Grinnell College employs a nondiscrimination policy with regard to race, national or ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, creed, or disability. A complete description of this policy can be found at the nondiscrimination policy page.
While the College complies with all applicable laws regarding nondiscrimination, it recognizes the possibility that complaints may arise and must be resolved promptly and equitably. The federal regulations implementing these statutes require that the College establish grievance procedures to resolve student and employee complaints alleging any action prohibited by these acts.
Because of these requirements and in accordance with its commitment to nondiscrimination, the College has adopted complaint procedures. To discuss the situation or to file a complaint, students are directed to contact the Vice-President for Student Affairs. Other members of the College community are directed to contact the Vice-President for Diversity and Achievement, and the Office of the President.
Grievance Procedures for Harassment Complaints of a Student by a Faculty or Staff Member
A student who believes he/she/zi is being subjected to any form of discrimination or harassment by a faculty member, administrative or support staff member is encouraged to seek advice and guidance from the Vice-President for Student Affairs (or designee). The student will be provided a copy of Grinnell College Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures for Resolving Complaints document.
Grievance Procedures for Harassment Complaints of a Student by a Student
College policies call for the exercise of good will, respect, and fairness among all of the College’s constituencies. In interpersonal relations, the College seeks to guard against any action or behavior that demeans a student’s dignity or limits one’s freedom to live and work productively on campus. Although the incidence of such allegations or occurrences is small, the College maintains procedures designed to solve such problems when they arise.
No person shall be the recipient of discrimination or harassment based on race, national or ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, creed, or disability. Students who believe they are recipients of discrimination or harassment by another student may wish at first to speak or write to the student engaging in such conduct. Some individuals are often not aware of the way in which their actions or words affect others, and communicating one’s feelings may resolve the matter by discouraging any further unwanted conduct.
While the College cannot guarantee that a student will not be subject to any form of discrimination or harassment by a student, the following procedures are available to any individual who believes that he or she is the victim of such conduct, regardless of the basis.
A student who believes that he/she/zi is being or has been subjected to harassment by a student may seek advice on the matter from either the Dean of Students (or designee). The Dean will discuss any incident, and will explain the formal grievance procedure and options with the College Hearing Board. The College reserves the right to pursue formal action. Crimes reported to the administration that pose a risk to the campus community will be immediately reported to the Campus Safety and Security Department and/or the Grinnell Police Department.
Before any procedure is instituted the President of the College, or the Vice-President for Student Affairs (acting on behalf of the President), is authorized to immediately suspend any student who might endanger themselves or a member of the College community, College programs, or College property.
If interim withdrawal or suspension is to be imposed, the President or Vice-President for Student Affairs will so inform the student in writing. Within a reasonable period of time of the suspension, the President or the Vice-President for Student Affairs will ask the College Hearing Board to consider the case, and the board will use the procedures found in the College Hearing Board and Judicial Council section of this on-line Student Handbook to conduct this hearing.
Formal Grievance Procedure
A student who believes that she/he/zi is being or has been subjected to harassment by a student may obtain a complaint form from either the Dean of Students (or designee). The student may choose to pursue the matter under these procedures or with the College Hearing Board.
If the student chooses to pursue the matter under these procedures, the complaint form should be completed as soon as possible after the incident giving rise to the complaint. The person to whom the complaint is made (i.e., either the Dean of Students, or designee) is responsible for handling the complaint until it is appealed to or referred to the Vice-President for Student Affairs (or designee) or the procedure is terminated as explained below. The Student Affairs dean(s) may also refer the case to the College Hearing Board at any time.
Upon receipt of the signed complaint form, the person handling the case will conduct a preliminary screening of the matter. The purpose of this screening is to ascertain whether the conduct described in the complaint constitutes “harassment” under this policy. If the person handling the complaint determines that the matter is outside the scope of the procedure, he/she/zi may refuse to accept the complaint, but shall engage in informal consultation with the complainant. The person handling the case shall provide a written explanation to the complainant of the reasons for refusing to accept the complaint. The complainant may appeal the decision to refuse to process a complaint to the Vice-President for Student Affairs (or designee).
If the Vice-President for Student Affairs (or designee) agrees to proceed after the preliminary screening, the person handling the complaint will inform the respondent of the nature of the complaint. The person handling the complaint will give the person charged an opportunity to respond in writing using the “statement of response form.” The respondent must respond within two business days after receiving the notification. The response time may be extended by the person handling the complaint.
If no response to the charges is received within two business days of notification (or within such longer period as is established by the person handling the complaint), the complaint will be referred to the College Hearing Board.
Upon receipt of a written response to the complaint, the person handling the complaint will attempt to resolve the matter in a mutually-satisfactory manner. The mutually-satisfactory resolution may include the imposition of a penalty if agreed to by the respondent. At this stage of the proceedings the person handling the complaint has no authority to unilaterally impose any sanction.
If the person handling the complaint is unable to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of both parties, she/he/zi will again review the matter to determine whether in his/her/hir opinion a formal hearing is warranted. If the person handling the complaint determines that a formal hearing is not warranted, the Student Affairs dean will notify both the complainant and respondent. The Student Affairs dean shall provide the complainant with an explanation of reasons. The complainant may appeal this decision to the Vice-President for Student Affairs (or designee). If the person handling the complaint believes a formal hearing is warranted, he/she/zi will refer the matter to the College Hearing Board.