Policy Name: Complaint and
Maintenance: Administration and Compliance (Civil Rights Compliance Officer)
This Complaint and Grievance Policy provides a
uniform process for resolving disputes arising under the policies of Onondaga
Community College with specific focus on non-discrimination and non-harassment
policies, including, but not limited to:
Policy A10-Student Requests for Accommodation Under the ADA; Policy B16-Whistleblower Policy;
C10-Admission of Ex-Offenders; D6-Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and
Stalking Prevention; Policy I1-Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and Student
Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy; I3-ADA Policy (for employees);
and, I5-Non-Discrimination/Non-Harassment and the Obligation to Report. In addition, this Policy and its related
processes may be used as a single point of entry to resolve complaints and grievances
filed by students relating to subjects other than
non-discrimination and non-harassment.
To the extent that a college non-discrimination
and/or anti-harassment policy is affected by more specific contractual rights;
legal rights provided by federal, state, or local law; and/or rights accorded
by the State University of New York or the Onondaga Community College Board of
Trustees, the more specific policy will apply. For example, student conduct issues will be
resolved under the procedures documented in Policy N5-Student Conduct and
Disciplinary Procedures "The Code," and claims of employee misconduct
will be resolved consistent with the collective bargaining agreement, if any,
applicable to an accused employee.
II. Reason for Policy
Onondaga Community College does not discriminate
and prohibits members of the College community from discriminating on the basis
of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age,
disability, predisposing genetic characteristics or carrier status, military
service or veteran status, marital status, or any other characteristic
protected by law. This Policy creates a
centralized process by which individuals may file a complaint or grievance
alleging: discrimination, harassment, or
improper handling by the College of a discrimination or harassment matter.
In addition, the College seeks to provide an
accessible and easily understood process to review and resolve complaints and
grievances filed by students relating to subjects other than
non-discrimination and non-harassment.
of the Policy
This policy applies to all members of the College
community seeking to make a complaint or grievance related to discrimination
and/or harassment. This policy also
applies to all students seeking to make a complaint or grievance relating to
discrimination and/or harassment and/or any other subject.
Statutes and Documents
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 34 CFR
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 34
CFR Part 106
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 34
CFR Part 104
- Vocational Education Programs Guidelines for
Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color,
and National Origin, Sex and Handicap, 34 CFR Part 100, Appendix B
- Title II of the Americans with Disability Act of
1990, 28 CFR Part 35, as amended
- NYS Human Rights Law, Chapter 18, Consolidated Laws
of New York
- http://www.sunyocc.edu/index.aspx?id=34776 (Title IX Information)
- http://system.suny.edu/media/suny/content-assets/documents/sexualviolenceprevention/SUNY-Policies-Sexual-Violence-Prevention-Response-Dec012014.pdf (State University of New York Policies on
Violence Prevention and Response)
- Policy N5-Student Conduct and Disciplinary
- Policy A10-Student Requests for Accommodation
Under the ADA
- Policy B16-Whistleblower Policy
- Policy C10-Admission of Ex-Offenders
- Policy D6-Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and
- Policy I1-Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and
Student Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy
- Policy I3-ADA Policy (for employees)
- Policy I5-Non-Discrimination/Non-Harassment and
the Obligation to Report.
Administration and Compliance
IX Coordinator & Civil Rights Compliance Officer
Complaint: A claim that:
Grievance: A claim against the College
itself, typically alleging that College policies or procedures have been
misconstrued or misapplied resulting in the denial of a right provided by
College policy, contract, or applicable federal, state, or local laws.
- College policy or an applicable law has been
- The complaining individual has been impacted by
that violation or the complaining individual is the College itself (e.g.,
Department of Campus Safety & Security, Office of Human Resources) acting
to address concerns that College policy has been violated resulting in harm to
a specific individual(s) or the College community as a whole;
- The accused individual is a student or employee of
the College; and,
- The violation occurred on College owned, operated,
or controlled property or at any location affecting the mission of the College
and/or the well-being of the College community.
Formal Complaint or Grievance:
A formal complaint or grievance is made in
writing by an identified person and allows for a full investigation and
resolution of the matter.
