RESPONSIBLE DEPARTMENT: Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, 909/537-5185
Article I Statement of Policy
This policy and procedures are designed to provide a student grievant with an opportunity to obtain an equitable resolution to alleged injustices or problems caused in part or whole by the actions or practices of the university.
Employees and students who violate this policy may be subject to discipline. If discipline of a CSUSB employee is appropriate under this policy, it shall be administered in a manner consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements, CSUSB policies, and provisions of California Education Code Sections 89535 et seq. Discipline of a student shall be administered in accordance with Section 41301 of Title 5, California Code of Regulations.
Article II Definitions
For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions apply:
- Accused means a CSUSB employee against whom a grievance has been filed.
- Employee, as defined in Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, means a person legally holding a position in and employed by California State University, San Bernardino (e.g., Administrators, Faculty, Staff).
- Grievance is a complaint by a student about an alleged action by a CSUSB employee which adversely affects the status, rights or privileges of the student.
- Grievant is a student who has filed a complaint because he/she believes that his/her status, rights or privileges have been adversely affected by a alleged action of a CSUSB employee.
- Investigator means the person tasked by CSUSB with investigating a non-academic grievance at the Formal Level. An investigator may be a Management Personnel Plan employee or an external consultant.
- Management Personnel Plan Employee, as defined in Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, means an employee who has been designated as 'management' or 'supervisory' in accordance with the provisions of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act.
- Preponderance of the Evidence means the greater weight of the evidence; i.e., that the evidence on one side outweighs, preponderates over, or is more than, the evidence on the other side.
- Student means any individual (matriculated or non-matriculated) taking classes at California State University, San Bernardino or one who was a student within twenty (20) calendar days prior to the date on which he/she formally began the grievance process.
Article III Grievances Regarding Violations of the Policy
- Who May File Complaints Under this Policy
- Matriculated or non-matriculated students enrolled at the university, as well as former students provided that they were students within twenty (20)calendar days prior to the date on which they formally began the grievance process.
- Actions Not Grievable Under this Policy
- To contest an instructors evaluation of academic performance;
- Academic probation, disqualification or other academic decisions by a department, college or the university;
- Discrimination complaints and other forms of illegal harassment;
- University student conduct action;
- Academic dishonesty allegations;
- Allegations of unprofessional conduct by faculty or staff;
- Parking citations;
- Debt to the university;
- Contents of materials contained in a student's university records;
- Actions or practices of the university which are the result of CSU system-wide requirements, i.e., student fees.
Procedure for Handling Non-Academic Grievances by Students Against CSUSB Employees
Article IV. Grievances Against CSUSB Employees - Informal Resolution
Students who believe that their status, rights or privileges have been adversely affected by an action of a CSUSB employee(s) may request that the Informal Resolution process be initiated prior to/or instead of filing a formal grievance.
Upon receipt of a student's informal concern(s), the person who received the concern shall contact the Director of Ombuds Services and provide that individual with the student's contact information.
During the Informal Resolution process, the University will attempt to resolve the student's concern(s) quickly and effectively. The Director of Ombuds Services will meet with the student, the accused, and any other person(s) or witness(es) determined to be necessary for a resolution of the matter, to review the allegations and any responses. Informal Resolution may take the form of a negotiated resolution facilitated by the Director of Ombuds Services. At any time during the Informal Resolution process, the student may elect to terminate the process and proceed with Article V of this policy. Both the student and the accused will be expected to keep the details of the informal resolution process confidential until the process is concluded.
If resolution is reached by these informal means, a record of the resolution will be memorialized in a written document and signed by the student. Such document will be maintained in accordance with applicable CSUSB recordkeeping policies in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The matter will be considered closed and the student will be precluded from subsequently filing a formal grievance or appeal on the same incident under this policy.
If resolution is not reached by these informal means, the student will be informed about how to file a formal grievance pursuant to Article V of this policy.
The University may determine that circumstances warrant initiating an investigation even if a formal grievance is not filed and independent of the intent or wishes of the student. This does not impose a duty on the University to conduct an investigation any time informal resolution is sought. The investigation conducted by the campus in such a circumstance shall not be subject to Article V of this policy.
Article V. Grievances Against CSUSB Employees - Formal Level
- Filing a grievance. The student shall file a written grievance with the Judicial Affairs Officer. The date of receipt shall establish the grievance filing date.
- Timeline for filing a grievance. To be timely, the student must file a grievance no later than twenty (20) work days after the end of the academic quarter in which the most recently alleged act occurred.
