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Grievance Procedure

In any organization, occasionally there will be conflicts and misunderstandings that require clarification or resolution. Hampshire College believes that the best way to resolve problems is to address them fully and fairly. To that end, students are encouraged to immediately discuss any problem or perceived unfair treatment with a representative of the Dean of Students office. However, if such informal methods do not resolve the problem, the grievance procedure below is available.  The College is committed to working with students to resolve disputes or grievances.

A.    Applicability of this Policy
The issues which may be addressed through this grievance procedure are the interpretation and application of this policy provisions.  More specifically, this procedure does not address sexual assault, sexual exploitation, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual or gender-based harassment. Those categories of prohibited conduct are governed by the College’s Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking Policy, which establishes separate procedures that outline how the College assesses, investigates and resolves reports of such prohibited conduct against student respondents (Appendix A) and employee respondents (Appendix B).  See https://www.hampshire.edu/offices/title-ix

Grievances related to academic freedom and faculty reappointment and promotions are not subject to this grievance procedure. They are governed by the Faculty Handbook.

B.    Procedures
Submitting a Written Grievance

If after speaking with a representative from the Dean of Students office, you believe your complaint or concern was not adequately addressed, you may begin the grievance procedure by submitting a written statement of grievance to the Chief Diversity Officer. Such submissions
should be undertaken in a reasonable timeframe, generally no later than thirty (30)
days following the circumstance giving rise to your grievance. The Chief Diversity Officer may participate in the investigation.

If the grievance includes allegations of sexual assault, sexual exploitation, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual or gender-based harassment, it will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, pursuant to the Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking Policy.  See https://www.hampshire.edu/offices/title-ix

Any grievances submitted after thirty (30) days should contain an explanation for the delay in filing, and will be reviewed to determine whether they are timely.

The grievance statement should include your name and contact information, the nature of the grievance including a detailed account of the grievance, information about whom you discussed the issue with, why you do not believe that is an appropriate response, and a suggested resolution.

If upon review of this written grievance, the Chief Diversity Officer believes there is a way to
resolve the problem, they will reach out to you and attempt to resolve the matter.

The Chief Diversity Officer will review the grievance statement and endeavor to provide a written response within a reasonable amount of time. If necessary, the Chief Diversity Officer may assign another administrator or external party to conduct an investigation into the matter and may discuss the problem with you and all parties involved including witnesses. The Chief Diversity Officer has the discretion to refer these matters to a student conduct process for instances where a grievance is filed against another student.  The Student Conduct process is detailed in the Conduct Meeting and Hearing section in the Student Handbook. (For employee respondents, the procedures outlined in the Employee Handbook will be applied).

If you wish to appeal the outcome of the grievance procedure, you may ask that the statement be sent to a Vice President, or their designee, for review and response.  For purposes of this provision, the Vice Presidents of the College are the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, the Vice President for Finance and Administration, and the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

The Vice President or their designee will review the grievance and attempt to resolve the situation. The Vice President or their designee may conduct a further investigation and schedule a meeting between you and any relevant individuals. The decision of the Vice President or their designee is final and not subject to appeal.

C.    Sanctions
If a student is found responsible for a violation of College policy through this grievance process the College will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Information about student sanctions can be found in the Student Handbook Sanctions section.  This list is not an exhaustive list and any sanction or combination of sanctions may be imposed.

If an employee is found responsible for a violation of College policy through this grievance process, the College will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances.  Information about employee sanctions can be found in the Employee Handbook section.  This list is not an exhaustive list and any sanction or combination of sanctions may be imposed.

D.    Additional Information
This policy does not limit the College’s authority to discipline or take remedial action for conduct that is unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definitions of discrimination and harassment above.  

This is an internal process, and while a student may seek legal advice, their counsel may not actively participate in the process.

The College understands that these matters can be extremely sensitive and will protect
privacy but reserves the right to share information with individuals who may have a need to know in order to ensure compliance with this policy.

Hampshire College will not tolerate retaliation against any individual who seeks assistance with a problem or avails themselves of this process.