STEP 4: Addressing the Complaint
The Seminary encourages informal resolution options when the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively, or when inappropriate behavior does not rise to the level of violation of the Seminary’s policies, but nonetheless is adversely affecting the workplace or educational environment. Informal resolution may include an inquiry into the facts, but may not always rise to the level of an investigation.
Informal resolution includes, but is not limited to, options that involve mediation, separation of the parties, referral of the parties to counseling programs, or conducting targeted educational and training programs. Some reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct may not be appropriate for informal resolution, but may require a formal investigation at the discretion of the Title VI Coordinator or the Chair of the Non-Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Panel. Furthermore, although the Seminary welcomes informal resolution of grievances when appropriate, it will not use mediation between a complainant and alleged respondent or any other informal resolution mechanism to resolve grievances pertaining to grievous acts of racial discrimination, harassment, and matters of disability marginalization.
- Procedures for Informal Resolution. Any member of the Seminary community who believes that he or she is the victim of discrimination on the basis of age, ethnicity, race, color gender, sexual orientation, disability, military status, or national or ethnic origin; by another member of the Seminary community is encouraged, but not obligated, to discuss the matter with the Title VI Coordinator, the Assistant Title VI Coordinator or one of the Mediation Advocates. These persons are available to provide the Complainant with information, answer questions, and if so requested, to attempt a resolution of the matter through informal discussion with the parties involved. The Title VI Coordinators or the Mediation Advocates shall not serve as an advocate for any party to the matter, but shall instead serve in an impartial role to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution of the situation. Any discussion between an individual bringing a complaint and these persons shall be treated with the maximum possible degree of confidentiality, although the Seminary reserves the right to disclose or act upon information it receives when, in its judgment, it is necessary to do so to protect the safety or well-being of an individual or the Seminary, or as required by law.
- Resolution through Informal Resolution. When a complaint is resolved by way of informal resolution, or when efforts at a resolution are in the judgment of the Title VI Coordinator or his/her designee concluded, the Seminary’s representative will provide the Title VI Coordinator with a brief written report of the resolution, in which both the complainant and the respondent will be identified. The written report will then be filed by the Title VI Coordinator, who shall maintain the report as part of the permanent records of the Seminary.