Complaint Procedure for Human Rights Violations

for
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University 

 
Introduction

It is the policy of the College of Saint Benedict ("CSB") and Saint John's University ("SJU"), to investigate and promptly seek the timely and equitable resolution of complaints of discrimination relating to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, familial status, status with regard to public assistance, or other legally protected category or characteristic.  The Joint Complaint Procedure for Human Rights Violations shall be the exclusive process for handling Human Rights complaints and supersedes all other processes, except that allegations of sexual misconduct are handled under the Joint Complaint Procedure for Sexual Misconduct Violations.  If a complaint implicates the Joint Human Rights Policy and the Joint Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Lead or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator or their designee, together with the Faculty/Staff Human Rights Officer and/or Student Human Rights Officer or their designee, may choose, at their discretion, to conduct separate proceedings, or to process all aspects of the complaint in a single proceeding, following both the Human Rights and Sexual Misconduct Procedures where they do not conflict and following the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedure where there is a conflict between the procedures.  If a complaint implicates the Joint Human Rights Policy and another CSB/SJU policy (other than the Sexual Misconduct Policy), the complaint of a violation of the Human Rights Policy will be handled under these procedures and CSB/SJU may, at their discretion and unless an applicable handbook provision states otherwise, consider the other alleged policy violation under these procedures or conduct separate proceedings.

I. Responsibility

The Student Human Rights Officer ("Student HRO") is generally responsible for the implementation of this procedure in cases involving a student.  The Faculty/Staff Human Rights Officer ("Faculty/Staff HRO") is generally responsible for implementation of this procedure in cases involving a faculty or staff member.  If a complaint involves both a student and a faculty or staff member, the Student HRO and Faculty/Staff HRO shall share responsibility for implementing this procedure.  If a complaint involves an associate or third party, the Student HRO and Faculty/Staff HRO will determine who should be responsible for implementing the procedure.  The Student HRO and Faculty/Staff HRO will function as (a) neutral party (parties) in implementing this procedure.  In addition, the Lead Title IX Coordinator(s) shall exercise oversight over all complaints involving sex discrimination.

II. Policy Statement

CSB and SJU are committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the community are aware of and respect the rights and human dignity of every other member.  Discrimination and harassment based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, familial status, status with regard to public assistance, or other legally protected category or characteristic are reprehensible, antithetical to the mission of these institutions, and prohibited.  CSB and SJU have zero tolerance for unlawful discrimination and harassment.

An individual seeking resolution of an alleged human rights violation is encouraged to pursue resolution of such allegations through the appropriate HROs as soon as possible following the occurrence of the most recent alleged incident.  When harassment or other violations of the Joint Human Rights Policy have occurred, CSB and SJU strive to prevent recurrence of the conduct and to correct its discriminatory effects.

III. Institutional Response

CSB and SJU have a legal obligation to take prompt and appropriate action in response to information regarding an alleged violation of the Joint Human Rights policy.   The response of the institution(s) will vary depending on the circumstances, including, the seriousness of the alleged offense, the facts reported, and whether the reporting party wishes to initiate a complaint under this procedure.  (A reporting party's preferences cannot be followed in every circumstance, but the institutions will consider and will take reasonable steps to accommodate the reporting party's preferences to the extent possible consistent with the legal obligations of the institution to take prompt and appropriate action in response to the report received).  CSB/SJU will conduct an investigation of all reports of human rights violations received.  Making a report of a violation does not require a reporting party to initiate or participate in a complaint procedure.  However, based on information gathered, one or both institutions may determine that the institution(s) have a responsibility to initiate a complaint procedure (even without the participation of the reporting party).

IV. Definitions

1. Complainant refers to the person or entity who initiates a complaint under this procedure.  In most cases, the complainant will be the person who alleges that he or she has been subject to conduct in violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy, but in some cases the complainant may be CSB or SJU.

2. Respondent refers to the person alleged to have violated the Joint Human Rights Policy.

3. Community and institutions refer to CSB and SJU and in the case of community, all of their students, faculty and staff, and associates.

4. Campus refers to the grounds, which include CSB and SJU.

5. Student refers to any person enrolled in CSB or SJU, whether undergraduate or graduate.

6. Faculty
refers to a person employed by CSB or SJU in a faculty appointment.

7. Staff refers to a person employed by CSB or SJU in an administrative or support staff appointment.

8. Supervisor
refers to administrators, department chairs, faculty, residence directors, faculty residents, staff persons, and third parties who have the responsibility for faculty, staff, or students' terms and/or conditions of employment or education.

9. Associate refers to any individual or organization engaging in or conducting activities associated with CSB and/or SJU or doing business at or with CSB and/or SJU, including members of Saint John's Abbey or Saint Benedict's Monastery.

