Fuller Seminary Student Handbook

Handbook > Complaint Resolution Procedures

Complaint Resolution Procedures

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Academic Integrity

Because of the value placed on academic integrity by the Fuller Theological Seminary community, the seminary has adopted the following procedures involving the services of the Academic Integrity Committee1 to assist faculty, administrators, and students in upholding this community standard. These procedures apply to all courses, whether online or in classrooms. The seminary also recognizes that it is primarily the responsibility and right of each faculty member to evaluate a student’s course work and determine a student’s grade. Therefore, the following procedures have been approved by the Academic Leadership Council.

The Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) is composed of faculty members selected by the provost and typically has at least one representative from each of the seminary’s schools. The function of the AIC is to: 1) assist faculty in investigating suspected violation of academic integrity and make academic recommendation(s) when violation is confirmed, 2) assist with the remediation of students found to have violated academic integrity, and 3) maintain records for the limited purpose of identifying repeat violators of the Academic Integrity Community Standard. If any clarification of the Academic Integrity Community Standard or these procedures is needed by any member of the seminary community, the individual is encouraged to contact the chair of the AIC. The chair may be contacted at aic-chair@fuller.edu.

Faculty Procedures: If a violation of the Academic Integrity Community Standard is suspected, the faculty member should proceed by first consulting with the AIC chair. The faculty member should use written AIC reporting forms and instructions for processing the suspected violation, which are available from his/her dean’s office. Among the process steps is that of holding a conference with the student, if possible, for purposes of explaining the suspected violation and hearing the student’s response. Faculty should note that if it is time to submit grades for the quarter, “RD-AIC” (Report Delayed-Academic Integrity Committee) should be reported as the course grade, until the matter is resolved.

Student Procedures: If a violation of the Academic Integrity Community Standard is suspected, the student typically will first be notified of the faculty member’s concern when requested by the faculty member to confer. The purpose of this conference is to provide the student with an explanation of the basis of the faculty member’s concern and to provide an opportunity for the student to respond to that concern. The Faculty Report form will be shown, if possible, to the student and the student asked to sign it as verification that it has been read and received. Note that signing the Faculty Report form does not acknowledge violation of the Academic Integrity Community Standard, but only documents that the faculty member has met with the student and that the student is aware of the suspected violation.If the student does not agree to meet with the faculty member, or if it is not possible to meet, two copies of the Faculty Report will be sent to the student by the faculty member, and the AIC notified. Upon receipt, the student is to sign one copy, complete all student contact information, and return the signed copy of the Faculty Report form to the AIC Chair at: FTS, Box SOP, 180 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101. (The other copy is for the student to keep for his or her records.)

The faculty member’s report form will be reviewed by either an individual member of the AIC or the committee as a whole and a determination will be made on a case by case basis as to how best to investigate the suspected violation. This may involve a meeting with the student and a member of the AIC. Upon finding that the faculty member’s suspicion is either unconfirmed or that there is insufficient evidence to confirm a violation, the faculty member and student will be so notified. Upon finding by a preponderance of the evidence that the faculty member’s suspicion is confirmed and that the Academic Integrity Community Standard has been violated, the AIC will (1) so notify and make recommendation(s) to the reporting faculty member, and (2) confer with the student for the purposes of discussing the violation, and its academic and remedial consequences. Notice of the finding will also be given to the dean of the student’s school, the student’s faculty advisor (if assigned), the Student Development Committee of the appropriate school (if applicable), and any others who need to know in order to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities.

(During the period in which a suspected violation is being evaluated, the student, in registering for other courses, should take into account the possible consequences of failing a course which is a prerequisite for a subsequent course.)

