Discrimination as prohibited by law is a matter of particular concern to Georgia Perimeter College. The college's policies and procedures for dealing with discrimination have been designed to protect all individuals while ensuring academic freedom to teach, learn and work. Students at Georgia Perimeter College have the right to free expression in the classroom and the right to express political ideology and other personal beliefs of intellectual diversity. The policy is in accordance with the University System of Georgia Board of Regents Policy 401.02 and the law. The policy has the support of the college's President and administration.
Discrimination means to treat a person adversely because of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age, disability or veteran status or to implement policies or practices that intentionally or unintentionally adversely impact a person on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, creed, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status.
Confidentiality will be maintained insofar as it does not interfere with the college's legal obligation or ability to investigate allegations of misconduct when brought to its attention and to take corrective action when it is found that misconduct has occurred.
Throughout the process, every effort will be made to protect the complainant from reprisals and to protect the accused from irresponsible complaints.
The Student Discrimination Grievance procedure encourages and provides guidelines for informal resolution of disputes by communication between the parties involved.
This procedure provides a means by which students who are aggrieved by actions taken by college personnel (faculty, staff or administration) that they feel are discriminatory, including assignment of grades so long as the basis of the grade appeal is alleged discrimination, can voice their grievances and be heard in a meaningful manner. This procedure is in no way intended to discourage or supplant the informal resolution of disputes by communication between the parties involved, and in fact, no written grievance will be considered and no hearing will be granted by the Grievance Committee unless an aggrieved party can show that he or she has made genuine efforts to resolve the dispute informally, by means specified herein. Neither is this procedure intended to supplant Georgia Perimeter College procedure section 304.50 entitled "Student Appeal Regarding Grades" in cases where a student is appealing an assigned grade on grounds other than alleged discrimination by a faculty member.
In cases where a student is appealing a grade on the basis of alleged discrimination, the student must elect between the College Grade Appeal procedure at Section 304.50 of the Georgia Perimeter College Policy Manual and the Student Discrimination Grievance Procedure, but cannot use both for the same grade appeal. (See Student Appeal Regarding Grades, Georgia Perimeter College Policy Manual, Section 304.50.)
All proceedings pursuant to this procedure will be conducted as confidentially as is practical. All time limitations are not to exceed the specified number of days. All references to days are to working days.
- Campus Dean of Student Services' Roles
An aggrieved student shall meet with the campus dean of Student Services at the earliest opportunity after the most recent incident that is the subject of the grievance. The student should be prepared to explain to the campus dean of Student Services all relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the grievance. The dean will determine the appropriate action necessary, perform an investigation, and assist the student in the filing of a formal grievance. This procedure will be followed if an informal resolution cannot be reached through intervention.
- Filing of written grievance
Any written grievance shall be filed by the student and any other party in interest with the Director of Human Resources for Compliance and Affirmative Action (DHRCAA) within ten working days after the aggrieved student's meeting with the campus dean of Student Services. Such grievance must contain specific factual allegations of the discriminatory practice(s) or incident(s), and a statement of the alleged basis or bases of the discrimination, which must be one or more of the following: race, color, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, national origin or veteran's status.
- Appointment of Grievance Committee
An Ad Hoc Grievance Committee will be appointed by the DHRCAA no later than ten working days after the filing of a written grievance and will consist of five members: a student, a faculty member, and a student affairs professional, plus two other individuals, either staff, administrative or faculty, corresponding to the position of the individual against whom the grievance is brought. All Committee members will be from the campus on which the grievance originated.
The DHRCAA will name one of the five members as chair of the Committee.
- Duties of Grievance Committee
- Notice of Hearing
Within ten working days of the appointment of the committee, the chair shall issue a written notice to the student and any other party in interest. The notice shall set forth the date, time, and place of the hearing, the issue(s) as they are understood by the committee, and a statement that the parties are responsible for the attendance of their own witnesses and the presentation of any documentary evidence they wish to make part of the record, including the sworn statements of any witnesses who are unable to attend the scheduled hearing. The date of the hearing shall be within ten working days of the notice.
- Hearing Procedure
The parties will not be permitted representation by attorneys at the hearing, but they will be permitted to be accompanied by an advisor from the college with whom they may confer during the course of the hearing. The burden of proof of the allegations raised in the written grievance shall rest with the aggrieved student. The student shall have the first opportunity to present his or her case by narrative, testimony of witnesses and presentation of documentary evidence. The party against whom the grievance has been brought will then have an opportunity to present his or her case, in the same manner. All testimony shall be taken under oath administered by the chair of the Grievance Committee. Both parties shall have the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses. The committee shall not be bound by legal rules of evidence, but shall hear all relevant evidence presented. The chair of the committee will rule on any challenge raised to the admissibility of evidence, as well as any other objections made during the course of the hearing.
- Determination of Committee
Within five working days of the hearing, the committee, through its chair, shall present to the DHRCAA a written determination for disposition of the grievance. The determination shall include specific findings of fact based on evidence presented at the hearing and a course of optional courses of action for the institution. The determination may include a dissenting opinion or opinions if the committee members are unable to reach consensus. The DHRCAA will then report the results of the hearing to the parties involved in writing or in person. The DHRCAA will advise the parties at that time of their right to appeal the determination of the committee to the Vice President of Student Affairs within five working days of the issuance of the determination.
- Notice of Hearing
- Appeal to the Vice President of Student Affairs
Within five working days of the receipt of an appeal, the vice president of Student Affairs shall issue a decision based on review of the record. This decision shall be in writing, and may incorporate, by reference, all or part of the determination of the Committee.
- Appeal to the President
A party in interest who is aggrieved by the decision of the vice president of Student Affairs may appeal the decision to the President within five working days of the date of the vice president of Student Affairs’ decision. Such appeal must be in writing, dated, and set forth the specific grounds of appeal. The college attorney will assist the president with the final appeal process.
- Final decision
The president shall issue a final decision on the appeal within a reasonable amount of time. The decision shall apprise the appealing party of the right to further appeal to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia pursuant to Paragraph IX of the Bylaws of the Board of Regents or any other applicable provision of the Policies of the Board of Regents.