10. Third Party refers to an individual or entity who is not a member of the campus community but whose activities bring them into contact with members of the campus community, including, but not limited to, visitors to campus, alums, and prospective students and prospective employees.

11. Complaint refers to a signed statement made under the Joint Complaint Procedure for Human Rights Violations.

12. Report refers to the providing of any information to a campus security authority or supervisor at CSB or SJU regarding conduct that may violate this policy.

13. Advisor refers to the individual chosen by a student or employee involved in a human rights disciplinary proceeding to serve as his or her advisor.  See Part V - Right to an Advisor.

14. Title IX Coordinators are officials from CSB and SJU who have been appointed by their respective institutions to address issues of gender-based discrimination and/or sexual misconduct.

15. Suspension is a sanction that may be used for students, faculty, or staff.  It is also an interim protective measure that may be taken while an investigation is being conducted.  For students, the term suspension means the temporary separation of a student from the institution.  When a hearing process results in a recommendation of suspension for a student, the suspension will be effective on the date set forth in the notice of outcome letter.  For a faculty or staff member, a suspension generally refers to a temporary suspension of work duties.  Faculty and staff members may be suspended with or without pay.  Students, faculty, and staff suspended from the institution generally may not be present on the premises of the College of Saint Benedict or Saint John's University for the period of the suspension and may be subject to other conditions as well.

16. Expulsion means the permanent separation of the student from the institution. Students expelled from the institution may not be present on the premises of the College of Saint Benedict or Saint John's University.  When a hearing process results in a recommendation of expulsion, the expulsion will be effective on the date set forth in the notice of outcome letter.

V. General Provisions

1. Right to an Advisor.  A student, staff or faculty member involved in a disciplinary proceeding as a complainant or a respondent has the right to choose an Advisor from either of the CSB or SJU communities.  The Advisor may be a faculty member, administrator, staff member or student.  The role of the Advisor is to advise and assist the complainant or respondent during the course of the proceeding.  The Advisor may accompany the complainant or respondent to all meetings relating to the disciplinary proceedings.  At the discretion of the Student HRO or Faculty/Staff HRO, the Advisor may also be allowed to accompany a person involved in other aspects of the complaint process.  The Advisor may not appear in lieu of the complainant or respondent or speak on his or her behalf.  The Advisor may not address the hearing officer or the committee, and may not interrupt or otherwise delay the proceedings.  Violations of confidentiality or other forms of interference with the proceedings by the Advisor may result in the immediate disqualification of an Advisor and the student may be required to proceed without the privilege of an Advisor.

2. Timing.  CSB and SJU are committed to the prompt and equitable resolution of human rights complaints and strive to meet or beat the timing requirements set forth in these procedures.  However, in some cases, temporary extensions to the timing requirements may be necessary.  The Student HRO and/or Faculty/Staff HRO may grant reasonable extensions to timing requirements in these procedures when warranted by the circumstances.  For example, extensions of timing requirements may be granted if the institution(s) have been asked to delay its procedures during the evidence gathering stage of a criminal investigation, if the allegations are particularly complex (including, without limitation, allegations that involve multiple incidents and/or multiple individuals), or if witnesses are not on campus due to a scheduled break or for another reason.  Extensions will be no longer than necessary.

Where the Procedure indicates that an action will be completed within a specified period of days, "day" generally means business days for CSB/SJU staff.  Adjustments to the time frames will be made when school breaks, holidays, or exigent circumstances require.  As a general rule, CSB and SJU strive to complete their investigation and related procedure within 60 (sixty) calendar days or less, recognizing that certain complaints may take longer to process depending on the circumstances.

Complainants are encouraged to begin the complaint process as soon as possible following an alleged incident.  If a complaint is brought forward more than two (2) calendar years after an alleged incident, the institution(s), in their discretion, may decline to process a complaint under this Procedure, but reserve the right to take other administrative action as appropriate depending on the specific circumstances of the complaint.

3. Confidentiality.  CSB and SJU strive to protect the confidentiality interests of all parties involved in the human rights reporting and complaint process.  However, because of the need to investigate and respond to reports of violations of the Joint Human Rights Policy, CSB/SJU cannot guarantee strict confidentiality in most cases.  Please refer to the Joint Human Rights Policy for more information about confidentiality, including confidential resources available to parties.  In addition, individuals with concerns about confidentiality may speak with a Title IX Coordinator about the complaint process.

