3. Grievance Procedures for Cases of Discrimination or Harassment

Members of the Arcadia University community who feel they have experienced discrimination, disciplinary action, or harassment based upon ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, race, color, religion, creed, gender, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, age, disability, or gender identity have rights to grievance procedures which should both address their complaints and see that misbehavior or errant practices are corrected. These procedures cover student to student complaints*. It is desirable that complaints about mistreatment be resolved through informal channels if at all possible. The Student Affairs staff is available to facilitate informal resolution if chosen with the mutual consent of the parties to the grievance. The formal grievance mechanism exists for those complainants who feel that informal discussions cannot resolve a problem or for whom other channels are inappropriate or unavailable. The University also reserves the right to remove an individual from the campus pending the completion of complaint procedures in any situation where it is believed necessary to do so.

Informal resolution of complaints

Persons who believe themselves to have been mistreated should first communicate directly to the person they hold accountable for the mistreatment, declaring the practice to be unwelcome and asking that it cease.

  1. Persons making such approaches should keep careful records of the transaction, should more formal procedures become necessary.
  2. While informal resolution is encouraged, it is recognized that certain types of conduct are so serious as to make this step inappropriate.

Should such initial discussions prove unsatisfactory, the complainant may wish to have the matter resolved informally with the assistance of a member of the Student Affairs staff. Students should contact the Dean of Students (215-572-2933) to discuss options and appropriate staff to address the situation. The Associate Dean of Students will address any situations in the absence of the Dean of Students or if there is a potential conflict of interest. All administrators dealing with these matters shall keep their knowledge of the alleged misconduct strictly confidential.

  1. A meeting of the complainant and the accused, with the appropriate Student Affairs administrator, must be scheduled within ten (10) working days, unless during break periods, of the complainant’s notification to the Dean of Students.
  2. This meeting must be held in private, and its results kept strictly confidential.
  3. If the Dean of Students or his or her designee determines discrimination or harassment to have occurred, he/she must write a report of the proceedings, stating the facts of the incident and the action(s) taken. It should be placed in the student’s disciplinary file.

Formal Grievance Procedures

A formal grievance involving faculty or staff should be directed to the Affirmative Action Officer (215-572-2790)*. Student complaints against another student should be directed to the Dean of Students (215-572-2933). A student may request a formal grievance hearing when a matter has not been resolved satisfactorily during efforts at informal resolution, where the student does not wish to resolve a dispute informally, or where the conduct complained of was so serious that informal resolution is not appropriate.

  1. The person so desiring must present a written request for a hearing to the Dean of Students within twenty (20) working days of the alleged infraction, or ten (10) working days of an unsuccessful attempt to handle the matter informally. This request should state the specific violations being alleged, the details of the case as the complainant understands them, and what, if anything, has been done to resolve the matter informally.
  2. The Dean of Students or his or her designee (hereafter referred to as the “hearing officer”) should meet to discuss the case with the complainant within one week of receiving a request, and should determine whether the facts warrant a formal administrative hearing or a Judicial Board Hearing following appropriate hearing protocol as described in the Code of Conduct. At the discretion of the Dean of Students, the timetables in this policy may be modified for incidents occurring at or near break periods.
    • If warranted, a Judicial Board hearing must be held within the time frame outlined in the Judicial Board procedures and an administrative hearing must be held within ten (10) working days of the meeting with the complainant.
    • With regard to the time period stated here, or any similar time period mentioned in these or related disciplinary procedures, should such a period extend beyond the period in which participants could be expected to be present (such as for instance, the end of the semester) the periods may be accelerated by mutual consent of the parties, or the case may be held over until the start of the subsequent semester.
    • There may be exceptions to these time limits if good cause is shown for coming forward at a later date within two (2) years of the alleged incident.
      • Among such causes might be an accuser’s reluctance to confront someone who has authority or strong influence of the accuser’s future prospects, or the discovery of new evidence or corroboratory witnesses.
      • In such instances of substantial delay after the alleged incident, the hearing officer or board should take into account the effect of the time lapse on the parties’ abilities to prepare their cases.

The intent of these procedures is to provide a fair and orderly method of finding facts and resolving disputes in matters involving discrimination, affirmative action, or harassment. The Judicial Board or hearing officer, with sound discretion, may approve deviations from the hearing procedures outlined herein, consistent with the desire of the University to provide a fair procedure and to protect the rights of all parties to the proceeding.

* Complaints involving employees of the University should be directed to the Affirmative Action Officer (215-572-2790) and are not covered in this policy. However, the Dean of Students or a member of the Student Affairs staff can serve as a resource to students in these cases. Click here to view the University Affirmative Action Policy.