Grievance Procedures

Youngstown State University Title IX Grievance Procedures

The following principles and procedures (collectively known as the Title IX Grievance Procedures) shall be utilized by the Title IX Coordinator to address complaints involving all forms of sex discrimination (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence) against employees, students, or third parties, in the University’s educational programs and activities (Title IX complaints):

1. General Principles

  1. For the purpose of the Title IX Grievance Procedures, “University Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Coordinator” shall mean the University Title IX Coordinator and/or his or her designee(s); an individual alleging discrimination shall be known as the grievant and the individual who is alleged to have engaged in discrimination shall be known as the respondent; together the grievant and respondent shall be known as the parties. In addition to a grievant, a third-party may bring a complaint on behalf of another person who has allegedly been the subject of discrimination.
  2. Any member of the University Community that feels that s/he has been subjected to or witnessed discrimination on the basis of sex in a University educational program or activity, may use these Title IX Grievance Procedures to file a complaint for review and possible investigation.
  3. This submission shall generally be referred to as a complaint for purposes of the Title IX Grievance Procedures. To promote timely and effective review and investigation, complaints should be made immediately or as soon as reasonably possible after the occurrence or most recent occurrence; however, complaints may be filed at any time and will be addressed in accordance with these grievance procedures and to the extent that is feasible.
  4. Retaliation against any individual in the University community either for alleging discrimination prohibited by Title IX or for cooperating in the review or investigation of a compliant is strictly prohibited by University Policy and Title IX.
  5. The parties involved in an investigation may present witnesses and other relevant evidence during the course of an investigation and may choose an individual to accompany them during the course of the investigation.
  6. In most circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator will coordinate his/her activities with other University offices charged with responsibilities for student, faculty and staff conduct and discipline and for enforcing the University’s policies and procedures generally.
  7. The Title IX Coordinator may investigate allegations of discrimination prohibited by Title IX even absent the filing of a complaint or formal grievance, or if a complaint is withdrawn. While the Title IX Coordinator will take into account any requests for confidentiality made by a party filing a complaint or that a complaint not be pursed, the Title IX Coordinator will take appropriate steps to respond to the grievance consistent with the requirements of Title IX while remaining cognizant of the grievant’ s articulated concerns.
  8. Any information obtained pursuant to these procedures may only be shared or disclosed by the Title IX Coordinator with those who have a legitimate need to know, when required by law, or when the Title IX Coordinator determines in h/her judgment that such disclosure is necessary to protect the health, safety, or well-being of members of the University Community.
  9. All investigations and activities conducted under these procedures shall be resolved promptly, equitably and objectively.
  10. Allegations of discrimination prohibited by Title IX shall be reviewed by applying a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e. it is more likely than not that sexual discrimination, harassment or violence occurred).
  11. A complaint of sexual assault or violence will only be investigated as a formal complaint.
  12. At any time during the grievance procedures the Title IX Coordinator may recommend that interim measures be taken such as separating the parties, placing limitations on contact between the parties, or making alternative workplace or student housing arrangements. Failure to comply with the terms of interim protections could be considered a separate violation of applicable University Policies.

2. Informal Resolution

Situations which are appropriate for informal resolution are those instances when the parties involved desire to resolve a matter cooperatively and the incident or behavior does not rise to the level of denying an individual participation in or access to a program or activity but nevertheless may be having an adverse impact on the individual. In these instances, mediation, counseling, advice, training, or informal discussion may be useful in resolving concerns about the situation in question. Steps taken by the Title IX Coordinator to help parties achieve informal resolution will be documented.

In working to resolve a matter informally, the Title IX Coordinator ordinarily will interview the grievant, where appropriate the respondent, and others who may have knowledge of the facts underlying the complaint. At any point, including while the informal process is ongoing or afterward, a grievant may elect to end the informal grievance process in favor of pursing the formal grievance procedure.