4. Interference with Process.  Interference with this procedure is strictly prohibited.  Interference includes, but is not limited to the following:
a. Falsification, distortion or misrepresentation of information before an investigator, hearing officer or committee;
b. Knowingly instituting a complaint without cause and in bad faith;
c. Harassment and/or intimidation of any member of a committee, or of any complainant, respondent, witness, student, or employee involved in a proceeding before, during or after a proceeding;
d. Breaching the confidentiality requirements before, during or after a proceeding.

Students who interfere with this procedure will be subject to disciplinary hearing and sanctions.  Staff and faculty members who interfere with this procedure will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination in accordance with the applicable handbook.  Associates or other third parties who interfere with this procedure will be subject to removal from campus, prohibition from returning to campus, and other appropriate measures as determined by CSB and/or SJU.


5. Interim Restrictions or Suspension
a. For Students.  At any time following the initiation of a complaint proceeding or at any other time throughout the process, the Student HRO, in consultation with the Dean(s) of Students of the institution of a party to a complaint proceeding, may impose various conditions or restrictions on a party pending resolution of the complaint proceedings.  The Dean(s) of Students may also alter or suspend the rights of a student to be present on campus, to attend classes, or to participate in extracurricular activities or events pending resolution of the complaint proceedings.  The Dean(s) of Students will base his/her decision on whether the allegations of misconduct are apparently reliable and whether the continued unrestricted status of the student on the campus poses a threat to the physical or emotional condition or well-being of any individual, including the student, or for reasons relating to the safety, integrity and welfare of the community as a whole.

The interim restrictions, behavioral requirements, and/or alteration or suspension of privileges will be communicated to the student in writing and will remain in effect until a final decision has been made in the complaint proceedings, or until modified or withdrawn in writing.

b. For Faculty, Staff, Associates, and Third Parties.  CSB and SJU may impose various conditions and restrictions on a party pending resolution of the complaint proceedings or at any other time throughout the process.

6. Treatment of Parties.  CSB and SJU strive to treat all parties involved in a complaint procedure with dignity and provide nonjudgmental support to students, faculty and staff who are engaged in this process.  Upon request, personal counseling services are available to students and the Employee Assistance Program is available to faculty and staff.

7. Non-Participation and Silence.  If at any time during the process a party does not participate, the Student HRO and/or Faculty/Staff HRO may move the process to the next step, dismiss the complaint, or take whatever other steps may be necessary to ensure the integrity of the process.
Silence in response to an allegation on the part of the student respondent will not be viewed as an admission of the allegation, but may leave the complainant's allegations undisputed.

Faculty and staff have a duty to CSB and SJU to truthfully answer complaint allegations.  Silence in response to an allegation on the part of a faculty or staff member may be viewed as an admission of the allegation.  Similarly, silence on the part of an Associate or third party in response to a complaint may be viewed as an admission of the allegation.

8. Bringing Complaints.  Ordinarily, complaints under this procedure against a student, faculty, or staff member will be brought by people who feel that their rights have been violated.  Nevertheless, circumstances may arise in which a complaint may be initiated in the name of the institution(s) in order to protect the safety, integrity and welfare of the community as a whole.  Generally, the Vice President(s) of Student Development, the Human Resources Director, the President(s) or the President(s)' designee, will make a determination of whether a complaint should be initiated in the name of the institution(s).  Complaints proceedings, if any, against third parties or associates will generally be initiated by one or both institutions.

9. Conflicts.  In cases where it is determined that a Student HRO and/or the Faculty/Staff HRO has a conflict of interest with respect to a complaint, the Vice President(s) of Student Development, the Human Resources Director, the President(s) or the President(s)' designee of the institution of the conflicted HRO shall appoint an alternate person to serve.  In cases where the President of CSB or SJU is a party to the Complaint or has a conflict of interest with respect to a complaint, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the institution shall ensure that the institution puts in place appropriate safeguards under the circumstances to ensure that the institution promptly and equitably responds to the complaint, including, but not limited to, appointment of alternate individuals to serve in roles of Student HRO and/or Faculty/Staff HRO.

10. Reservation of Flexibility.  This Procedure reflects the desire of the institutions to respond to complaints in good faith and in a manner that promotes fairness to all parties.  The institutions recognize, however, that each case is unique in its presentation and requires that the institutions reserve some flexibility in responding to the particular circumstances of each case.  In the rare cases where it is not possible or practical to follow this procedure, the institutions reserve the right to modify the procedure or to take other administrative action as appropriate under the circumstances.

VI. Procedure

 The procedure followed by CSB and SJU to resolve human rights complaints will vary depending on the status of the respondent.  Procedure VI.A. will be followed in all cases in which the respondent is a student.  Procedure VI.B. will be followed in all cases in which the respondent is a member of the faculty or staff.  Procedure VI.C will be followed in cases where the respondent is an associate/third party.