- Requirements of a Grievance. The student should complete the 'Student Non-Academic Grievance Complaint Form' or, in the alternative, the student shall submit a written signed statement containing the following information:
- The full name, address and telephone number(s) of the student;
- The name of the accused employee(s) of CSUSB and their position(s), if known;
- A clear, concise written statement of the facts that constitute the alleged act(s), including pertinent date(s) and sufficient information to identify any individuals who may provide information (e.g., potential witnesses) during the course of the investigation conducted under these procedures;
- A statement by the student verifying that the information supporting the allegations are true and accurate to the best of his/her knowledge;
- The term and year of the student's last active academic status;
- The full name, address and telephone number of the student's advisor, if any;
- Specific harm resulting from the alleged action;
- Specific remedy sought;
- The student's signature; and
- The date of complaint submission.
- Intake interview. An interview with the student shall occur as soon as possible with the Judicial Affairs Officer or other designated individual, but no later than ten (10) work days after the student has submitted a formal grievance. Students must make themselves available for this meeting. The meeting will serve to:
- Acquaint the student with the investigation procedure and timelines, if not already done.
- Inform the student of his/her rights (including having an advisor,) if not already done.
- Request the student to complete and sign a formal grievance form, if not already done.
- Conduct the initial intake interview.
- Advisor. The student may elect to have an advisor accompany him/her to any meeting(s) and/or interview(s) with the University regarding the grievance. The advisor may be an attorney. The advisor's role in such meetings and/or interviews is limited to observing and consulting with the student.
- Notice Regarding Grievance. Only those persons with a legitimate need to know will be apprised of the filing of and disposition of a grievance. Those persons may include, but are not necessarily limited to, appropriate organizational unit administrators (Deans, Chairs, Department Heads, Directors, Vice Presidents, and University Counsel) who must be involved to ensure that retaliatory action does not occur during or after the investigative process, and/or to effectuate corrective actions.
- Investigation Procedure and Report of Findings of Fact and Conclusions. Upon inquiry or during the course of an investigation, the student shall be advised of the status of the investigation. The investigation shall be completed no later than sixty (60) work days after the intake interview, unless the timeline has been extended pursuant to Article VI, Section E or F of this policy. The timeline for the investigation shall not be extended pursuant to Article VI, Section E or F for a period longer than an additional thirty (30) work days from the original due date. Within the investigation period stated above, the investigator will make findings of fact and conclusions regarding the allegations which he/she shall reduce to an investigative report. The preponderance of the evidence is the applicable standard for demonstrating facts in the investigation. In order to establish a fact, the investigator must find that its existence is more probable than its non-existence: i.e., that it is more likely than not to exist. The investigative report should include a summary of the allegations, a description of the investigative process, the preponderance of the evidence standard used to determine whether a violation of policy occurred, the evidence considered and a determination of whether the allegations were found to be substantiated. The investigative report is then provided to the appropriate Vice President or designee.
- Notice of Finding. The appropriate Vice President shall provide the student with notification of the outcome of the campus investigation within ten (10) work days of completing the report. The notification should include a summary of the allegations, a description of the investigative process, the preponderance of the evidence standard used to determine whether a violation of policy occurred, the evidence considered and a determination of whether the allegations were found to be substantiated. The decision of the Vice President is final.
In addition to the above notification, a separate notification shall be provided to the accused(s), indicating whether or not the allegations at the Formal Level were substantiated.
Article VI General Provisions for Investigations of a Grievance Against CSUSB Employees
- The person who conducts an investigation under this policy at the Formal Level may be the Judicial Affairs Officer or another Management Personnel Plan employee or an external consultant, provided the investigator is not within the administrative control or authority of the accused. All investigations/reviews under this policy shall be conducted impartially and in good faith.
- Students and CSUSB employees are required to cooperate with the investigation/review, including but not limited to attending meetings, being forthright and honest during the process, and keeping confidential the existence and details of the investigation/review. If a grievant and/or accused refuses to cooperate, the investigator may draw all reasonable inferences and conclusions on the basis of all available evidence and conclude the investigation/review.
- A student must proceed with a grievance in good faith. A student who knowingly and intentionally files a false grievance, abuses this policy, or files a malicious or frivolous grievance may be subject to discipline. Discipline shall be taken in accordance with Section 41301, Title 5, California Code of Regulations. Such disciplinary action shall not be deemed to be retaliation under this policy.
- Both the student and the accused shall have the right to identify witnesses and other evidence for consideration; however, the investigator shall decide which witnesses and evidence are relevant and significant to the issues raised.
- If the student, the accused, a witness, the campus investigator, or other necessary person involved in the grievance process is unavailable because of any reason deemed to be legitimate by the investigator, the timelines in this policy will be automatically adjusted according to the period of absence. The student will receive written notification of the period of extension.
- When submitting a grievance or issuing a response, personal delivery or certified mail shall be used. If personal delivery is used, a signature acknowledging the calendar date of delivery shall be obtained which will establish the date of filing or response. If certified mail delivery is used, the postmark shall establish the date of response or filing.
- CSUSB is not obligated under this policy to investigate a grievance not timely filed under its provisions. Regardless, CSUSB may investigate the underlying allegations of any grievance against a CSUSB employee if it determines the circumstances warrant investigation.