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Procedures for Resolution of Discrimination / Harassment Complaints

These procedures will be followed in order to provide a prompt, reliable and impartial investigation of complaints alleging violations by Clemson University faculty, staff, students or any non-Clemson employees or students following Clemson University Policies for Equitable Treatment: Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy, Student Code of Conduct, Statement on Amorous Relationships, Policy for Disabled and Vietnam-Era Veterans, Policy on HIV Disease and AIDS, and Policy for Individuals with Disabilities. (These policies can be found at: clemson.edu/access/ under “Policies for Equitable Treatment”)

These procedures apply to complaints of harassment/discrimination based on age, color, disability, sex (including sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints that fall under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972), gender, pregnancy, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status, genetic information or protected activity (e.g., opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in the statutory complaint process, etc.). Such incidents of harassment/discrimination should be reported to the Office of Access and Equity, 110 Holtzendorff Hall, telephone: 864-656-3181 (voice) and 864-656-0899 (TDD). If Clemson University Responsible Employees[1] receive such complaints, they should also immediately report them to the Office of Access and Equity.

[1] At Clemson University, Responsible Employees under Title IX are defined as: Clemson University faculty, staff who work directly with students, Student Affairs staff, athletic coaches, Advisors to recognized student organizations, Graduate and Community Directors and Resident Assistants, managers, supervisors and administrators.

Any harassment/discrimination that is a violation of criminal law (including sexual violence) should also be immediately reported to the Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) if it occurred on campus by dialing 911 or 864-656-2222, or other appropriate law enforcement agency if it occurred off campus by calling 911. A criminal complaint and a campus complaint through either the Office of Access & Equity or the Office of Community and Ethical Standards can be made simultaneously.

Reports of harassment/discrimination should be brought as soon as possible after the alleged conduct occurs. Prompt reporting enables the University to more effectively investigate the facts, determine if a violation of any policy has occurred and provide an appropriate remedy or disciplinary action. The University will investigate all reports of discrimination/harassment against a member of our community regardless of the time that has passed since the incident and its reporting.

Complaint Process

Upon notification of a complaint alleging a violation of any of the policies identified above (including allegations of sexual discrimination/sexual violence), designated professional staff in the Office of Access and Equity will review the complaint and determine the appropriate action to pursue. In matters alleging sexual discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints that fall under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972), the Title IX Coordinator will determine the appropriate action to pursue after consideration of a number of variables including, but not limited to:

  • Whether the complainant wishes to remain anonymous and/or pursue disciplinary action;
  • Whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the respondent.
  • Whether the respondent threatened further violence against the complainant or others.
  • Whether the alleged sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon.
  • Whether the school possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g. security cameras, witnesses, physical evidence, etc.

Upon receiving an official complaint, the Office of Access and Equity will initiate a reliable, impartial and prompt investigation into the allegations following the process below. The purpose of the complaint process is to (1) determine whether the alleged conduct occurred, (2) if yes, determine if the conduct constitutes harassment/discrimination under the Clemson University policy, (3) if yes, determine what actions will be taken to end the harassment/discrimination, eliminate any hostile environment and prevent its recurrence.  

  • The Office of Access and Equity will assign investigators to initiate a fact-finding process to determine what occurred between the parties based on available evidence.
  • The investigation shall include interviews with the parties, interviews with other witnesses as needed and a review of relevant documents, if appropriate. Both the complainant and the respondent to the complaint will have an equal opportunity to provide evidence and to identify any witnesses that support their position. If all witnesses identified by the parties are not interviewed, the investigator will document the reason the interviews were not conducted and notify the parties.
  • The individual(s) accused of violating any University Policy for Equitable Treatment shall be issued a Notice of Investigation that provides written notification of the allegations made by the complainant. The notice will be followed by a letter, telephone call, or email from the Office of Access and Equity to schedule an appointment for discussion of the complaint, and if applicable, employ interim measures while the investigation is ongoing. NOTE: Complaints filed against current Clemson students that may result in an interim suspension shall be referred to the Office of Community and Ethical Standards (OCES) for review. OCES will determine if and whether to impose all interim suspensions.
  • Both the complainant and the respondent may have an advisor present (the advisor can be an attorney) during any meetings with the investigator(s) or other staff. However, the advisor is present solely to advise the party and not to ask or answer questions during the investigator’s fact-finding process.
  • The investigation shall be completed as promptly as possible. Generally, the investigations will be completed within 60 business days of receipt of the official complaint. However, complicated cases, absence of witness or other factors may result in longer investigations. If the investigation will exceed 60 days, the investigator will notify the complainant and the respondent.