Consequences of Violating the Academic Integrity Community Standard

If a first violation:

  1. The AIC will notify the reporting faculty member, the dean of the student’s school, the student’s faculty advisor (if assigned), the Student Development Committee of the appropriate school (if applicable), and any others who need to know in order to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities, that this is a first confirmed violation.
  2. The AIC will remind the faculty member that, according to joint faculty, only the assignment in violation receive a failing grade. This grade should then be included in the computation of a final grade for the student’s course. Depending upon other assignment grades, this may consequently result in the student’s failing the course, but the AIC recommendation is only for the assignment in question, not for the course itself.
  3. The student will be required to complete online exercises (e-mailed/hand-delivered to student), including an online exam. The student is to submit his/her signed form stating that he or she has completed the exercises and passed the online exam with a score of 100%. The student should also submit the 100% certificate to the AIC. The form and the certificate are to be submitted within the time limit established by the AIC. Registration for further course work may be put on hold at the discretion of the dean of the student’s school, if the student fails to timely and/or successfully complete the designated remedial assignment(s).
  4. A sealed copy of the AIC’s finding that the Academic Integrity Community Standard was violated will be placed in the student’s confidential file in the Registrar’s Office. If there are no further academic integrity complaints during the student’s matriculation at Fuller Theological Seminary, the contents of that sealed envelope will be shredded at such time as the student graduates.

If a second violation by the same student:

  1. If the AIC finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a second suspected violation is confirmed and that the Academic Integrity Community Standard has again been violated by the same student, the AIC will review and take into consideration the contents of the above described sealed envelope in the student’s file.
  2. The AIC will so notify the reporting faculty member that this is a second confirmed violation and mayrecommend that the offending student receive a failing grade on the assignment and for the course. Notice of the finding will also be given to the dean of the student’s school, the student’s faculty advisor (if assigned), the Student Development Committee of the appropriate school (if applicable), and any others who need to know in order to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities.
  3. The student may be required to complete additional remedial exercises as directed by the AIC. Registration for further course work may be put on hold at the discretion of the dean of the student’s school, if the student fails to communicate with the AIC or fails to timely and/or successfully complete the designated remedial assignment(s).
  4. A copy of the AIC’s finding that the Academic Integrity Community Standard was again violated will be added to the sealed envelope in the student’s confidential file in the Registrar’s Office. If there are no further academic integrity complaints during the student’s matriculation at Fuller Theological Seminary, the contents of that sealed envelope will be shredded at such time as the student graduates.
  5. The AIC at its discretion upon majority vote of the AIC members may recommend directly to the dean of the student’s school that the student be immediately suspended from his or her program and the seminary for a period of time not to exceed two years.
  6. The dean of the student’s school, in making his or her decision, will review all previous findings by the AIC, remediation efforts attempted by the AIC, and any explanations offered by the student for the repeated violations.

If a third violation by the same student:

  1. If the AIC finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a third suspected violation is confirmed and that the Academic Integrity Community Standard has again been violated for the third time, the AIC will so notify the reporting faculty member that this is a third confirmed violation and will recommend that the offending student receive a failing grade on the assignment and for the course. Notice of the finding will also be given to the dean of the student’s school, the student’s faculty advisor (if assigned), the Student Development Committee of the appropriate school (if applicable), and any others who need to know in order to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities.
  2. The AIC will recommend directly to the dean of the student’s school that the student be immediately expelled from his/her program and the seminary.
  3. The dean of the student’s school in making his or her decision will review all previous findings by the AIC, remediation efforts attempted by the AIC, and any explanations offered by the student for the repeated violations. At his or her sole discretion the dean may meet with the student, and/or any or all reporting faculty members, and/or any or all members of the AIC and/or anyone with information he or she deems relevant. The dean will notify the student in writing of his or her decision.

Appeal

Recommendations of and remedial exercises required by the AIC are not appealable.

An appeal may be made by a student regarding an assignment grade or a course grade only to the dean of the faculty member issuing the grade. The dean’s decision is final. Appeal of a decision made by a student’s dean involving disciplinary action up to and including expulsion may only be made to the provost, whose decision is final.

