The College has two approaches for resolving complaints of alleged discrimination and harassment: informal resolution and the formal grievance processes. Informal resolution efforts and the formal grievance processes are not mutually exclusive, and neither is a prerequisite for the other. Moreover, the informal resolution process may be ended at any time in order to initiate a formal complaint.
Individuals who believe that they have been victims of sexual or some other form of harassment can contact an EO/AA officer who will meet with them to hear their concerns and review available options for informal and formal resolution. Discussing a concern does not commit one to making a formal charge. However, an individual reporting harassment should be aware that the College may decide that it is necessary to take action to address the harassment beyond an informal discussion.
The College encourages the prompt reporting of any potential violations of this policy so that it can take appropriate steps to maintain an environment free of harassment and can ensure that its procedures are effective. While no fixed reporting period has been established, early reporting and intervention has proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of sexual and other forms of harassment.
Informal Resolution: Seeking Mediation
- Whenever possible and perceived to be safe by all parties, informal resolution is encouraged but is not required. Informal resolution efforts may include, but are not limited to, presentation by complainant of her or his concerns and desired outcome to the respondent in writing or in a meeting convened by the EO/AA office, or mediated discussion between the complainant and respondent.
- In cases of requests for mediation, the EO/AA officer(s) will assess the situation to determine whether mediation is appropriate and whether it will be conducted by a trained mediator, and/or in the presence of EO/AA officer(s), supervisor, dean, senior officer, human resources administrator, or other appropriate member of the College community. The complainant and the respondent may refuse mediation or may end mediation at any time. No adverse inference is to be drawn from either decision. Mediation is never appropriate in cases of alleged sexual assault. The EO/AA Office will document all informal resolution efforts.
Informal resolution outcomes may include, but are not limited to,
- Explicit agreements about future conduct;
- Changes in the working, learning, or living environment;
- Targeted educational and training programs; and
- Other forms of corrective action, as appropriate.
Formal Grievance Process
A formal grievance process may be initiated by meeting in person with the EO/AA Officer or, for matters involving the faculty, the Faculty Director of Affirmative Action, or by writing to the EO/AA Office. The College strongly encourages submission of grievances in writing after a grievance is initiated through an in-person meeting. The formal grievance should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. It may also be handdelivered, or sent by certified mail to the attention of either the Faculty Director of Affirmative Action or the EO/AA officer, as appropriate, at: Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Vassar College, Campus Box 645, 124 Raymond Ave, Poughkeepsie NY 12604-0645. A formal grievance must identify and include the following information:
- Complainant’s signature and the date signed;
- Name of the respondent, their position or status, and contact information, if known;
- Clear and concise description of the alleged incident(s), and when and where it occurred;
- Description of all informal efforts, if any, to resolve the issue(s) with the person involved. This includes names, dates, and times of attempted or actual contact along with a description of the discussion and the manner of communication made in the course of each effort;
- Supporting documentation and evidence; and
- Names of witnesses or individuals who may have direct and relevant information about the specific allegation (with accompanying addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers.)