A. Complaint Procedure for Complaints in which the Respondent is a Student
The following constitutes the steps which make up the complaint process when the respondent is a student.

Step 1:  Initiation of Complaint
Any member of the community may initiate the Complaint Procedure.  This complaint process may be initiated by submitting a signed and completed complaint form to the Student HRO or Dean(s) of Students.  Students at the SJU School of Theology·Seminary may alternately submit their complaint form to the Rector or Dean of the School of Theology•Seminary, who will then refer the matter to the Student HRO.  The complaint form should contain sufficient detail to enable the Student HRO to make a determination as to whether an investigation should be conducted.  Forms are available from the Student HRO, the Dean(s) of Students, the Rector or Dean of the SJU School of Theology•Seminary, or on the CSB/SJU website. http://www.csbsju.edu/Human-Rights/Human-Rights/Reporting-Forms.htm

Step 2:  Investigation
Following the submission of a completed complaint form that states a possible violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy, an investigation will be conducted by SJU Life Safety, CSB Campus Security, or an appointed outside investigator.  The investigator may interview the complainant, respondent and/or other witnesses or request additional information from the complainant, respondent or others.  A written summary of the results of the investigation and relevant documents, if any, will be provided to the Student HRO.  Every attempt will be made to complete the investigation process within ten (10) business days of the filing of the complaint, but in some cases more time will be required.  If a criminal complaint has been filed based upon the alleged misconduct (such as in the case of a racially motivated assault), CSB's and/or SJU's investigation may be temporarily delayed to allow law enforcement to gather evidence.  Such delay may only occur at the request of law enforcement and shall not be any longer than necessary for law enforcement to complete the gathering of evidence.  In no case will CSB and SJU wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding to begin their own investigation.

Step 3:  Determination of Options for Resolution
Upon completion of the investigation, the Student HRO will review the information gathered by the investigator and make an initial assessment regarding the options available for resolution of the complaint.  Based on this review, the case will be referred for resolution in one of the ways listed below.  Every attempt will be made to determine the appropriate option for resolution in Step 3 within five (5) business days of the completion of the preliminary investigation:

a. Referral.  If the Student HRO of the involved institutions determines that there is not sufficient basis to believe that a violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy may have occurred, the parties will be notified of that determination and the complainant will be informed of other procedures for resolving the complaint and of other resources that may be available to complainant.  The Student HRO may also directly refer the matter to other institutional disciplinary procedures.  This referral option will generally be used when: (1) the type of behavior that is alleged to have occurred does not constitute a violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy; (2) the behavior that is alleged to have occurred is better handled under another disciplinary procedure; or (3) the information gathered overwhelmingly demonstrates that a violation did not occur.

b. Recommendation for Resolution.  If the Student HRO determines that there is a sufficient basis to believe that a violation occurred, and that the allegations presented would not normally result in the suspension or expulsion of the respondent, the parties to the case may be offered an administrative recommendation for resolution of the complaint.

The recommended resolution may include a variety of institutional responses or requirements, including, but not limited to, the following: warning, behavioral contracts, administrative referrals, community service hours, restitution, required attendance at educational programs, required assessment or counseling, mediation at the complainant's request,  restriction of privileges, parental notification and/or probation.  If all parties to the complaint agree in writing to the terms and conditions of the recommended resolution within five (5) business days, the respondent's education record will include a finding that the Joint Human Rights Policy was violated and the case will be resolved without further process under this procedure.  If all parties to the complaint do not agree in writing to the terms and conditions of the recommended resolution within five (5) business days, the complaint will be referred to an administrative hearing.

 c. Hearing
i. Administrative Hearings for Cases in Which Expulsion or Suspension is Not a Possible Sanction
If there is a sufficient basis to believe that the allegations presented, if proven to be more likely than not true and in violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy, would not result in the suspension or expulsion of the Respondent, but there is not agreement between the parties as to an appropriate resolution, the matter shall be referred for an administrative hearing process described below beginning with Step 4.a.

 ii. Committee Hearings in Cases in Which Suspension and Expulsion is a Possible Sanction
If there is a sufficient basis to believe that the allegations presented, if proven to be more likely than not true and in violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy, might result in the suspension or expulsion of the respondent, the case shall be referred to a committee hearing as described below beginning with Step 4.b.

Step 4:  Hearing
The purpose of the hearing is to formulate a decision as to whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy occurred, and if so, to determine appropriate sanction(s).

a. Administrative Hearing
.  If a matter has been referred for an administrative hearing, the Student HRO shall appoint two administrative hearing officers to consider and make a decision on the complaint.  The Student HRO shall ensure that all administrative hearing officers have received appropriate training on the Joint Human Rights Policy, these procedures, and applicable law.  If a matter has been referred for an administrative hearing, the administrative hearing process will commence within 10 business days of referral to an administrative hearing.

