a criminal offense such as rape, sexual assault, hate crimes, etc. may file a complaint with law enforcement with or without assistance from the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will report complaints of sexual violence to the appropriate law enforcement agency when requested to do so by the alleged victim.
If a report of sexual violence presents a health or safety emergency as defined by state and federal law, the university will disclose the complaint and related information to the appropriate law enforcement agency.