Informal Complaint or Grievance:
An informal complaint or grievance is one
that is submitted anonymously or with insufficient documentation
to confirm the allegations. Informal
complaints or grievances will be investigated and acted upon to the extent reasonably
practicable under the circumstances.
1. An informal complaint or grievance may be brought
to the attention of the Civil Rights Compliance Officer for consultation,
resource referral, investigation (to the extent reasonably practicable under
the circumstances), and/or documentation for future reference. If warranted, as determined by the initial
investigation, a reporting individual may be encouraged to file a formal
complaint. Moreover, in appropriate
circumstances, the College itself may file a formal complaint or take other
action to address discrimination and/or other violations of College
policy. The results of these follow up
efforts will be documented and shared, to the extent permissible under
applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and policies, with the individual
making the informal complaint or grievance, if his or her identity is known.
2. A formal complaint or grievance must be submitted
Prompt filing of a complaint or grievance is
encouraged as investigation can become more difficult as time passes. In general, complaints or grievances filed
after 180 days from the date that the alleged violation becomes known to the
reporting individual will be considered untimely unless, in the sole discretion
of the Civil Rights Compliance Officer, the reporting individual shows
compelling reasons for the delay.
the name, address, and contact information of the person submitting the
complaint or grievance;
to the best of the complaining party's knowledge, the facts alleged to have
- State the
type of violation alleged to have occurred (e.g., discrimination and/or
harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability) and/or
the policy or policies alleged to have been violated or misapplied; and
any additional facts or circumstances relevant to the matter, including contact
information, if known, for any other involved parties.
3. The Civil Rights Compliance Officer, or his or her
designee, will review the complaint or grievance to determine whether it is
informal or formal and to identify whether the matter should be resolved via
the Complaint and Grievance Policy or a more specific policy. This determination will be made in
consultation with other campus personnel serving as points of entry into
complaint and grievance policies and processes of the College. If a complaint or grievance is determined to
fall within a process applicable to specific subject matter or persons (e.g.,
collective bargaining dispute resolution processes), then the matter will be
referred to the individual with responsibility for that process who will act as
the designee of the Civil Rights Compliance Officer in applying the appropriate
process. The individual filing the
complaint or grievance and the individual or College unit alleged to have
committed a violation will be notified in writing, generally within ten (10)
College business days, of the forum determined to have jurisdiction over the
complaint or grievance, as well as the related procedures. The Civil Rights Compliance Officer will
monitor the progress of the matter through to resolution.
4. All complaints and grievances determined to fall
within this Policy will be fully investigated, either by the Department of
Campus Safety & Security, or by the Civil Rights Compliance Officer, who
has been trained to conduct investigations, including Title IX investigations,
and dispute resolution processes, or by a trained designee of the Civil Rights
Compliance Officer. That investigation
will include interviews of involved parties and witnesses and review of
available documentary or electronic evidence.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Civil Rights Compliance
Officer will determine whether the matter can be resolved appropriately by
agreement of all parties or whether the matter requires a hearing or other
5. Formal dispute resolution will occur consistent
with the procedures of the forum determined to have jurisdiction over the
matter. If there is no specific forum
with jurisdiction, then the process that will be used is as follows:
where the President of the College is the subject of the grievance or
complaint, the Civil Rights Compliance Officer will select a hearing officer to
review the formal complaint and relevant materials obtained in the course of
the investigation and to conduct a formal hearing. The hearing officer will be trained in
concepts of fundamental fairness and due process and will be advised in the
course of the adjudication process by the College’s General Counsel, or his or
her designee. In cases where the College
President is the subject of the grievance or complaint, the Chair of the Board
of Trustees will identify the hearing officer(s) from among the Trustees.
to the matter will be provided with written notice of the time and place of the
formal hearing, together with a statement of the claim(s) to be considered, at
least five (5) College business days prior to the hearing. This notice period made be modified for just
cause and with appropriate notice to the parties.