The administrative hearing officers shall review the complaint and investigation report and talk to each of the parties to the complaint.  The administrative hearing officers have the authority, in their discretion, to call witnesses or to review other information where they deem it necessary, but in most administrative hearings, witnesses will not be called and no additional information (beyond the investigation report and statements of the parties) will be reviewed.  Administrative hearings will not be recorded. The Student HRO shall be available to consult with administrative hearing officers and will be present at the administrative hearing to oversee the process.  The Student HRO may answer procedural question but shall not have a vote.

The administrative hearing officers will render a decision based upon the investigation report, additional statements provided by the parties to the complaint, and any other information the administrative hearing officer deems appropriate.  The administrative hearing officers will make a determination on whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Joint Human Rights policy occurred.  If the administrative hearing officers determine that it is more likely than not that the policy was violated, the administrative hearing officers shall determine the appropriate sanctions.  The decision of the administrative hearing officers following an administrative hearing may be appealed under Step 5.

b. Committee Hearing
i. Selection of Committee Members
A three person committee comprised of faculty and/or staff will be appointed on a case-by-case basis by the Student HRO.  Once selected, the committee will select a chair.  The Student HRO will also be present at the committee hearing(s) to oversee the process and will, if necessary, answer procedural question but shall not have a vote.

All committee members must have received training on the Joint Human Rights Policy, these procedures, and applicable law before serving on the committee.  The Student HRO will be responsible for ensuring that committee members have received training with regard to their duties, and that Advisors have been instructed as to their duties.

ii. Pre-Hearing Procedures
The committee hearing process shall commence no later than ten (10) business days following the referral, under Step 3, to a committee hearing.  Facts and circumstances may warrant a delay in some cases, however.

Following the appointment of the committee, the investigation file will be made available to the committee members.  The Student HRO will schedule the hearing and send a written notice of hearing to the parties no less than five (5) business days and no more than ten (10) business days prior to the date set for the hearing.  The notice of hearing will include the date, time, location and nature of the hearing, and the names of the committee members selected to hear the case.

The complainant or respondent may request the removal of a member of the committee on the grounds of personal bias by submitting a written statement to the Student HRO setting forth the basis for the challenge no later than two (2) business days after receiving the notice of the hearing.  The Student HRO will determine whether to accept or deny the challenge.  If the request is accepted, a replacement will be appointed to serve on the hearing committee.  The decision of the Student HRO with regard to the challenge is final and not appealable. 

The parties will be afforded the opportunity to meet with the Student HRO to discuss the hearing process prior to the hearing.  The investigation file will also be made available for review by the parties and their designated Advisors by making an appointment with the Student HRO during regular business hours. Confidential information in the investigation file that cannot be shared with the parties may be redacted from the file in accordance with applicable law.  The file cannot be copied or removed from the Student HRO's office or other location provided for review purposes.

At least three (3) business days prior to the hearing, the respondent and the complainant will provide to the Student HRO any written documentation to be presented, the names of any witnesses the respondent or complainant believes should be called by the committee at the hearing, and a summary of the factual information such witnesses may provide.

iii. Hearing Procedures
In order to preserve the confidential nature of the process, and to protect the privacy of all parties, hearings will be closed.

The committee chair will rule upon procedural matters.  Whether or not a witness is called is a decision which remains within the discretion of the committee.  The committee chair will call those witnesses whom the committee believes can provide information that will be helpful to the committee and probative of the issues presented by the complaint.  The committee may decide not to call a witness if the information to be provided by that witness is immaterial, irrelevant, unduly repetitious, or otherwise not helpful to the committee.  Similarly, the committee chair will determine what documentation and other information will be considered by the committee.

The hearing will be recorded. Except to the extent prohibited by law, copies of the recording(s) may be reviewed by the parties involved in the complaint, in a manner prescribed by the Student HRO.  Parties to a complaint will not be provided copies of the recordings.

iv. Presentation of the Case
The manner of presentation of the complaint to the committee will be as follows:

a) The complainant will be called to meet with the committee to provide a statement and to respond to the questions of the committee;

b) The respondent will be called to meet with the committee to provide a statement and to respond to the questions of the committee;

c) Other witnesses will be called individually to meet with the committee and to provide statements and to respond to the questions of the committee;

d) The complainant and respondent will be given the opportunity to review the statements and responses in a format designated by the Student HRO.  The complainant and the respondent may then request an opportunity to appear before the committee to make any additional statement they feel is necessary;

e) The committee may call additional witnesses, examine additional information, or recall the parties and/or any witnesses for further questioning before closing the hearing.

v. Hearing Panel Deliberations and Recommendations
Only the members of the hearing committee and the Student HRO may be present during deliberations.  The hearing committee will use a preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not standard) to determine whether a policy violation occurred.  The Student HRO is available for consultation, but will not participate in making a decision.