Any appeal must be made in writing and timely submitted. Except as required to explain the basis of new evidence, an appeal is limited to: (1) review of the submitted Faculty Report forms including any student responses contained therein and any attachments; (2) review of the findings of the AIC including any student responses contained therein and any attachments; (3) review of the letter of decision issued by the dean of the student’s school, if applicable; (4) review of the assignment in question and other related works, if applicable, and; (5) review of the student’s written statement setting forth the basis of the appeal, which may include new evidence or facts, subject to the qualifications set out in item 4 below.

Review as appropriate by the relevant dean or the provost will be for the one or more of the following purposes only:

  1. To determine whether the original investigation was conducted fairly and with the student having a reasonable opportunity to present his or her explanation/position.
  2. To determine whether a decision reached that a seminary community standard was violated was supported by a preponderance of the evidence.
  3. To determine whether or not the consequence(s) imposed was appropriate for the found violation(s).
  4. To consider new evidence sufficient to alter the decision or other relevant facts not previously brought out because such evidence and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time the original investigation was completed.

Other Related Matters

Confidentiality. The seminary values responsible speech and seeks to create and maintain a redemptive environment. Therefore, the seminary strives to protect the privacy of all involved parties. However, disclosure regarding academic integrity complaints will be made, to the instructor or professor who submitted the report to the Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) and to the individual about whose conduct the complaint was made. Upon a finding of violation, disclosure will be made to the dean of the student’s school, the student’s faculty advisor (if assigned), the Student Development Committee of the appropriate school (if applicable), and any others who need to know in order to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities, and otherwise, only in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. Likewise, when there is a finding of violation of the academic integrity standard involving doctoral students, Korean language students, Spanish language students or student’s working on dissertations or master’s theses, disclosure will be to those who need to know in order to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities. Records of academic integrity violations by students in every program will be maintained by the AIC until students graduate. Upon graduation, records regarding these violations are destroyed. All records will be maintained in conformity with state and federal privacy and disclosure requirements and seminary policies and procedures. Such records will be made available to seminary faculty, administrators/managers and trustees who have a need to know, and otherwise, only in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.

Timeliness. It is the intent of the seminary to resolve allegations of a violation(s) of the Academic Integrity Standard in as timely a manner as possible.

Questions. Questions concerning the foregoing procedures should be directed to the chair of the Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) at aic-chair@fuller.edu.

1As to Korean language students and Spanish language students: The services and functions of the Academic Integrity Committee will be provided by the faculty administrators and regularly constituted committees of those programs. It is their responsibility to uphold the Academic Integrity Community Standard, to administer suspected violations of the Academic Integrity Community Standard, and to recommend or determine, as appropriate to the particular program, the consequences for violating the Academic Integrity Standard.

As to students working on dissertations, master’s theses or other work that is not regular coursework: The services and functions of the Academic Integrity Committee will be provided by the faculty members and regularly constituted committees overseeing these projects. It is their responsibility to uphold the Academic Integrity Community Standard, to administer suspected violations of the Academic Integrity Community Standard, and to recommend or determine, as appropriate to the particular program, the consequences for violating the Academic Integrity Standard.

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Complaint Resolution Procedures: Marriage and Divorce*, Respect for People and Property, Sexual Standards, and Substance Abuse Community Standards

*For self-report of own’s divorce, see “Other Related Matters” at the end of these procedures.

Prior to implementing these complaint resolution procedures, please be reminded of the following, as stated in the beginning section of the Community Standards:

In the application of these community standards, the seminary urges the practice of loving verbal confrontation when any member of a Christian community feels that another member is living in violation of what the Bible teaches about Christian conduct. The seminary, therefore, encourages individuals to follow, where feasible, the steps of verbal confrontation and dialogue described in Matthew 18:15-22.

