4: University Regulations

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Discrimination Complaint Procedures

The University does not discriminate in any of its programs, procedures, or practices against any person on the basis of age, citizenship, color, handicap, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era. The University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

I. Rights of Parties

The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (Office of EOP) is responsible for enforcement of the University's nondiscrimination obligations and for the handling of discrimination complaints.

  1. The complainant (person making a charge of discrimination) may elect to have the complaint heard by the Office of EOP in accordance with these procedures; or may elect to file a formal charge of discrimination with a state or federal agency authorized by law to investigate such claims. In any event, the complainant's choice of remedy is exclusive and the complainant simultaneously may pursue the complaint in more than one forum as set out herein.

    A complainant is at all times permitted to pursue claims simultaneously with the Office of EOP and the Virginia Department of Personnel and Training. The Office of EOP will not accept a discrimination complaint if the complainant has filed an employment grievance with the University or a charge of discrimination with a federal agency relating to the same subject matter. Although the complainant is free at any time before or after the filing of a complaint with the Office of EOP to file an employment grievance or institute formal proceedings before a Federal or State agency, the Office of EOP will immediately terminate any then-pending proceeding of its own if a university grievance proceeding or a formal proceeding before a Federal agency is instituted.

  2. Federal and State law and University policy prohibit any form of retaliation against a person who files a discrimination complaint. It is the responsibility of the Office of EOP to state clearly to the respondent (a person who is the subject of a charge of discrimination) that any form of retaliation against a person for having filed a complaint is expressly prohibited and will not be condoned.
  3. The University also has a duty to protect and respect the rights of the respondent. These procedures will not be used to bring malicious or knowingly false charges. Disciplinary action will be taken against any person who is shown by clear and convincing evidence to have filed a discrimination complaint in bad faith. In any case in which allegations of discrimination are not substantiated, the University may, if appropriate, take reasonable steps to restore the reputation of the respondent such as expungement of records or notification to persons who participated in the investigation of the charge if the respondent suffered any damage to reputation as a result of the discrimination complaint procedure.

II. Procedure in General

A faculty member, staff employee, or student who believes they may have been a victim of prohibited discrimination may file a discrimination complaint with the Office of EOP subject to the standards and in accordance with the policies described below.

Unless otherwise specified, in cases involving University employees, the time periods listed herein shall be computed by work days. In cases involving students, these time periods shall be computed to only include week days when classes are in session. The time periods listed below can be enlarged upon a showing of good cause by the complainant, respondent or the Office of EOP.

  1. The discrimination complaint procedure is initiated when the complainant files a written complaint with the Office of EOP.
  2. Complaints should be filed with the Office of EOP within ninety (90) days of the last act complained of. The complainant's unwarranted failure to file a complaint within the ninety-day period may lead to the dismissal of the complaint. This ninety-day filing period shall be computed by calendar days and is applicable to employees and students alike.
  3. The complaint must describe the act or acts complained of, identify the person or persons purportedly responsible, and indicate the date or approximate date on which the discriminatory act or acts occurred. The Office of EOP maintains complaint forms that, if filled out by the complainant or an Office of EOP staff member and signed by the complainant, satisfy the written complaint requirement.
  4. If the Office of EOP determines that the allegations in a complaint are grave and may be well-founded, then the Office of EOP reserves the right to continue in its own name any investigation that the complainant does not wish to pursue.

    If the Office of EOP determines that the allegations in the complaint do not state a violation of state or federal law or University policies, the Office of EOP shall inform the complainant in a written statement within five (5) days of the filing of the complaint. The statement shall provide reasons why the complaint does not state a violation and inform the complainant of other avenues available to pursue her or his complaint.

  5. Within ten (10) days of the filing of a written complaint, a staff member of the Office of EOP will interview the complainant. The purposes of the interview are to determine the factual allegations on which the complaint is based, discuss the discrimination complaint procedures, including mediation, and to assess whether the complainant has any interest in resolving the complaint through the mediation process. The complainant shall inform the EOP staff member within five (5) days of the interview whether he or she agrees to proceed by mediation.