A simple majority of committee members is necessary to find that a violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy more likely than not occurred and to determine appropriate sanction(s).

The committee will render its decision and will communicate the decision to the Student HRO.  The decision of the committee will take the form of findings of fact, conclusions, and appropriate sanctions if a violation is found to have occurred.  The Student HRO is responsible for providing to the parties an appropriate notice of the outcome of the committee within five (5) business days of the close of the hearing.  This notice will also inform the parties of their right to an appeal as set forth at Step 5 below.

In the event that no appeal is filed within the time periods prescribed below, the decision of the hearing committee will be final.

Step 5:  Appeal from Hearing
Following the outcome of an administrative hearing or a committee hearing, the complainant or respondent may request an appeal of the decision.  The request for an appeal must be submitted in writing to the Vice President for Student Development of the institution of the appealing party within three (3) business days of receiving notice of the hearing outcome.  Failure to file an appeal or request an extension in a timely manner constitutes a waiver of any right to an appeal.

Generally, the basis for an appeal will be limited to the following:

  • The sanction is excessively severe or grossly inadequate;
  • New or newly discovered evidence may substantially affect the outcome of the hearing;
  • There was a procedural error which substantially affected the outcome of the hearing.

Appeals should not be requested frivolously.  An appeal conference is not a re-hearing; it represents a procedural safeguard for the parties.  In an appeal the burden of proof is shifted to the appealing party to show that it is more likely than not that one or more of the above grounds for appeal have merit.

The appeal request will be reviewed and considered by the Vice President(s) for Student Development of the institution(s) of the parties involved in the complaint.  If there is adequate reason to believe that one or more grounds for appeal may have merit, an appeal conference may be scheduled between the appealing party and the Vice President(s) for Student Development.  If, after such meeting, the Vice President(s) for Student Development continues to believe that the appeal may have merit, the Vice President(s) for Student Development will also meet with the non-appealing party.

 The Vice President(s) for Student Development of the institutions of the involved parties will determine whether it is more likely than not that an appeal has merit.

  • If the Vice President(s) of Student Development determine that a sanction is excessively severe or grossly inadequate, the Vice President(s) of Student Development will make an appropriate adjustment to the sanction. This decision is not appealable.
  • In the Vice President(s) of Student Development determine that new evidence is relevant to the outcome of the decision or that a procedural error occurred that substantially affected the outcome of the hearing, the Vice President(s) for Student Development will remand for a rehearing and instruct the appointment of new administrative hearing officers (for administrative hearings) or a new hearing committee (for committee hearings). If the matter is remanded back to the original or new administrative hearing officers or hearing committee, the new decision of the administrative hearing officers or hearing committee may be appealed under this Step 5.
  • If the Vice President(s) of Student Development determine that it is more likely than not that a procedural error occurred, but that the procedural error did not substantially affect the outcome, the administrative hearing officers' or hearing committee's decision is final, but the Vice President(s) of Student Development shall work with appropriate institutional officials to ensure that the procedural error does not reoccur.

B. Complaint Procedure if the Respondent is a Faculty or Staff Member
Any member of the community who has a concern about potential violations of the Joint Human Rights Policy by a faculty or staff member should meet with the Faculty/Staff HRO (or in the case of a student's concern, may also meet with the Dean(s) of Students or Student HRO) to discuss their concerns, determine options going forward, and learn about other resources available.  To make a Complaint under this procedure, the following steps will generally be followed:

Step 1:  Initiation of Complaint
Any member of the community may initiate the Complaint Procedure.  This complaint process may be initiated by submitting a signed and completed complaint form to the Faculty/Staff HRO Student HRO, or a Dean of Students.  The complaint form should contain sufficient detail to enable the Faculty/Staff HRO (and in cases involving students, the Student HRO/) to make a determination as to whether the complaint falls within the policy.  Forms are available from the Faculty/Staff HRO, the Student HRO, Dean(s) of Students, and on the CSB/SJU website. http://www.csbsju.edu/Human-Rights/Human-Rights/Reporting-Forms.htm

Step 2:  Investigation
Following the submission of the complaint form and a determination that the complaint falls within the policy, an investigation will be conducted by SJU Life Safety, CSB Campus Security, or an appointed outside investigator.  The investigator may interview the complainant, respondent and/or other witnesses or request additional information from the complainant, respondent or others.  A written summary of the results of the investigation and relevant documents, if any, will be provided to the Faculty/Staff HRO and, in cases involving students, the Student HRO.  Every attempt will be made to complete the investigation process within ten (10) business days of the filing of the complaint, but in some cases more time will be required.  If a criminal complaint has been filed, CSB's and/or SJU's investigation may be temporarily delayed to allow law enforcement to gather evidence.  Such delay may only occur at the request of law enforcement and shall not be any longer than necessary for law enforcement to complete the gathering of evidence.  In no case will CSB and SJU wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding to begin their own investigation.