3. Formal Resolution/Formal Investigation

A person who is considering bringing a formal complaint is strongly encouraged to meet with the Title IX Coordinator, who will discuss the matter and describe the Title IX Grievance Procedures.

  1. The formal grievance process is initiated when a grievant submits written documentation of a complaint to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators. Grievants are encouraged but not required to use the Complaint/Grievance Form which is available on the Title IX home page or in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Policy Development and on line at Youngstown State University Complaint/Grievance Form. This submission shall generally be referred to as a complaint for purposes of these grievance procedures. A complaint should be submitted within 180 days of the occurrence or the most recent occurrence, however, complaints may be filed at any time and will be addressed in accordance with the Title IX Grievance Procedures and to the extent that is feasible.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator will interview the grievant, the respondent, if available, and, depending on the circumstances, may also interview others with relevant knowledge, review documentary materials, and take any other appropriate action to gather and consider information relevant to the complaint. A grievant and respondent may present witnesses and other relevant evidence to the Title IX Coordinator.
  3. Disclosure of facts to witnesses shall be limited to what is reasonably necessary to conduct a fair, impartial, and thorough investigation. Participants in an investigation shall be advised that maintaining confidentiality is essential to protect the integrity of the investigation and will be advised to refrain from discussing the pending investigation.
  4. The investigation shall be completed as promptly as possible and in most cases within 60 working days of the date the written complaint was received. In the event that an investigation cannot be completed within 60 days, the grievant and respondent shall be notified, and as appropriate provided an estimated completion date and informed of the status of the grievance process.
  5. The Title IX Coordinator shall prepare a written report setting forth the allegations, a summary of the information considered, findings, a determination as to whether University policy has been violated, and recommended action if any, to be taken.
  6. Copies of all or part of the report will be provided to those university administrators, academic leaders, and supervisors who are directly responsible for implementing corrective or preventative actions which are included in the report.
  7. The grievant and the respondent shall be informed in writing of the completion of the investigation and the outcome of the investigation. The grievant shall be informed of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint, if any, that are directly related to the grievant, such as a recommendation that the accused not contact the grievant. The grievant may be notified generally that the matter has been referred for disciplinary action, but shall not be informed of the details of the recommended disciplinary action without the consent of the respondent. The respondent shall be informed of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint and shall be notified of referrals for disciplinary action and recommended disciplinary action.
  8. The University’s Title IX Coordinator will, as necessary, take appropriate action to ensure that the University comes into compliance with Title IX in a manner which is prompt and equitable to the grievant.

4. Privacy and Confidentiality

For these procedures, privacy means that information related to a report or complaint will only be shared with those University employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the review, investigation and/or resolution process.

Confidentiality refers to information shared with professionals such as medical and mental health providers, counselors, and ordained clergy, who are prohibited from sharing this information unless legally required or compelled to do so.

In applying these grievance procedures, the Title IX Coordinator attempts to balance the privacy concerns of the parties with the University’s responsibility to ensure a safe educational and workplace environment and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation.

An investigation into allegations of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence or sexual misconduct can result in the gathering of extremely sensitive information about individuals in the University community. All investigations and activities conducted under these procedures

shall be conducted with due regard for any legitimate privacy and reputational interests of those involved and the privacy of those involved will be protected to the extent allowed by state and federal law and University policy. The University may be required to disclose personal information in accordance Ohio Public Records law.

5. Outside Agencies

Regardless of the status of a grievance, method of resolution or the outcome, a grievant is at all times free to pursue a complaint with Governmental Agencies such as the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, or the United States Department of Education/Office for Civil Rights.

Ohio Civil Rights Commission
Cleveland Regional Office
Lausche State Office Building
615 W. Superior Ave., Suite 885
Cleveland, OH 44113
Phone: (216) 787-3150 Fax: (216) 787-4121

U.S. Department of Education/Office of Civil Rights Hotline 1.800.421.3481