For Title IX Investigations where the respondent is a student:

  • The investigation will result in a written report that includes a statement of the allegations, the positions of the parties, a summary of the findings of fact and a determination by the investigator(s) on whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant further review. If all witnesses identified by the parties were not interviewed, the report shall include a statement explaining why.
  • If the investigator(s) find there is insufficient evidence to warrant further review, then the report will be forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator who will consult with the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students. In the event there is no new substantial evidence, the investigation will be deemed complete with no additional action.
  • If the investigator(s) find that there is sufficient evidence, the report will be forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will review the report to ensure that a complete investigation has been conducted. Once it has been determined that the investigation is complete, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the report to Office of Community and Ethical Standards for adjudication in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.
  • The complainant and the respondent shall be informed when the investigation is completed. Both parties will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator of the following:
    • Whether the alleged conduct occurred and if further, review is warranted.
    • Any other steps taken to eliminate a hostile environment and to prevent its recurrence.
    • Any justification used to support why any of the witnesses identified by the parties were not interviewed.

For All Other Investigations where the respondent is an employee or non-Clemson students or employees

  • The investigation will result in a written report that includes a statement of the allegations, the positions of the parties, a summary of the findings of fact and a determination by the investigator(s) as to whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant further review. If all witnesses identified by the parties were not interviewed, the report shall include a statement explaining why. The report shall be submitted to the University official(s) with authority to implement the actions necessary to resolve the complaint.
  • The complainant and the respondent shall be informed by, the Title IX Coordinator or Director of Access and Equity, when the investigation is complete and whether any violations of policy were found. Both parties will be notified of the following:
    • Whether the alleged conduct occurred and whether it violated any Clemson University policy.
    • Any sanctions imposed against the respondent that directly relate to the Complainant.
    • Any other steps taken to eliminate a hostile environment and to prevent its recurrence.
    • If all witnesses identified by the parties were not interviewed and the reason they were not interviewed.
  • In cases involving allegations of sexual violence, the respondent will not be informed of all remedies offered to the complainant unless they specifically relate to the respondent such as a no contact order or no trespass order.

Burden of Proof

The Office of Access and Equity will apply the preponderance of the evidence standard in evaluating complaints. The standard is met when the investigation concludes that it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct occurred and/or the applicable policy was violated.

Confidentiality in Harassment/Discrimination Investigations

The University recognizes that a complainant may desire confidentiality and may request that the University not investigate or pursue resolution of an allegation of harassment/discrimination. In such cases, the University will maintain confidentiality to the extent permitted by law and other safety and welfare considerations. However, the University may determine that it must investigate and pursue resolution of a report, and take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of harassment/discrimination in order to protect the rights, interests and personal safety of the Clemson community. As such, the University may have to disclose the harassment allegation and the identity of the complainant to the accused, other University officials and others (to implement interim measures) as appropriate. Nevertheless, we will only share information on a limited basis and will keep information confidential to the extent permitted by law.