If the above recommended action results in no resolution, or where the above recommended action is not feasible, a person who is concerned about the conduct of a member of the seminary community (a student, faculty member, staff level employee, administrator/manager, trustee, or a duly authorized student organization) should immediately speak with a complaint resolution officer or other designated administrator to submit a complaint or to see if there are any other avenues available for addressing the concern.

The complaint resolution officer for concerns by students and/or about students and/or student organizations is the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or his/her designee. A complaint form may be obtained from and returned to the Office of Student Concerns.

For purposes of this complaint resolution procedure, a student is generally defined as an individual registered for one or more units in the current quarter or within the last four quarters at the time the alleged incident(s) occurred.

The complaint resolution officer for concerns about an employee (not involving a student or student group), including all faculty, staff, and administrators/managers, with some exceptions as outlined below, is the Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee. A complaint form may be obtained from and returned to the Office of Human Resources.

In the case of a concern regarding a faculty member’s divorce, a person may choose to contact the faculty member’s dean rather than initially going to the Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee.

A person who is concerned about the conduct of the President, the leader of a division (i.e., the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief of Philanthropy, the Provost, or the Vice President & Chief of Leadership Formation), the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns, the Executive Director of Human Resources, or a trustee should initially contact the seminary’s General Counsel to obtain a complaint form or to see if there are any other avenues available for addressing the concern.  The complaint resolution officer for concerns in this case shall be appointed, upon the return of a complaint form to the Office of the General Counsel, by the President or Chair of the Board of Trustees, as deemed appropriate, and may be an individual from outside the seminary community who is qualified by profession and/or training to conduct a complaint resolution process.

If it appears at any time that the personal safety, including physical and/or emotional health or wellbeing, of a student, employee, or the seminary community as a whole or any part thereof may be threatened, the Provost or Chief Financial Officer will be consulted.  Immediate action(s) as apparently warranted by the circumstances will be taken.

Upon receipt of a completed “Community Standards Complaint Form,” the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee will determine the appropriate next steps for investigation and resolution of the complaint on a case-by-case basis.  In the event the complaint involves both a student (or authorized student organization) and an employee, the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or his/her designee and the Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee, will normally investigate the complaint jointly. The complaint resolution officer or his/her designee also may constitute a committee to assist in the investigation, seek the assistance of outside/off-campus professionals, and/or do whatever he/she deems appropriate to ensure that a complete and fair investigation is conducted.

If during the course of an investigation, additional possible violation(s) of a community standard or other seminary policy are noted, the investigation will be expanded to include such possible violation(s). Both parties will be notified of the expanded investigation.

The totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged conduct occurred, will be considered.  If the concern is not otherwise resolved, upon completion of an investigation the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee will provide a copy of the findings of the investigation and the recommendation(s) for action or non-action by the seminary to the individual who submitted the complaint and to the individual or representative of the authorized student organization about whose behavior the complaint was made.  Each individual or organization will then have an opportunity to timely respond in writing to the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee as to whether or not he/she/it accepts the findings and recommendation(s) and why or why not. Any individual/organizational responses, along with the findings of the investigation and the recommendation(s) of the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee, will be submitted to one of the following decision-makers:

  1. the appropriate dean of a specific school or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of a student or faculty member; or
  2. the Executive Director for Student Engagement & Success or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of an authorized student organization; or
  3. the Provost or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of a dean of a specific school or the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns; or
  4. the Chief Financial Officer or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of a staff level employee or administrator/manager, including the Executive Director of Human Resources, but not including those delineated in number “3” above or number “5” below;  or
  5. the Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of the President, a leader of a division (i.e., the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief of Philanthropy, the Provost, or the Vice President & Chief of Leadership Formation), or a trustee of the seminary.