III. Mediation

  1. A complainant who files a timely written complaint may elect to proceed by either mediation or investigation. Mediation is an informal process by which the Office of EOP, without making findings, endeavors to resolve complaints expeditiously and in a manner satisfactory to the complainant and the University. A complainant who elects initially to proceed by mediation may thereafter elect at any stage during or upon the conclusion of the mediation process to proceed by investigation. While a complainant can refuse mediation and proceed directly to the investigation process, the Office of EOP encourages complainants to participate initially in the mediation process. If permitted by the circumstances, the EOP Officer will honor a request from the complainant to preserve the complainant's confidentiality during the mediation process.
  2. The Office of EOP reserves the right to not proceed with an investigation if it determines that a complainant was offered and refused all of the relief she or he would be entitled to as part of the mediation process.
  3. No more than ten (10) days following the initial interviews set forth on II (4), the Office of EOP will notify the respondent that he or she has been named in a complaint and inform the respondent of the nature of the charges. The Office of EOP will also discuss the discrimination complaint procedures including the mediation process. If the complainant has agreed to proceed by mediation the respondent must notify the Office of EOP within five (5) days if he or she agrees. The respondent independently can request to have the matter resolved through mediation.
  4. Because each case can involve many variables, it is neither desirable nor practical to prescribe a mediation process applicable to all cases. The primary objectives of the mediation process are to resolve the complaint through counseling or mediation between both parties or other appropriate action in order to resolve the complaint quickly and confidentially. Except in unusual circumstances (and except as provided in the second sentence of Paragraph 5, below) no person other than the complainant and the respondent will be contacted by the Office of EOP during the mediation process. Both parties will be instructed by the Office of EOP to respect the confidentiality of the process. Mediation should be completed no later than ten (10) days after the parties have agreed to mediation.
  5. If the complaint is successfully mediated, the Office of EOP will, within five (5) days of the mediation conference, prepare a form, the "Successful Mediation Form," describing fully the agreed-upon terms. It shall be the responsibility of the Office of EOP to ensure, through consultation with appropriate University officials, that the terms comport with university policies and procedures. The complainant and the respondent will read and sign the Successful Mediation Form. Under normal circumstances, this should take place no more than ten (10) days after the successful completion of the mediation. By signing the Successful Mediation Form the complainant releases the University, its officers and employees from further claims relating to the subject matter of the complaint, and that the terms agreed to in the Successful Mediation Form are to be kept strictly confidential.
  6. The Office of EOP will not retain any written record of the mediation process except the complaint and the Successful Mediation Form, which shall be made available to the complainant and respondent upon request. The Office of EOP will discard all other documents and notes as soon as the mediation process has been concluded.

IV. Investigation

  1. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the mediation process or elects to proceed directly to the investigation process, or if the Office of EOP elects in accordance with Paragraph (2) of the "Mediation" procedure, above, to proceed with the investigation process in its own name, then that process is conducted in accordance with the following procedures.
  2. The investigation process differs from the mediation process in several respects:
    1. The complaint, any written statements of the complainant, respondent and witnesses, and the report of the Office of EOP constitutes the written record. Upon completion of the investigation and after the issuance of the final report, the record will be made available upon request to the complainant and the respondent. It may be used by the Office of EOP in the presentation of its report and as documentation for any recommended disciplinary action.
    2. The Office of EOP will prepare a written report and will, if appropriate, recommend corrective actions to the proper Dean, Director, Vice President, Provost, Chancellor Clinch Valley College, or President.
    3. An investigation may involve persons other than the complainant and respondent. As soon as the investigation process begins, the Office of EOP will notify the respondent's supervisor and other appropriate University officials that a charge naming the charged party has been received and is being investigated. The Office of EOP will confer as appropriate with the supervisor during the course of the investigation. During the investigation process, other witnesses may be called upon to provide oral or written statements.

      University employees and charged parties are expected to fully participate in and cooperate with the investigation because in some cases, the University may bear ultimate liability for acts of discrimination that violate state and federal laws and University policies. The failure of a complainant, respondent or University employee to participate in and cooperate with the investigation can be separate grounds for disciplinary action by the University.

  3. Whenever an investigation is conducted, the Office of EOP will notify the Office of the University General Counsel, will consult as necessary with that Office and will provide a copy of its written report before it is circulated as provided in Paragraph 5, below.
  4. The investigation will be conducted by personnel in the Office of EOP, and will be concluded within sixty (60) calendar days of notification that an Investigation has been requested by the complaining party. The Investigation will ordinarily include:
    1. Meetings with all persons who have information relevant to the charges in the complaint;
    2. A review of relevant files and records including personnel files, departmental and/or unit files, and other documents deemed relevant by the complaining party, the charged party, or a witness;
    3. A thorough review of the circumstances under which the alleged incident(s) occurred;
    4. If relevant, a comparison of the treatment of complainant as compared with other persons in the department or unit; and
    5. An analysis of any policies or practices related to the allegations of discrimination in the complaint.
  5. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Office of EOP will prepare a written report which shall be completed within ten (10) days of the conclusion of the Investigation. This report will make findings of fact with respect to the allegations in the complaint. The report will also make conclusions as to whether or not there are violations of state, federal or University non-discrimination laws or policies. Copies of the report will be provided to the complainant, the respondent, the appropriate University Vice President, and the President. If the Office of EOP concludes that the complainant's allegations are substantiated, then the report will include:
    1. A specific directive to stop any discriminatory practice found;
    2. Recommendations on corrective actions to be taken against the respondent; and
    3. Recommendations on specific make-whole provisions for the benefit of the complainant such as reinstatement, hiring, reassignment, promotion, training, back pay, or other compensation or benefits.
  6. If the Office of EOP concludes that the complainant's allegations are not substantiated, then the report will inform the complainant of his or her rights with regard to other avenues of complaint processing.
  7. The Vice President to whom the Office of EOP's report is forwarded may either accept, modify, or reject the finding. The Vice President's decision and the reasons therefore will be communicated in writing to the complainant and the respondent and the Office of EOP within ten (10) days. This decision shall constitute the final decision of the University.

The University's Coordinator of Concerns of Students with Disabilities is:

Patricia M. Lampkin
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
The Rotunda
Charlottesville, VA 22904
The Title IX Coordinator is:
Bradford K. Holland, Jr., Interim Director
Office of Equal Opportunity Programs
Poe Alley, West Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Continue to: Dogs Running at Large
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