E. Procedures for Student Grievances Involving Charges of Discrimination
Any student at Illinois Tech who believes that they have received discriminatory treatment in violation of Illinois Tech’s stated policy of equal opportunity in education should communicate, either in writing or in person, with the Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (for purposes of this Section E, the “Director”), IIT Tower, 10 W. 35th Street, 13th Floor, 312.567.3353. It will be expected that the grievant shall have exhausted all available recourse through normal channels of communication for arriving at a resolution within the department or the organizational unit within which the discriminatory treatment is alleged to have occurred prior to lodging a formal complaint of discrimination hereunder. Such complaint shall, in any event, be filed in writing with the Director within 15 calendar days of the occurrence of the alleged treatment. (Note: The Grievance Committee procedures outlined in Subsections 2 through 4 below are not intended to replace or to serve as a substitute for or to allow for the re-adjudication of matters that have been brought before and resolved by other recognized formal methods for addressing the grievance (as defined below), such as, but not limited to, those provided by the Code of Conduct, the Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual and comparable methods.)
1. Preliminary Procedures
The grievant shall prepare and present to the Director a written statement describing in detail the nature of the grievance and identifying the person, organizational unit or institutional practice or regulation against which the charge of discrimination is lodged, including the facts and circumstances that the grievant deems relevant to the charge (which will be termed the “grievance”). The Director will inquire into facts pertaining to the grievance and will make informal attempts to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of both the grievant and the person or organizational unit against which the charge of discrimination has been brought. Subject to any required legal obligations and to the extent practicable while still allowing for the investigation of the grievance, this preliminary process will be conducted with the degree of confidentiality that the aggrieved person wishes.
2. Composition of Grievance Committee
If resolution is not accomplished by informal means, a copy of such grievance shall be sent to the individual or organizational unit alleged to have engaged in a discriminatory practice and the Director will then refer the grievance to a “Grievance Committee” to be comprised as follows:
- A tenured faculty member from within the college, institute or school with which the grievant is associated, to be appointed by the Provost;
- The chair of the University Faculty Council Committee on Student Affairs or a member of that committee whom the chair shall designate to act in the chair’s stead;
- The chair of the University Faculty Council Committee on Academic Grievances or a member of the committee whom the chair shall designate to act in the chair’s stead;
- A member of the staff from outside the college or school with which the grievant is identified, to be appointed by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources; and
- A student not from the same department as the grievant, appointed by Vice Provost of Student Affairs and Dean of Students/designee after consultation with the Student Government Association.
After the grievance is disclosed to those selected to serve on the Grievance Committee, any member who believes that a conflict of interest might be inferred by their participation in hearing the specific grievance may submit to the Provost a request for replacement along with the reasons for making such request. The Provost or designee will make the decision as to whether the member should be excused from or retained on the committee. If the decision is to excuse the petitioner, a replacement will be appointed in the same manner as the person who was excused.
After composition of the Grievance Committee to hear a specific grievance has been determined, the Grievance Committee shall select a chair from among its membership.
3. Grievance Committee Procedure
At the initial meeting of the Grievance Committee, where the chair is selected by the Committee’s members, the Grievance Committee will also establish a hearing date. The chair will communicate to the parties the date of the hearing and names of the members of the Grievance Committee. Notice of the hearing date and members must be provided to the parties within at least five calendar days of the date for the hearing. Any involved party who believes a member of the Grievance Committee may have a conflict of interest may request that such person be excused; provided that the party must do so within two calendar days of receipt of the notice or the party will be deemed to have waived their right to so object. Such a request must be submitted in writing with reasons for the request to the Provost or designee, who will decide whether or not to grant the request. If the decision is made to excuse that person, a replacement will be appointed in the same manner as the person who was excused.
Each involved party may be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing, but the advisor is limited to advising and may not participate in presenting the case, questioning witnesses, or making statements during the hearing. At the hearing, the grievant and the involved parties will be given an opportunity to make a statement as to the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged discriminatory practice. Each party may present any witnesses whose statements would be helpful in presenting or defending the charge. At the discretion of the Grievance Committee, additional witnesses may be granted the opportunity to make statements. The Grievance Committee may question any of the participants in the hearing, as it deems such inquiry necessary to its determination of the issues involved. An audio tape recording of the hearing will be made. The tape will remain the property of Illinois Tech. No other recording of the proceeding may be made.
After the hearing, the Grievance Committee will review the grievance and submit a written report to the Provost. Such determination will include a summary of the operative facts and an opinion as to the validity of the grievance. The report may include a recommendation as to any further action to be taken.
The Provost will then consider the Grievance Committee’s findings and decide on feasible and appropriate action for Illinois Tech to take in the disposition of the charge. Such decision shall be communicated to the grievant, the charged party and the Director. In the event that the Provost should be named in the grievant’s charge, the President shall designate the Provost’s replacement for implementing these procedures. The decision of the Provost shall be final, except that the grievant or the charged party may request, within five calendar days of the decision’s communication, that the Provost reconsider their decision; provided, however, any such request must be based only on one or both of the following considerations: (i) the procedures outlined above were not substantially followed and such occurrence reasonably could be deemed to have impacted the outcome; and (ii) new evidence that was not available at the time of the original decision, due to no fault or lack of diligence of the grievant, has become available.
4. General Rules
a. Illinois Tech will not be responsible for any expenses incurred by students pursuing any grievances.
b. Students will have the right to present a grievance without prejudice or retaliation.
c. The time limitations established herein are deemed to be binding on all parties involved and will not be waived without the written consent of all parties.