Step 3:  Determination
Upon completion of the investigation, the Faculty/Staff HRO and, if the case involves a student, the Student HRO, shall review the investigator's findings and may, in her or his/their discretion, request additional investigation by the investigator or another appropriate individual.  The Faculty/Staff HRO will also ensure that the complainant and respondent have been given equivalent opportunities to present relevant information for consideration in the investigation process.  If the investigation is complete and appropriate, the Faculty/Staff HRO shall use the investigator's written summary and other appropriate information to prepare an investigation report and provide it to the appropriate administrative officer for a determination of whether it is more likely than not that the Joint Human Rights Policy has been violated.

In cases of an alleged violation by a staff member, the Director of Human Resources will generally serve as the administrative officer.  In cases of an alleged violation by a faculty member, the Vice Provost will generally serve as the administrative officer.  An alternative administrative officer may be appointed by the Provost, President, or the President's designee in cases involving a conflict of interest, the appearance of a conflict of interest, or in other appropriate circumstances.  The administrative officer will have received training on the Joint Human Rights Policy, these procedures, and applicable law before rendering any decision and may consult with the Faculty/Staff HRO about such topics.

The administrative officer shall review the complaint and investigation report and shall determine whether it is more likely than not that the Joint Human Rights Policy was violated.  The administrative officer may, in his or her discretion, request additional information.  The Faculty/Staff HRO of the involved institutions shall be available to consult with the administrative officer.

a. Determination of No Violation
If the administrative officer determines that there is not sufficient basis to believe that it is more likely than not that a violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy occurred, the Faculty/Staff HRO will provide a notice of outcome to the parties and the complainant will be informed of other procedures for resolving the complaint and of other resources that may be available to complainant.

b. Determination of Violation
If the administrative officer determines that it is more likely than not that a faculty member has violated the Joint Human Rights Policy, the matter will be referred to the Provost for appropriate sanctions, which shall be determined and administered in a manner consistent with the Faculty Handbook.  Appropriate sanctions include, but are not limited to unpaid suspensions, suspension of promotion and salary increments, suspension or withdrawal of faculty privileges, and dismissal.  In referring a finding of a violation by a faculty member to the Provost for sanctions, the administrative officer shall state whether the evidence establishes a violation by "clear and convincing evidence" such that dismissal for cause may be considered as a possible sanction under Section 2.13.6.5 of the Faculty Handbook.

If the administrative officer determines that it is more likely than not that a staff member has violated the Joint Human Rights Policy, the staff member's supervisor, in consultation with the Director of Human Resources and Divisional Vice President, shall determine the appropriate sanctions, which shall be determined and administered in a manner consistent with the Administrative and Support Staff Handbook.

The parties to a complaint will be provided an appropriate notice of outcome.

Step 4:  Appeal
A party may appeal only on the grounds that CSB/SJU failed to follow the procedures set forth in this Complaint Procedure.  A party who wishes to appeal shall submit a written statement of appeal no later than ten (10) business days after receiving the notice of outcome.

An appeal should not be requested frivolously.  An appeal represents a procedural safeguard for the parties.  The appealing party must show that it is more likely than not that the grounds for the appeal have merit.

 a. Staff Members
The appeal shall be directed to the Vice President of Student Development of the institution of the appealing party.  If the complaint involves parties from both institutions, the Vice President of Student Development who has received the appeal shall involve the Vice President of Student Development of the other institution and they shall consider and decide the appeal together.  If the Vice President(s) of Student Development determine that there is adequate reason to believe that the appeal may have merit, an appeal conference may be scheduled between the appealing party and the Vice President(s) of Student Development.  If, after such meeting, the Vice President(s) of Student Development continue to believe that the appeal may have merit, the Vice President(s) of Student Development will also meet with the non-appealing party.

The Vice President(s) of Student Development will determine whether it is more likely than not that CSB/SJU failed to follow the procedures set forth in this Complaint Procedure.