Confidentiality and Allegations of Sexual Violence

If a complainant alleging sexual violence requests that his/her name not be revealed to the alleged perpetrator or asks that the school not investigate or seek action against the alleged perpetrator, the complainant must understand that honoring this request may severely limit the ability to fully respond to the complaint, including pursuing disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator. All such requests will be referred to and reviewed by the Title IX Coordinator. A range of factors will be considered in evaluating these requests including but not limited to:

  • Whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the respondent.
  • Whether the respondent threatened further violence against the complainant or others.
  • Whether the alleged sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon.
  • Whether the school possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g. security cameras, witnesses, physical evidence, etc.

If a complainant wishes to speak to a confidential resource, the following resources are available:

  1. Counseling and Psychological Services for Students: Student victims of sexual violence can seek confidential crisis counseling services through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). During normal business hours, CAPS can be contacted by calling 864-656-2451. After hours and on weekends, CAPS can be contacted by calling 864-656-2222 asking for the CAPS on-call counselor.
  2. Employee Assistance Program for Employees: The Office of Human Resources offers confidential, professional referral assistance to faculty and staff by contacting the Employee Assistance Program at 864-656-3360 or 864-656-2726.
  3. All victims of sexual violence may seek crisis counseling services through the Pickens County Advocacy Center at 864-442-5500.

The University provides many other, non-confidential resources to students who have been victims of harassment/discrimination and sexual violence. Although the University encourages all students to seek help by means of speaking to someone, it is important to keep in mind that the University is required by law to review and attempt to resolve any allegation of sexual violence that is reported to any University official with the exception of those receiving parties that are confidential resources.

The University also has a duty to report sexual misconduct to the Clemson University Police Department for federal statistical reporting purposes (as dictated by the Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be reported regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety.

Temporary/Interim Measures

At any point in the complaint process, the Title IX Coordinator or Director of Access and Equity may recommend interim actions to protect parties or witnesses to the investigation including, but not limited to, separating the parties, reassignment, alternative work or student housing arrangements, alternative class schedule or other types of temporary measures. The University also reserves the right to issue no contact provisions to any or all parties involved in the procedures.

Potential Remedies for Students or Employees Making Complaints of Sexual Violence under these Procedures

Any temporary measure imposed during the investigation process could be made permanent. Other potential remedies include but are not limited to, special targeted training for relevant groups or individuals; other actions to separate the complainant and the respondent; changes to lighting or other physical aspects of the campus; an escort or other change so the complainant can move safely between classes and activities; extra time or other changes so the complainant can complete academic assignments/requirements if appropriate to the circumstances; changes to institutional services, policies, procedures, etc.

Sanctions

Persons found to be in violation of Clemson University policy pursuant to these procedures will be subject to sanctions. Sanctions are determined on a case-by-case basis. They may include, among other appropriate sanctions, "no contact" orders, warnings, probation, educational and/or training requirements, notations on transcripts, exclusion from the campus, suspension or termination from employment, and/or suspension or dismissal from the University.

Remedial actions may be taken to restore any losses suffered as a result of a violation of one of the Equitable Treatment policies. Examples of remedial actions include, but are not limited to, reevaluation of a grade, an evaluation completed by someone other than the respondent, reconsideration of an application for employment, placement in a position, back pay and lost benefits, withdrawal of a disciplinary action, alteration of class schedule, or a change in housing.

With respect to alleged sexual violence, the University offers reasonable and available changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations if requested, regardless of whether a criminal complaint is made to police or whether the report or complaint otherwise falls outside the jurisdiction of the Equitable Treatment policies. Certain changes may not be available unless a violation is found.

Retaliation Prohibited

Retaliation is conduct causing any interference, coercion, restraint or reprisal against a person filing a complaint of discrimination/harassment or assisting in any way in the investigation and resolution of a complaint. Retaliation is a violation of the University’s “Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy” and is prohibited. Appropriate sanctions will be taken against anyone found to have participated in any acts of retaliation.

  • Persons who feel they have been subjected to retaliation for filing a complaint of discrimination/harassment or for assisting with the resolution of a complaint should contact the Office of Access and Equity.