A decision will be made:  1) after reviewing the findings of the investigation and the recommendation(s) of the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee, 2) after reviewing the individual responses, if any, and 3) if deemed helpful, after consulting with the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee and/or the co-investigator, if applicable.  A letter of decision will be provided to the individual who made the complaint, the individual or representative of the authorized student organization whose conduct was complained about, and to those who need to know to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities. Upon a determination that a violation of a seminary community standard has not been shown by a preponderance of the evidence/facts, no disciplinary action based on the complaint will be taken by the seminary.  Upon a determination that a violation of a seminary community standard has been shown by a preponderance of the evidence/facts, appropriate disciplinary action will be imposed.

The applicable decision-maker as identified above may impose disciplinary action and/or take such further steps as necessary to facilitate imposition of disciplinary action, if deemed warranted.  Corrective actions for students may include disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination of student status (expulsion).  Corrective actions for authorized student organizations may include disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination of all rights and privileges as a campus organization.  Corrective actions for employees (faculty, administrators/managers, and staff level employees) may include disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination from employment.  Corrective action for trustees may include immediate termination of trustee status.

Appeal of a decision made by the dean of an individual’s school or his/her designee or the Executive Director for Student Engagement & Success or his/her designee may be made only to the Provost or his/her designee, whose decision is final. Appeal of a decision made by the Provost or his/her designee or the Chief Financial Officer or his/her designee may be made only to the Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee or his/her designee, whose decision is final.  Appeal of a decision made by the Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee may be made only to the Chair of the Board of Trustees or his/her designee, whose decision is final. The appeal must be made in writing and timely submitted as set forth in the letter of decision.  Except as required to explain the basis of new evidence, an appeal is limited to:  1) review of the findings of the investigation and the recommendation(s) for action by the seminary prepared by the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee; 2) any individual responses timely submitted, as stated above; 3) review of the letter of decision; and 4) review of the letter setting forth the basis of the appeal, which may include new evidence or facts, subject to the qualifications set out in “4” below.  Review of the foregoing by the Provost or his/her designee, Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee or his/her designee, or Chair of the Board of Trustees or his/her designee will only be for one or more of the following purposes:

  1. to determine whether the original investigation was conducted fairly, in conformity with prescribed procedures, and with both the individual bringing the complaint and the individual against whom the complaint was brought having a reasonable opportunity to present his/her position.
  2. to determine whether a decision reached that a seminary community standard was violated was supported by a preponderance of the evidence/facts.
  3. to determine whether or not any disciplinary action imposed was appropriate for the found violation(s).
  4. to consider new evidence sufficient to alter the decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the investigation because such evidence and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time the original investigation was completed nor by the time designated for the individual to respond to the findings and recommendation(s) of the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee.

Other Related Matters

Confidentiality. The seminary values responsible speech and seeks to create and maintain a redemptive environment.  Therefore, the seminary strives to protect the privacy of all involved parties.  However, disclosure will be made to those who need to know in order to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities, to the individual who submitted the complaint, to the individual (or representative of an authorized student organization) about whose conduct the complaint was made, and otherwise, only in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.  All records of complaints about the conduct of students or authorized student organizations will be maintained by the Office of Student Concerns, about the conduct of employees will be maintained by the Office of Human Resources, and about the conduct of trustees will be maintained by the Office of the President.  All records will be maintained in conformity with state and federal privacy and disclosure requirements and seminary policies and procedures.  Such records will be made available to seminary administrators/managers and trustees who have a need to know, and otherwise, only in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.

Timeliness. It is the intent of the seminary to resolve allegations of a violation(s) of a community standard(s) in as timely a manner as possible.  A complaint form alleging a violation(s) of a community standard(s) should be immediately submitted to the appropriate complaint resolution officer.  Because of the difficulty of obtaining evidence and because memory fades with the lapse of time, the seminary reserves the right not to investigate and/or implement these procedures, if a complaint is submitted more than ninety (90) calendar days after the incident or last incident that gave rise to the complaint.

Continuation of Process. Upon receipt of a completed “Community Standards Complaint Form,” the complaint resolution officer or his/her designee at his/her sole discretion may proceed with investigation and resolution of the complaint, even if the individual submitting the complaint is subsequently unwilling to proceed as a participant in the complaint resolution process.

