Equity Complaint Council
Dr. Allen Engle (Co-Chair)
Dr. Charlotte Rich (Co-Chair)
Dr. Kristie Blevins
Dr. Bethanie Gamble
Dr. Paul Grant
Dr. Laura Newhart
Dr. Jerry Palmer
Dr. Ralph Turner
Dr. Ginny Whitehouse
Dr. Lori Wilson
Vittoria Andriolo Ferrato
Appointment: The Equity Complaint Council is a sanctioning body comprised of Faculty, Staff, and Students (in student-student complaint), whom are recommended by the Title IX Coordinator and Director of OEI, and approved by the President.
Purpose: The University's Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy designates the Equity Complaint Council to determine sanctions and/or disciplinary actions for all formal complaints of discrimination or harassment which have resulted in a finding of responsible under the Policy.
Structure: Each hearing panel shall consist of five (5) employees. In cases involving a staff respondent, the panel shall consist of two (2) faculty members and three (3) staff members, to be selected from the pool at random. In cases involving a faculty member respondent, the panel shall consist of three (3) faculty members and two staff members, to be selected from the pool at random. In cases involving a student respondent, the panel shall consist of three (3) faculty members, three (3) staff members, and one student member. The student member shall not participate in sanctioning processes involving employees. At least three members (for employee cases) and four (for student cases) must be present to constitute a quorum. Decisions shall be by majority vote of the members of the Council.
Term: Faculty, Staff, and Students appointed to the ECC will serve for one (1) year consistent with the University's Committee appointment process.
Conflict of Interest: In addition to compliance with the University’s Code of Ethics policy, an ECC Panel member should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the Hearing Panel member’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where:
- The Hearing Panel member has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a participant in the process or has personal knowledge of disputed facts concerning the proceeding;
- The Hearing Panel member was directly involved in the matter in controversy, or a subordinate whom the Hearing Panel member previously supervised is involved in the matter, or the Hearing Panel Member was a witness to the matter;
- The Hearing Panel member or a person in his/her family is related to a participant in the process; or
- The Hearing Panel member is in the same Department or Work Unit as a participant in the process.
Restricted Communication: Hearing Panel members shall not initiate, permit, or consider communications made to the Hearing Panel outside the Grievance proceedings concerning a pending or impending Grievance, except as follows:
- Communications necessary to perform their responsibilities and duties; and
- Communication for scheduling, administrative, or emergency purposes, which does not address substantive matters.
If a Hearing Panel member receives an unauthorized communication bearing upon the substance of a complaint, the member shall promptly notify the complainant, respondent, University representative, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Coordinator of the substance of the communication and provide the parties with an opportunity to respond.
A Hearing Panel member shall not investigate facts in a complaint, and shall consider only the evidence presented, and any facts that may be pertinent to the sanctioning/discipline determination.
Training: Prior to hearing a complaint, ECC members must go through an extensive training. It is required that every member receive yearly training which includes an overview of:
- Sexual Harassment and Discrimination;
- The University's Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Regulation; and
- Mock employment and student misconduct hearings.