  • If the Vice President(s) of Student Development determine that it is not more likely than not that a procedural error occurred, the administrative officer's decision is final.
  • If the Vice President(s) of Student Development determine that it is more likely than not that a procedural error occurred, but that the procedural error did not substantially affect the outcome, the administrative officer's decision is final, but the Faculty/Staff HRO shall work with appropriate institutional officials to ensure that the procedural error does not recur.
  • If the Vice President(s) of Student Development determine that it is more likely than not that a procedural error occurred, and the procedural error substantially affected the outcome of the proceeding, the administrative officer's decision shall be overturned.  The Vice President(s) of Student Development shall issue a new decision that remedies the procedural error or appoint an alternative decision-maker to make a new decision and take other appropriate steps to correct the procedural error.

The decision of the Vice President(s) of Student Development as to whether a procedural error occurred is final.

 b. Faculty Members
The appeal shall be directed to the Director of Human Resources.  The Director of Human Resources shall review the records of the proceedings to determine whether the procedures of this policy have been followed.  Before rendering a decision, the Director of Human Resources may, but is not required to, request additional information or schedule a conference with the appealing and non-appealing parties.  The Director of Human Resources will then communicate to the President(s) of the institutions of the involved parties, a decision with respect to the appeal.

The President(s) of the institution of the involved parties will decide whether to adopt the Director of Human Resources' decision.

  • If the President(s) adopt the Director of Human Resources' determination that it is not more likely than not that a procedural error occurred, the administrative officer's decision shall be final.
  • If the President(s) adopt the Director of Human Resources' determination that it is more likely than not that a procedural error occurred, but that the procedural error did not substantially affect the outcome, the administrative officer's decision shall be final, but the Director of Human Resources shall direct the Faculty/Staff HRO to work with appropriate institutional officials to ensure that the procedural error does not recur.
  • If the President(s) adopt the Director of Human Resources' determination that it is more likely than not that a procedural error occurred, and that the procedural error substantially affected the outcome of the proceeding, the Director of Human Resources shall remand the case to the administrative officer with specific recommendations approved by the President(s).  The Human Resources Director, with the consent of the President(s), may also, in his or her discretion, appoint an alternative administrative officer to handle the complaint and recommendations on remand.

The decision of the President(s) on appeal is final.

C. Complaint Procedure if the Respondent is an Associate or Third Party

Any member of the community who has a concern about potential violations of the Joint Human Rights Policy by an Associate or third party should report their concern to the Faculty/Staff HRO or Student HRO.

Upon receiving a report of potential violation of the Joint Human Rights Policy by an Associate or third party, the Faculty/Staff HRO and/or Student HRO will involve the appropriate administrative officials to make a determination of how to handle the issue.  The administrative official, in consultation with the Faculty/Staff HRO and/or Student HRO may exercise discretion to determine an appropriate investigative and decision making process based on the facts and circumstances.  The administrative official will document the report received, process used, and the outcome and will submit such information to the Faculty/Staff HRO and/or Student HRO.  CSB/SJU will notify the parties and, if applicable, employing entities that contract with CSB/SJU, of the outcome of the complaint.  Associates and third parties may not appeal the decision made.  Any party with concerns about the process or outcome, however, should consult with the Faculty/Staff HRO and/or Student HRO.

VII. CONTACT INFORMATION

COLLEGE OF SAINT BENEDICT
Faculty/Staff Human Rights Officer and Deputy Title IX Coordinator  
Judy Bednar, jbednar@csbsju.edu, 320-363-5071

Student Human Rights Officer 
Brandyn Woodard, blwoodard@csbsju.edu, 320-363-5455 (CSB)

Chief of Staff/Exec. Asst. to CSB President and Lead Title IX Coordinator 
Kathryn Enke, kenke@csbsju.edu, 320-363-5070

Security Director
Darren Swanson, dswanson@csbsju.edu, 320-363-5000


SAINT JOHN'S UNIVERSITY (including School of Theology)
Faculty/Staff Human Rights Officer and Deputy Title IX Coordinator 
Judy Bednar, jbednar@csbsju.edu, 320-363-5071

Student Human Rights Officer 
Brandyn Woodard, blwoodard@csbsju.edu320-363-3799(SJU)

Exec. Assistant to SJU President and Lead Title IX Coordinator
Patti Epsky, pepsky@csbsju.edu, 320-363-2246

Life Safety Services Director
Shawn Vierzba, svierzba@csbsju.edu, 320-363-2144

Dean of the SJU School of Theology•Seminary 
Bill Cahoy, bcahoy@csbsju.edu, 320-363-3182

Rector of the SJU School of Theology•Seminary 
Michael Patella, mpatella@csbsju.edu, 320-363-2108


If any changes are made in the persons holding these positions, current information will be available on the CSB/SJU web site.

Updated July 2013