Self-Reporting a Divorce.  The seminary expects members of the seminary community who are experiencing divorce to self-report their divorce to the seminary within sixty (60) days of the court filing by either spouse.  Students who experience divorce are to report their divorce to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or his/her designee who will review the circumstances of the divorce and make a recommendation to the dean of the student’s school.  The dean of the student’s school will determine what, if any, action is to be taken by the seminary.  Faculty who experience a divorce are to report their divorce to their dean or his/her designee who will review the circumstances of the divorce and make a recommendation to the Provost. The Provost will determine what, if any, action is to be taken by the seminary. Non-faculty employees who experience divorce are to report their divorce to the Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee who will review the circumstances of the divorce and make a recommendation to the Chief Financial Officer. The Chief Financial Officer will determine what, if any, action is to be taken by the seminary.  In cases where the President or a trustee experiences divorce, the individual is to self-report his/her divorce to the Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee, who will review the circumstances of the divorce, and determine what, if any, action is to be taken by the seminary.  A self-report of divorce should be directed in writing to the seminary officials designated above, and does not require use of a complaint form.

Questions. Questions concerning the foregoing procedures as they relate to students should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns at (626) 584-5678.  Questions concerning the foregoing procedures as they relate to employees should be directed to the Executive Director of Human Resources at (626) 584-5238.  Questions concerning the foregoing procedures as they relate to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns, the Executive Director of Human Resources, the President, the leader of a division (i.e., the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief of Philanthropy, the Provost, or the Vice President & Chief of Leadership Formation), or a trustee should be directed to the seminary’s General Counsel at (626) 584-5423.

Rev. 3/18/2019

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Complaint Resolution Procedures: Sexual Harassment, Unlawful Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Retaliation

Any member of the Fuller community who believes he/she has been sexually harassed, unlawfully discriminated against, unlawfully harassed, subjected to sexual misconduct, or retaliated against by a student, authorized student organization, faculty member, administrator/manager, staff-level employee, trustee, agent, vendor, independent contractor, or other person doing business with the seminary, should immediately report the facts of the incident or incidents and the name(s) of the individual(s) involved to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or his/her designee or the Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee.

See the Policy Against Sexual Misconduct for additional avenues for reporting sexual misconduct. Supervisors and deans have an affirmative duty to immediately report any violation or suspected violation of the seminary’s sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation policies, of which they become aware, to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns, the Executive Director of Human Resources, or designee.

The Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or his/her designee will determine the appropriate next steps for investigation and resolution for all sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation complaints involving students on a case by case basis.  The Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee will determine the appropriate next steps for investigation and resolution for all sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation complaints not involving students on a case by case basis. In the event the complainant and/or respondent includes both a student or authorized student organization and a faculty member, staff-level employee, administrator/manager, agent, vendor, independent contractor, or other person doing business with the seminary, then the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or his/her designee and the Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee will normally initially jointly investigate the complaint. 

For purposes of this complaint resolution procedure, a student is generally defined as an individual registered for one or more units in the current quarter or within the last four quarters at the time the alleged incident(s) occurred.

If the complaint is about the conduct of the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns, the Executive Director of Human Resources, the President, the leader of a division (i.e., the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief of Philanthropy, the Provost, or the Vice President & Chief of Leadership Formation), or a trustee of the seminary, the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or Executive Director of Human Resources, or designee will initially refer the complaint to the Office of the General Counsel (or an individual may contact the Office of the General Counsel directly), which will determine the appropriate next steps for investigation and resolution on a case by case basis.

If it appears at any time that the personal safety, including physical and/or emotional health or wellbeing, of an individual employee, student, or the seminary community as a whole or any part thereof may be threatened, then the Provost or Chief Financial Officer will be consulted.  Immediate action(s) as apparently warranted by the circumstances will be taken.

