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Information for Complainants

EOAA is neutral.  The office does not take sides; its role is to act as a neutral fact finder.  EOAA is committed to doing thorough, unbiased reviews through investigations focused on evidence. 

We help complainants find the right process.  Vassar College has processes and policies that provide prompt and effective review of discrimination and harassment complaints.  It is the goal of EOAA to address these concerns directly, but if our office is not best suited to address the concerns, EOAA will assist the complainant in determining the appropriate office and provide the complainant with contact information for that office.

Support person.  Complainants may bring a support person with them to any meetings with EOAA.  We request that complainants please let us know in advance if they will be doing so.  If the complainant is represented by a union, they may bring a union representative.  The support person is not permitted to answer questions or inject themselves into the interview process.  

Understanding the complaint.  The first step EOAA takes in an investigation is to gather information about the complaint.  This usually involves interviewing the complainant and gathering all evidence the complainant has, including any documentation and names of witnesses, if any.  In order to facilitate the investigation process, complainants are strongly encouraged to share all information they have regarding the matter. 

Anonymity.  Complainants frequently want to know if the respondent will be told they raised concerns.  Respondents are provided with a copy of the written complaint in order to provide enough information about the allegations to allow them a fair opportunity to respond. 

Consultation.  EOAA encourages all members of the Vassar College community to consult with an EOAA staff member regarding questions, issues, or concerns relating to discrimination or harassment.  A conversation with an EOAA staff member will not automatically trigger an investigation. 

Interviewing the respondent.  After EOAA understands the nature and scope of the complaint, the respondent is asked about the allegations and given a full and fair opportunity to respond.  The respondent is also asked to provide any documentation and identify witnesses relevant to the complaint, if any.  The complainant is not present during the respondent’s interview and vice versa. 

Gathering other evidence. EOAA interviews witnesses and reviews documentation that it believes to be relevant to the situation.  EOAA may also contact the complainant and respondent with additional questions or to request additional information. 

Decision and follow up. After reviewing all of the relevant evidence, an investigation report is produced.  Based on the investigation, the EOAA Office will determine if there is sufficient evidence to support reasonable cause.  The office will inform the complainant and respondent of the outcome of the investigation and provide a summary of the investigative process, determination, and possible sanctions if appropriate.  Either the complainant or the respondent may reject the determination of the initial investigation, in part or entirely, and request a grievance hearing by sending a written request to the EOAA Office.    

Retaliation.  Vassar College has a strong policy against retaliation.  Complainants who feel they are being subjected to retaliatory behavior are strongly encouraged to contact EOAA immediately. 

More information.  If you have any other questions about the investigation process, please do not hesitate to contact EOAA directly at 845-437-7924.