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Fordham University School of Law's Anti-Discrimination Policy and Student Grievance Procedure

I. Policy

Fordham University School of Law protects the right of each of its students to be free from discrimination in connection with participation in, access to, or the benefits of any academic or non-academic program or activity of the Law School on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, age, color, race, religion, sect, creed, veteran status, marital status, ancestry and national origin, and to be from retaliation for invoking this procedure.

II. Student Grievance Procedure

A. Scope

The following Student Grievance Procedure applies to each student of Fordham University School of Law who believes he or she has been subjected to such discrimination or retaliation by any member of the faculty, administration or staff.  This Policy and Procedure is not intended to derogate from protections provided for faculty members under the Statutes of Fordham University, and specifically section 4-07.13 thereof. Nothing in these procedures shall prohibit a student from contacting a member of the faculty, administration or staff orally, or from seeking the guidance or assistance of a third person - such as another student, or member of the faculty, administration or staff - in resolving the grievances informally. 

B. Informal Process

(i) The Complainant and the Respondent, defined in (ii) below, shall mutually endeavor to resolve informally any grievance alleging a violation of the policy described in I above.

(ii) The student initiating the grievance (hereafter, "Complainant") shall within ten days of the event which precipitated the grievance, or ten days after the Complainant became aware of the event, contact the faculty member/administrator/staff member whose action is in question (hereafter, "Respondent") in writing. The Complainant shall request an appointment to discuss the alleged violation. In exceptional circumstance, such as any case of alleged sexual, racial or ethnic harassment, or where the Associate Dean or the Associate Dean's designee agrees that a mandatory preliminary meeting with the Respondent is inappropriate, the Complainant having reported to the Associate Dean in writing within the aforesaid ten days, may proceed directly to the Formal Process under paragraph C below, or pursue such other informal resolution processes as may be suggested by the Associate Dean or [his/her] designee. 

C. Formal Process

(1) Level 1. If no informal resolution satisfactory to the Complainant has been reached within fourteen days after the Complainant has contacted the Respondent in writing as described in II.B (ii) above, the Complainant shall within seven days thereafter file in the office of the Associate Dean a written Notice of Pending Grievance stating the date of the alleged violation of the aforesaid policy and the name of the Respondent.  The Associate Dean or [his/her] designee shall forthwith deliver a copy thereof to the Respondent.

(a) No sooner than fourteen days nor later than twenty one days after filing the Notice of Pending Grievance, the Complainant shall file a written Statement identifying the alleged violation of the policy of the Law School, and the actual basis therefor, in the office of the Associate Dean, which office shall forthwith deliver a copy thereof to the Respondent.  Within fourteen days after such delivery, the Respondent shall file a written Response thereto in the office of the Associate Dean, which office shall forthwith deliver a copy thereof to the Complainant.

(b) Upon receipt of the Response specified in (a) the Associate Dean, or [his/her] designee, will seek to achieve a satisfactory resolution of the grievance between the Complainant and the Respondent.  To that end, the Associate Dean or [his/her] designee shall arrange a meeting with the Complainant and the Respondent no later than fifteen days after receipt by the Associate Dean of the written Response indicated in paragraph (a) above.  The Complainant and the Respondent will be notified in writing of the date, time and place of the meeting, which may be adjourned by the Associate Dean or [his/her] designee for good cause shown.

(c) The Associate Dean or [his/her] designee will report as follows in writing to the Complainant and the Respondent within twenty days after the meeting scheduled pursuant to paragraph (b) above was held.  If an agreement has been reached, the resolution shall be stated in the writing.  If no resolution has been achieved, the Associate Dean or designee shall inquire in writing whether the Complainant wishes to proceed to a hearing as described in (d) below.

(d) The Dean of the Law School shall appoint an outside hearing officer not employed by the University or having any immediate connection therewith.  The hearing officer shall, at the expense of the Law School, conduct a hearing and determine whether a violation has occurred.

If the hearing officer finds a violation has occurred, the Dean of the Law School shall determine whether to recommend that the University convene a proceeding under 4-07.13 of the University Statutes, of the Dean may take such other appropriate authorized action as the Dean deems proper in the circumstances.

Nothing herein shall prevent the hearing officer from terminating the hearing and discharging a mediation function if so requuested by both parties.

(2) Level 2. If the Complainant or the Repondent is not satisfied with the resolution of the grievance after a hearing pursuant to II C(1)(d) above, the following procedures may be pursued:

(a) The Complainant or Respondent may request in writing to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs of the University, within ten days after receipt of the hearing officer's determination, a review of the determination on the grounds specified in (b) infra. This request shall state the objections to the determination of the hearing officer.

(b) The Vice-President for Academic Affairs shall cause a transcript of the hearing to be made at University expense, and will review the matter only to determine whether the procedures specified herein were followed, and may, in his or her discretion, confirm or vacate and remand the determinatin of the hearing officer or order a new hearing before such person as the Vice-President may designate.

(c) The aforesaid appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs is the last permissible appeal hereunder, and the decision therein is final, unless it directs that further action be taken.  Nothing herein shall affect any right granted under a Statute of Fordham University.

III. Confidentiality

Except when applicable law. court order or governmental authority of competent jurisdicition otherwise requires all persons involved in these grievance procedures shall treat as as confidential the identity of any parties to the grievance, all information disclosed during the procedures, as well as the fact of occurrence of the complaint and of the procedures, and the result thereof, except as otherwise provided in this process, an except as otherwise mutually agreed upon by all concerned.  Assurances of confidentiality for all parties involved in a grievance need not interfere with the availability and/or presentation of significant or procedural information to interested persons.

IV. Counsel

The Complainant and the Respondent may, at their own expense, be represented by counsel of their choice.

Click on Nondiscrimination Policies  for information on the policies that are administered by the Fordham University's Office of Legal Counsel .