Civil Rights Policies and Procedures
Complaints Relating to Discrimination or Sexual Harassment
National University is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment in which students, faculty, and staff can develop intellectually, professionally, personally, and socially. Such an atmosphere must be free of intimidation, fear, coercion, and reprisal. The University prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, ethnic or national origin, religion, age, sex, color, physical or mental disability, marital or veteran status under any program or activity offered under its control.
In keeping with this commitment, the University also maintains a strict policy that prohibits sexual harassment, which includes harassment based on gender, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition and inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature. This policy applies regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the complainant or the alleged harasser.
It is University policy that all persons should enjoy freedom from unlawful discrimination of any kind, as well as from sexual harassment, or retaliation for reporting a complaint. This policy applies to prohibit unlawful discrimination or harassment between members of the University community, including between students and other students and between students and employees or third parties, if the University has notice regarding or control over the third party. Individuals who engage in prohibited conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.
Grievance Procedures for Civil Rights Violations
The University encourages prompt reporting of complaints so that a rapid response can be made and appropriate action taken. Note that reporting a complaint need not be limited to someone who was the target of the discrimination or harassment.
The following person is designated to coordinate the University’s responsibilities under the law and to insure compliance with the University’s policies against discrimination:
Vice President for Student Services
11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
Telephone: (858) 642-8036
Any student who feels that they have been subjected to discrimination by a student or by the University through any of its employees, contractors, entities, policies, procedures, or programs may file a complaint with the Vice President for Student Services.
The University will endeavor to maintain confidentiality to the extent permitted by law. Where the complainant’s desire to maintain anonymity constrains the University from attempts at establishing facts and eliminating the potential discrimination, the University will attempt to find the right balance between the complainant’s desire for privacy and confidentiality and its responsibility to provide an environment free of discrimination. The University has a duty to investigate even if the student declines to file a complaint or demand action. The University may take more formal action in cases of egregious discrimination that may require complete disclosure of all relevant facts.
Informal Procedures for Civil Rights Issues
Students who believe that they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination or harassment may use the following informal procedures to resolve their complaint. This process may be used as a prelude to filing a formal complaint or as an alternative and generally is completed within thirty (30) days. It is not necessary that this option be used. Students have the right to file a formal written complaint either initially or if they believe informal resolution is not possible. Students may, at any time, elect to stop these informal procedures.
The Student Relations Coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs will provide any member of the University community an opportunity to discuss specific concerns in a confidential setting. Assistance will be provided to:
- Help the complainant understand the definition of discrimination or sexual harassment and determine if the alleged conduct would constitute discrimination or sexual harassment;
- Explain the various informal and formal options available to the complainant, including strategies for the complainant to inform the offending party that the behavior is unlawful or unwelcome and should cease, action by an appropriate University official to stop the unlawful or unwelcome conduct and mediation; and
- Identify various support services available to the complainant.
The student may seek a resolution of the matter through discussion with the alleged offender or person responsible for the program or for enforcing the rule or procedure. The University encourages discussion between the parties directly involved in a dispute, especially in the early stages before the parties have assumed official or public positions that may polarize the dispute and make resolution more difficult. Students may seek advice about how best to approach this individual or to obtain other assistance, such as mediation, from their admissions advisor, the Office of Student Affairs, or any other appropriate campus officer.
If no resolution is forthcoming or if direct confrontation is deemed inappropriate, the student may report the incident(s) to the Vice President for Student Services or to the alleged offender’s supervisor, if appropriate.
The campus officer who is consulted will keep a written log of discussions, which in all events will be forwarded to the Vice President for Student Services. If the dispute is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, a memorandum stating resolution of the conflict is sent to the parties and the Vice President for Student Services will monitor the situation to prevent recurrence or retaliation.
Formal Procedures for Civil Rights Issues
A. Filing a Written Complaint with the Vice President for Student Services:
1) The complainant must file a claim by following the guidelines in this section. These forms are available in the Office of Student Affairs. To be processed, the claim must be filed within 120 days of the alleged unlawful discrimination or harassment or within one-hundred twenty (120) days of the complainant’s learning of the discriminatory or harassing action.
2) The Vice President for Student Services dates and logs all written complaints and sends the complainant an acknowledgement that the complaint is under review.
3) If the complaint does not meet the procedural requirements, the Vice President for Student Services immediately notifies the complainant of the specific deficiencies of the complaint. If the complaint meets the procedural requirements, the Vice President for Student Services forwards a copy of the complaint to the alleged offender or unit against which the complaint is made (“respondent”).
4) The Vice President for Student Services will arrange appropriate interim measures when warranted to protect the parties.
5) The Vice President for Student Services investigates the complaint (or the Vice President’s designee, who has been trained in the investigation of such complaints), meeting separately with the student and with others who are either named in the complaint or who may have knowledge of the facts. Generally, the investigation is completed within thirty (30) days from the date the Vice President for Student Services receives the complaint.
On completion of the investigation, the Vice President for Student Services will prepare a report of the witness statements and the evidence. All relevant parties will be notified accordingly.
How to File a Claim of Discrimination
To file claim of discrimination, submit a letter to:
Vice President for Student Services
11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
Include the following information in your letter:
Your name, address, telephone number, and student ID number
The basis of your claim. The basis is what you believe was the motivating factor for the discrimination. For example, you may believe you were treated differently because of your race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability.
The name of the individual(s) or entity you believe discriminated against you.
The issue(s) of your claim. The issue is a description of what happened, or the action that was taken by the individual(s) that discriminated against you, resulting in some harm. Explain as clearly as possible what happened, why you believe it happened, and how you were discriminated against. Please include how other persons in the same setting were treated differently than you, if applicable. If you were denied a benefit or service, please provide a copy of the denial letter. If you have documents to support the events you are reporting, provide a copy of the supporting documents.
Appellate Procedures for Civil Rights Issues
A party may file a written appeal within ten (10) days of receipt of the findings with the Provost. The written appeal must state the objections to the decision. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Provost will forward a copy to the other party(ies).
Parties can forward commentary to the Provost within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the appeal.
Within twenty-one (21) days following receipt of an appeal, the Provost will render a final decision.
Changes to these procedures may be made as needed to resolve problems. Any request for changes should be directed to the Vice President for Student Services. If the complaint is against the Vice President for Student Services or other officer involved in these procedures, the Provost will designate a University employee to act in their place in these complaint procedures.
If the decision finds that the complainant falsely accused another of discrimination or harassment knowingly or in a malicious manner, the complainant will be subject to appropriate sanctions.
Retaliatory action of any kind by any member of the University community against anyone seeking redress under these procedures, cooperating in the investigation, or other participation in these procedures is prohibited and will be regarded as the basis for disciplinary action.
In cases of discrimination or sexual harassment, the complainant may, at any time during the informal or formal procedure at National University, file a complaint with:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
50 Beale Street, Suite 7200
San Francisco, California 94105
The University will complete its investigation and make findings on a complaint filed at the University, even if a complaint has also been filed with the Office for Civil Rights.