may be advised in the process by an individual of their choosing provided that
the adviser provides advice to the party in a manner that is non-disruptive of
party may make an opening statement (reporting/complaining party followed by
responding party) and then present relevant documents and testimony, including
the testimony of witnesses (reporting/complaining party followed by responding
party). The hearing officer will
determine the relevance of documents and testimony offered as evidence.
standard of proof to be applied by the hearing officer in reaching a conclusion
is a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., whether it is “more likely than not”
that the violation occurred and the responding party committed that violation).
f. To the
extent permitted by applicable laws and contracts, the parties will receive
written notice of the hearing officer’s decision, the rationale for that
decision, and the actions, if any, to be implemented. This notice will be sent within five (5)
College business days of the conclusion of the hearing and deliberations
6. Any party that is dissatisfied with the decision
reached may file a written objection within five (5) business days of delivery
of the written decision with the Civil Rights Compliance Officer. Except where the College President is the
subject of the grievance or complaint, any objection(s) received will be
reviewed by the College President, or his or her designee, who will approve,
disapprove, or modify the decision. In
matters where the College President is the subject of the grievance or
complaint, the Chair of the Board of Trustees will conduct this final
review. The decision of the College
President, or his or her designee, or the Chair of the College’s Board of
Trustees, will be communicated in writing, generally within fifteen (15)
business days, and is final.
7. Extensions of any deadline provided for by these
procedures may be granted for compelling reasons by the Civil Rights Compliance
Officer, or his or her designee, with written notice to all parties.
8. A party seeking additional review of a Civil
Rights-related complaint or grievance following the final determination of the
College may at any time contact:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)—Enforcement
U.S. Department of Education
32 Old Slip, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10005-2500
*The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S.
Department of Education generally requires that complaints either be filed
within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory incident(s) or within 60 days of
receipt of the determination reached by the institution regarding an internal
grievance or complaint, whichever is later.
Further, OCR does not have an exhaustion requirement and accepts
complaints from complainants who never filed internal complaints or grievances.
New York State Division of Human Rights
333 E. Washington Street, Room 543
Syracuse, NY 13202
9. A record of each action handled through this Policy
will be maintained by the Civil Rights Compliance Officer, consistent with
College policy on records retention.
10. The College will maintain the confidentiality of
the process to the extent permitted by law or contract and to the extent
reasonably practicable under the circumstances.
The College’s Civil Rights Compliance Officer has
general responsibility for ensuring institutional compliance with applicable
non-discrimination and non-harassment laws and policies, including Title IX of
the Education Amendments of 1972. The
Civil Rights Compliance Officer serves as a central point of entry to the
Complaint and Grievance Policy and related processes.
The Civil Rights Compliance Officer is:
Anastasia L. Urtz
4585 West Seneca Turnpike
207A Whitney Applied Technology Center
Syracuse, NY 13215
The College also maintains numerous other points
of entry to the Complaint and Grievance process, including the following:
- Vice President, Human Resources, or his or her
designee (employee concerns), 100 JS Coyne Hall, 315-498-6019, firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Vice President, Student Engagement, or his or her designee (student concerns, including ADA and
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act), 220 Gordon Hall, 315-498-2119, email@example.com;
- Senior Vice President and Provost, or his or her
designee (academic concerns), 104 Whitney Applied Technology Center,
- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, or his or her designee
(financial misconduct concerns), 200 JS Coyne Hall, 315-498-2268, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Third-party, 24-hour, anonymous and confidential
reporting service (any concern). Reports
may be submitted at www.fraudhl.com
(Company ID: SUNYOCC) or (toll-free): 1-855-FRAUD-HL (1-855-372-8345).
These various points of entry will operate in
coordination with the Civil Rights Compliance Officer to ensure that applicable
policies and procedures of the College are observed consistently.
Individuals wishing to file a complaint or
grievance will receive assistance in doing so, including reasonable
accommodations for persons with disabilities, either from the Civil Rights Compliance
Officer, or his or her designee, or from one of the other points of entry
listed above, as appropriate to the circumstances.
Approved by the OCC Board of Trustees September 27,