Student Handbook

Grievance Procedures for Cases of Discrimination or Harassment

Revised August 23, 2019

Grievance Procedures for Cases of Discrimination or Harassment

Members of the Arcadia University community who feel they have experienced discrimination, disciplinary action, or harassment based upon ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, race, color, religion, creed, sex/gender, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, age, gender identity, military or military veteran status, disability, family medical or genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristic  have rights to grievance procedures which should both address their complaints and see that misbehavior or errant practices are corrected. These procedures cover student to student complaints*. Student complaints about the behavior of faculty or staff members are addressed through a separate policy. However, the Dean of Students or a member of the Student Affairs staff can serve as a resource to students in these cases.

The University’s Student Code of Conduct prohibits discrimination and harassment based on the above listed protected characteristics, as well as retaliation against any individual who complains of discrimination or harassment or who assists in providing information about a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Discrimination is defined as adverse treatment and/or any unlawful distinction, preference, or detriment of/to a person based on a protected characteristic. Harassment is defined as unwelcome verbal or physical conduct directed toward a person based on a protected characteristic which conduct is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with that person’s employment, academic performance, or participation in University programs or activities, or that otherwise creates a working, learning, living, program, or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile, or offensive.

Informal Resolution of Complaints

It is desirable that complaints be resolved through informal channels if possible. This could include persons who believe themselves to have been mistreated communicating directly to the person(s) they hold accountable for the mistreatment, that their conduct was unwelcome and asking that it cease. 
Student Affairs staff is available to facilitate informal resolution if chosen with the mutual consent of the parties to the grievance. Students should contact the Dean of Students at( 215-572-2933 or in writing) to discuss options and appropriate staff to address the situation. The Associate Dean of Students will address any situations in the absence of the Dean of Students or if there is a potential conflict of interest. All administrators dealing with these matters shall keep their knowledge of the alleged misconduct private.

Formal Resolution of Complaints

While informal resolution is encouraged, it is recognized that certain types of conduct are so serious as to make this step inappropriate. Of course, the University can take action independently when there has been an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct.  And, a student may alert the University to an alleged violation and pursue formal process when a matter has not been resolved satisfactorily during efforts at informal resolution, where the student does not wish to resolve a dispute informally, or where the conduct complained of was so serious that informal resolution is not appropriate. Student complaints against another student should be directed to the Dean of Students at (215-572-2933) or in writing.

The person should write or be prepared to discuss the specific violations being alleged, the details of the case as the complainant understands them, and what, if anything, has been done to resolve the matter informally. The Dean of Students or his or her designee should meet to discuss the case with the complainant within one week of receiving a request and will make a decision as to any further action. Allegations of discrimination or harassment, or related retaliation, are handled according to the Student Judicial Process as outlined in the Student Handbook.  At the discretion of the Dean of Students, any timetables in this policy may be modified for incidents occurring at or near break periods or for other good cause.

In order to aid in the speedy resolution of concerns, the complainant is encouraged to come forward as soon as possible, ideally within twenty (20) working days of the alleged infraction, or ten (10) working days of an unsuccessful attempt to handle the matter informally. But, there may be exceptions to these time limits if good cause is shown for coming forward at a later date, within two (2) years of the alleged incident.  Among such causes might be a complainant’s reluctance to confront someone who has authority or strong influence of their future prospects, or the discovery of new evidence or corroborating witnesses. In instances of substantial delay after the alleged incident, a hearing officer or board should take into account the effect of the time lapse on the parties’ abilities to prepare their cases.

You can find Arcadia's Policy on Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment here.

* Complaints involving employees of the University should be directed to the Affirmative Action Officer (215-572-2790) and are not covered in this policy. However, the Dean of Students or a member of the Student Affairs staff can serve as a resource to students in these cases. Click here to view the University Affirmative Action Policy.