If the complaint is not resolved after the initial/preliminary investigation, the Executive Director of the Office Student Concerns or his/her designee, the Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee, or the Office of the General Counsel, as appropriate, will designate a complaint resolution officer/investigator(s) from within or outside the seminary who may then constitute a committee to assist in the investigation, seek the assistance of outside/off-campus professionals, and/or do whatever he/she deems appropriate to ensure that a complete and fair investigation is conducted.

If during the course of an investigation, additional possible violation(s) of a community standard or other seminary policy are noted, the investigation will be expanded to include such possible violation(s). Both parties will be notified of the expanded investigation.

The totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged conduct occurred, will be considered.  If the complaint is not otherwise resolved, upon completion of an investigation, the complaint resolution officer/investigator(s) will provide a copy of the findings of the investigation and recommendation(s) for action or non-action by the seminary to the individual making the complaint and to the individual or representative of the authorized student organization about whose behavior the complaint was made.  Each individual or organization will then have an opportunity to timely respond in writing to the complaint resolution officer/investigator(s) as to whether or not he/she/it accepts the findings and recommendation(s) and why or why not.  Any individual/organizational response, along with the findings of the investigation and recommendations(s) of the complaint resolution officer/investigator(s), will be submitted to one of the following decision-makers:

  1. the appropriate dean of a specific school or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of a student or faculty member; or
  2. the Executive Director for Student Engagement & Success or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of an authorized student organization; or
  3. the Provost or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of a dean of a specific school or the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns; or
  4. the Chief Financial Officer or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of a staff level employee or administrator/manager, including the Executive Director of Human Resources, but not including those delineated in number “3” above or number “5” below;  or
  5. the Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee or his/her designee, if the complaint concerns the conduct of the President, a leader of a division (i.e., the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief of Philanthropy, the Provost, or the Vice President & Chief of Leadership Formation), or a trustee of the seminary.

A decision will be made:  1) after reviewing the findings of the investigation and the recommendation(s) of the investigator(s), 2) after reviewing the individual responses, if any, and 3) if deemed helpful, after consulting with the investigator(s).  A letter of decision will be provided to the individual who made the complaint, to the individual or representative of the authorized student organization whose conduct was complained about, and to those who need to know to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities.  Upon a determination that a violation of a seminary community standard or policy has not been shown by a preponderance of the evidence/facts, no disciplinary action based on the complaint will be taken by the seminary.  Upon a determination that a violation of a seminary community standard or policy has been shown by a preponderance of the evidence/facts, appropriate disciplinary action will be imposed.

The applicable decision-maker as identified above may impose disciplinary action and/or take such further steps as necessary to facilitate imposition of disciplinary action, if deemed warranted.  Corrective actions for students may include disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination of student status (expulsion).  Corrective actions for authorized student organizations may include disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination of all rights and privileges as a campus organization.  Corrective actions for employees (faculty, administrators/managers, and staff level employees) may include disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination from employment.  Correction actions for housing residents may include eviction. Corrective action for trustees may include immediate termination of trustee status.

Appeal of a decision made by the dean of an individual’s school or his/her designee or the Executive Director for Student Engagement & Success or his/her designee may be made only to the Provost or his/her designee, whose decision is final.  Appeal of a decision made by the Provost or his/her designee or the Chief Financial Officer or his/her designee may be made only to the Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee or his/her designee, whose decision is final.  Appeal of a decision made by the Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee or his/her designee may be made only to the Chair of the Board of Trustees or his/her designee, whose decision is final. The appeal must be made in writing and timely submitted as set forth in the letter of decision.  Except as required to explain the basis of new evidence, an appeal is limited to 1) review of the findings of the investigation and recommendation(s) for action by the seminary prepared by the investigator(s); 2) any individual responses timely submitted, as stated above; 3) review of the letter of decision; and 4) review of the letter setting forth the basis of the appeal, which may include new evidence or facts, subject to the qualifications set out in “4” below.  Review of the foregoing by the Provost or his/her designee, Chair of the Trustee Affairs Committee or his/her designee, or Chair of the Board of Trustees or his/her designee will only be for one or more of the following purposes:

