December 9, 2002

Humboldt State University

Fact Sheet Regarding Filing Complaints Against Students

Below you will find information regarding the processing of a complaint, including but not limited to complaints alleging unlawful discrimination, against a student.

  • Persons who are concerned that they might have a complaint against a student may seek information and advice about the legitimacy of their concerns and the procedures that exist for resolving complaints. This informal inquiry seeks to provide an opportunity for an informal, yet fair, resolution of the inquiry, while preserving, to the greatest extent possible, the confidentiality of the parties involved in an atmosphere of mediation and conciliation. The University designates the University Student Discipline Coordinator(s) or other appropriate personnel (e.g., Residential Life Staff) to receive informal inquiries from complainants. In addition to giving information and advice, the University Student Discipline Coordinator(s) or other appropriate personnel may seek to achieve informal resolution to problems by bringing together the two parties. This attempt will likely require the agreement of the inquirer to enlarge the scope of confidentiality to the second party. At any time a student may file a formal complaint.
  • Complaints alleging that a student(s) has violated the Student Conduct Code (Title 5, California Rules and Regulations, section 41301) should be submitted to the University Student Discipline Coordinator(s) as soon as possible after the event takes place. Although a written complaint is preferred, it is not necessary to do such in order for your complaint to be investigated.
  • Upon receiving a formal complaint, or upon determining that the University has an obligation to pursue an inquiry into possible incidents even without a signed complaint, the University Student Discipline Coordinator(s) or other appropriate personnel shall promptly begin an appropriate investigation. Appropriate law enforcement personnel will investigate complaints regarding matters that may also be violations of state and federal law. Timelines for investigation may vary according to the agency. Investigation by outside agencies may or may not proceed simultaneously with investigation by the University.
  • If your complaint alleges conduct that, if true, would not constitute a violation of University policies, including but not limited to those policies prohibiting unlawful discrimination or misconduct, the matter shall be dismissed without further investigation by the University Student Discipline Coordinator(s) or other appropriate personnel.
  • You may, but are not required to, have a consultant of your choosing present at interviews conducted during the course of the investigation into your complaint. The consultant shall not be a person admitted to the practice of law before any state or federal court. The role of the consultant is limited to observing and consulting with you regarding your complaint and the process.
  • The University Student Discipline Coordinator or other appropriate personnel shall complete the investigation within ninety (90) instructional days from receipt of the complaint.
  • For complaints alleging unlawful discrimination, the University Student Discipline Coordinator or other appropriate personnel shall inform the complainant in writing as to whether the university will or will not initiate formal disciplinary charges and the basis for the decision.
  • If the University Student Discipline Coordinator or other appropriate personnel concludes that disciplinary action against a student may be required, formal disciplinary charges shall be initiated in accordance with the Student Disciplinary Procedures for the California State University.
  • If the complaint proceeds to a formal hearing as outlined in CSU Executive Order #1043 (PDF, req. Adobe Reader), you may be required to testify as a witness.
  • Under CSU Executive Order #1043 (PDF, req. Adobe Reader), the University Student Discipline Coordinator(s) may notify alleged victims of a crime of violence of the results of any disciplinary action taken. The term "crime of violence" means (a) an offense that has an element of the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or (b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense. (Section 1232g (b)(6) of Title 20 of the United States Code).
  • Although there is no appeal of the university decision regarding appropriate sanctions against a student under the Student code of Conduct, a student who feels that the University did not take an appropriate action to resolve his or her complaint of discrimination may file a separate complaint under the University's Procedures for Processing Complaints of Discrimination (University Management Letter Number 03-01).
  • In matters regarding complaints of discrimination, complaints may also be filed with an outside agency such as the Office of Civil Rights. The fact that a charge has been filed with an external agency will in no way deter an investigation by the University concerning the same or similar events, so long as the complaint is filed in a timely manner.

For further information, contact the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, Nelson Hall East 206, (707) 826-3504 or email.

*Unlawful discrimination means any action that is taken in violation of University policies because of an individual's race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, disability, veteran status or national or ethnic origin. Discrimination also may include threats or other forms of improper conduct in retaliation against any person as a result of their filing of a Complaint of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing a prohibited discriminator practice or policy.

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