Western Kentucky University

Appeal Process for Formal Complaint

gordon wilson


Appeal Process

Either the complainant or person accused may file an appeal pertaining to any decision concerning the resolution of the complaint. An appeal by either party must be made in writing, delivered to the Office of The WKU President in the Wetherby Administration Building within five business days of receipt of the resolution/disciplinary decision notice.      The written appeal must state, in detail, the reason(s) for the appeal and address one or more of the following:

1)      if the appeal alleges findings of the investigator included relevant factual errors or omitted relevant facts, the appeal shall specify each alleged factual error and every relevant fact omitted from the investigation;

2)      if the appeal alleges substantive procedural errors, the person appealing shall identify each instance of said substantive procedural error;

3)      if the appeal alleges relevant and substantive issues or questions concerning interpretation of university policy, the person appealing shall state the issues and questions supporting this allegation;

4)      if the appeal alleges new information or evidence, the person appealing shall specify the reason(s) the information was not available or provided to the investigator during the investigation, including specific reasons why said information could not have been provided on a timely basis;

5)      if the appeal alleges either the action(s) or inaction(s) of the supervisor, in response to the findings of the investigator, will not prevent future violation(s) of this policy, the person appealing shall specify, in detail, the reasons and basis for this belief/allegation.

No disciplinary or other action based on the complaint shall be taken against the alleged offender during the appeal process, although temporary, interim measures may remain in place. As indicated herein, the university in its discretion may at any point in the complaint process elect to place the alleged offender on administrative leave, with pay, or implement a temporary reassignment.

 

Sexual Harassment Appeal Committee

Appeals shall be submitted to a Sexual Harassment Appeal Committee whose members shall be selected and appointed by The WKU President. The committee will include at least one male and one female.

 

Member Appointments

Both the complainant and the alleged offender shall be provided with an opportunity to submit written objections within a specific time period to the appointment of any committee member(s) on the basis of that member's inability to act impartially. If The WKU President determines that a committee member cannot act impartially, an alternate appointment shall be made. The committee shall be appointed in a timely manner, considering all relevant circumstances. The WKU President's decision regarding committee appointments is final.

 

Hearing / Committee Recommendation       

The committee will conduct a formal hearing and allow the complainant and accused person ("the party") to present relevant information, per the committee’s discretion, to the allegations. If the appeal involves allegations described in item 5 found in the Filing an Appeal section, the committee will likewise consider the statement(s) of the supervisor. The committee shall have sole discretion regarding personal appearance of any witness, whether to consider only the party’s statements and review only the written record, or any other matter regarding the conduct of the hearing. The hearing will not be considered a judicial hearing, but rather an internal hearing the complainant and the alleged offender are present. Legal counsel will not be permitted to be present during any part of the committee hearing. The formal hearing shall be audio taped and transcribed.

The committee's deliberations shall be closed to all persons other than the committee members and shall not be audio taped. Its recommendation will be determined by a majority vote, shall be in writing and delivered to The WKU President. It may be accompanied by a minority opinion. The appeal will be conducted and completed in an expeditious manner, considering all the circumstances.

 

President's Review and Recommendation

The WKU President shall review the recommendation. He or she may affirm, amend or return it for further deliberation by the committee. The WKU President's review and decision will be conducted in an expeditious manner, considering all circumstances, shall be a final decision and reported in writing to the complainant, person accused, the supervisor and the investigator.          

 

Written Record of Complaints, Investigations and Resolutions/Decisions     

Written records of complaints will be marked "CONFIDENTIAL" and will be retained in a separate, secure and locked file in the EAU Office. Records shall be retained as required by state law. Written records relating to a sexual harassment finding may be placed in an accused employee's official personnel file and include the following:

1) any document that has been mutually agreed to by the university and the person accused of harassment,

2) a letter issued by the responsible administrator to the accused person at the conclusion of a formal investigation, that notifies the accused of actions, decisions and/or other recommendations concerning the complaint and

3) a settlement agreement between the parties. 

 

Dissemination of Policy

The policy will be made available to all employees and students. Periodic notices sent to students, employees and supervisors about the university's Policy Against Sexual Harassment will include information about the complaint procedure and refer individuals to designated offices and officials for additional information. 

 

 Last Modified 5/27/14