  1. To determine whether the original investigation was conducted fairly, in conformity with prescribed procedures, and with both the individual bringing the complaint and the individual against whom the complaint was brought having a reasonable opportunity to present his/her position;
  2. To determine whether a decision reached that a seminary community standard or policy was violated was supported by a preponderance of the evidence/facts;
  3. To determine whether or not any disciplinary action imposed was appropriate for the found violation(s);
  4. To consider new evidence sufficient to alter the decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the investigation because such evidence and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time the original investigation was completed nor by the time designated for the individual to respond to the findings and recommendation(s) of the investigator(s).

Other Related Matters

Confidentiality.  The seminary values responsible speech and seeks to create and maintain a redemptive environment.  Therefore, the seminary strives to protect the privacy of all involved parties.  However, please remember that all deans and supervisors have an affirmative duty to report any violation or suspected violation of the seminary’s policies on sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation that they become aware of to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns, the Executive Director of Human Resources, or designee.  Subsequently, disclosure will be made to those who need to know in order to carry out assigned seminary responsibilities, to the individual who made the complaint, to the individual (or representative of an authorized student organization) about whose conduct the complaint was made, and otherwise, only in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.  All records of concerns/complaints about the conduct of employees will be maintained by the Office of Human Resources, about the conduct of students or authorized student organizations will be maintained by the Office of Student Concerns, about the conduct of non-student/non-employee residents will be maintained by the Director of Housing Services office, and about the conduct of trustees will be maintained by the Office of the President.  All records will be maintained in conformity with state and federal privacy and disclosure requirements and seminary policies and procedures.  Such records will be made available to seminary administrators/managers and trustees who have a need to know, and otherwise, only in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.

Timeliness.  It is the intent of the seminary to resolve allegations of sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation in as timely a manner as possible.  Community members should immediately report violation or suspected violation of these community standards or policies to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or his/her designee or to the Executive Director of Human Resources or his/her designee.  It is recommended that reports should be made no later than 120 calendar days after the incident or last incident that gave rise to the violation or suspected violation.  Because of the difficulty of obtaining evidence and because memory fades with the lapse of time, the seminary reserves the right not to investigate and/or implement these procedures if a report is made more than 120 calendar days after the incident or last incident that gave rise to the report. The foregoing policies are intended to supplement and not replace the rights of seminary employees under federal and state law to be protected from sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation.  Those laws have their own procedural requirements for filing a complaint, including their own time limits.  Individuals should keep in mind that initiating the seminary’s procedures may not satisfy those legal requirements.

Continuation of Process.  Upon notice of a sexual harassment, discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation complaint, the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns or his or her designee or the appointed complaint resolution officer/investigator(s) from outside the seminary community at his or her sole discretion may proceed with investigation and resolution of the complaint, even if the individual initiating the complaint is subsequently unwilling to proceed as a participant in the complaint resolution process.

Questions.  Questions concerning any of the foregoing procedures should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns at (626) 584-5678.  Questions concerning the foregoing procedures as they relate to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Concerns, Executive Director of Human Resources, the President, the leader of a division (i.e., the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief of Philanthropy, the Provost, or the Vice President & Chief of Leadership Formation), or a trustee should be directed to the seminary’s General Counsel at (626) 584-5423.

Government Assistance.  In addition to notifying the seminary about sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation, inquiries or complaints concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 50 United Nations Plaza, Room 239, San Francisco, CA 94102.  Inquiries involving employees may also be referred to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).  Contact information for the EEOC and DFEH can be found on seminary postings or by checking the state or federal government listings in the local telephone directory.

Rev. 3/18/2019

Handbook > Complaint Resolution Procedures