Complaint Investigation

The issues generating the complaint are first discussed with an Intake Person in order to determine that the situation properly fits into the purview of these specific Policy and Procedural provisions. The Intake Person will explain the formal investigative process about to be entered into, should the complaint be eligible and desired by the Complainant to move forward to the Vice President of Student Affairs. The Vice President of Student Affairs serves as the Responsible Authority vested with investigative duties.

In order to move the complaint forward into investigation, the Complainant must complete and sign a "Harassment Report Form". This form must include details of the conduct and circumstances of the complaint. The Complainant must file a complaint within 60 days of the incident.

The Vice President of Student Affairs will then conduct an actual investigation of the charges being made.

In the event that an employee is involved in the complaint along with a student, the Vice President of Student Affairs will partner with the Assistant Dean of Human Resources in a joint investigation process.

The Respondent will be provided with a copy of the Complainant's written complaint as stated in the "Harassment Report Form".

Any persons thought to have information or evidence relevant to the complaint shall be interviewed and such interviews shall be appropriately documented. Students and involved employees are expected to cooperate in providing requested information. Other acceptable methods for gathering information include, but are not limited to, visual inspection of offensive materials and follow-up interviews as necessary.

In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the totality of the circumstances, the nature of the conduct, frequencies, and the context in which the alleged conduct occurred will be investigated.

The investigation of the complaint must be concluded within a reasonable period of time. The institution will make every effort to complete a thorough investigation as expeditiously as possible. The timeline should not exceed twenty (20) working days after the receipt of the written "Harassment Report Form," unless otherwise agreed upon by the Complainant and the Responsible Authority or Authorities, due to extenuating circumstances.

Within five (5) days of the completion of the investigation, the Vice President of Student Affairs will prepare a written Complaint Resolution Report. The Complaint Resolution Report shall include the: basis of the complaint; issues and facts surrounding the dispute; summary of investigative findings, including interviews; recommendations/dispositions of inquiry; proposed disciplinary penalty (if any); basis for recommended action.

The Complaint Resolution Report will be presented and explained to both the Complainant and the Respondent in separate debriefing meetings. Findings and the resulting official actions to be taken, if any, will be discussed. Should disciplinary actions be determined to be in order, the appropriate supervisors must be made aware at this time in order to carry out the recommended action(s) and/or disciplinary procedure(s) that may be applicable.

The College President will be fully advised from the outset of the complaint being lodged, and will also be given a copy of the final Complaint Resolution Report.

Confidentiality: Confidentiality shall be maintained to the greatest extent possible while still meeting the requirements of conducting an appropriate investigation. Witnesses interviewed will be advised and requested to honor confidentiality as well.

Retaliation: Retaliation against an individual or individuals who have filed a charge, participated in an investigation, or openly opposed any unlawful practice, is prohibited and will subject the person who retaliates to disciplinary action.

Disciplinary Actions: Any employee or student found to have harassed another employee or student within the definitions of the Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy and Procedures will be subject to disciplinary actions up to and including possible separation of service, probation, suspension, or expulsion.

False or Malicious Complaints: Any employee or student found to have acted dishonestly or maliciously in making complaint allegations, or in their actions or witness statements during an official investigation, shall also become subject to possible disciplinary action.

Prevention: Indian River State College and the District Board of Trustees recognize that preventive measures are the best tool for the mitigation of discriminatory actions and sexual harassment issues emerging. Therefore, the College and the Board of Trustees will take necessary steps toward prevention, including, but not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Establishing and publishing the Indian River State College Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Board Policy, along with the companion Administrative Procedures with regard to reporting violations.
  • Inclusion of the policy and procedure information in student and employee handbooks with availability electronically maintained through the College website.
  • Distribution of the Policy and Procedures during student and new employee orientations.
  • Including discrimination/sexual harassment awareness and prevention training during student and employee orientations.
  • Fostering Cultural Intelligence through college events and educational materials that address appreciaton of diversity and cultural differences.
  • Refreshing the ongoing awareness and training toward prevention of discrimination and harassment among both students and employees.

All students are encouraged to work through the internal complaint and appeal process provided by Indian River State College. However, if the student feels further investigation is warranted they can contact The Florida College System (FCS) at at http://www.fldoe.org/policy/cie/file-a-complaint.stml .