VII.E. BSC Grievance Procedure

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Definitions

Enforcement Committee
The Enforcement Committee shall refer to the investigating committee, which may either be the Conduct Committee or the Cabinet. For harassment cases, the enforcement committee will be the Cooperative Experience manager, Conduct Member Advisor and the Conduct Chair.
Enforcement Committee Chair
The Enforcement Committee Chair is either the Concom Chair or President, depending on the Enforcement Committee.
Hearing Officer
The hearing officer, will perform a preliminary assessment of the conduct complaint, which shall include consulting with the complainant if additional information is needed. The hearing officer is the Cooperative Experience Manager or a designee of the Executive Director.
Harassment
For the purposes of this policy, harassment will refer to both sexual harassment and other instances of harassment.
A. Unit-level officials are responsible reporters in cases of harassment, sexual misconduct, assault, and other threatening or dangerous behavior that threatens community safety. Unit level officials must forward any and all reports of these incidents to central-level staff.
B. The BSC will handle all complaints discreetly and will maintain confidentiality to the greatest extent appropriate to the investigation.
Tier 1
Unit Level Conduct Resolution: This tier of the conduct process is focused on small, manageable conflicts within a unit. The goal of unit level mediation is to empower the units to handle conflicts before they create discomfort in the community. This form of resolution is NOT meant for major conduct policy violations.
Tier 2
General Conduct Violation Process: This tier of the conduct process is focused on conduct policy violations. The goal of this process is to resolve conduct violations at the central level.
Tier 3
Conduct Violation Process for Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Physical Assault and Distribution: This tier of the conduct process focuses on only the violations mentioned above. These complaints will take priority over other cases due to the severity of the conduct policy violations.

Introduction to the BSC Conduct Process

The BSC endeavors to resolve member conduct issues in a manner that respects both the rights of the member(s) alleged to have violated policy and the member(s) who was harmed by the conduct violation. For conflicts that are not clear violations of conduct policy, members should follow the Tier I unit-level conduct resolution steps outlined in this policy. For conduct violations, there are two defined grievance processes: a process for general conduct violations, and a specialized process for any instance involving harassment, sexual misconduct, physical assault or distribution.

Unit Level Conduct Resolution

Units are encouraged to mediate smaller conflicts between members to prevent more serious future policy violations. If a member violates BSC policy, conduct complaints should be reported through the BSC Conduct Complaint Form. If a member is a possible threat to themselves or others, the Cooperative Experience Manager, the Executive Director, and/or the Member Resource Supervisor must be informed within 24 hours.

1. Members are encouraged to talk to the member they believe is engaging in problematic behavior about the conflict. The Cooperative Experience Manager can provide resources such as a mediation chart, assistance from a BSC Restorative Justice Practitioner, and/or outside mediators. Members are encouraged to reach out to their house presidents and managers for support. Both these managers have been trained in mediation.
2. If the conflict continues, managers may issue warnings to members causing conflict. Warnings must be documented by email. Managers are also encouraged to speak to members about the warning.
3. If a member continues to cause conflict, managers can issue a required workshift fine, a required housemate/roommate agreement form, or another required engagement that will appropriately address the conflict.
4. If the conflict continues despite these attempts to resolve the issue at the unit-level, a formal complaint must be submitted through the BSC Conduct Complaint Form.

General Conduct Violation Process

1. Collection of Complainant Report(s): A report of the complainant’s concern(s) is submitted through the BSC Conduct Complaint Form. submitted through the BSC Conduct Complaint Form. The complainant is notified through the form of their rights in the process and encouraged to utilize the Conduct Member Advisor as a resource.
2. Pre-Hearing: If the hearing officer deems the complaint to be substantive, a pre-hearing meeting will be conducted, where the respondent will meet with staff to review the allegations and will get a chance to take responsibility for the violations and resolve the concern. If the staff member involved and the respondent agree upon a conditional contract addressing the concerns, the case does not need to proceed to an enforcement committee.
3. Enforcement Committee Hearing: If the respondent does not accept responsibility for the violation and agree to the assigned sanctions in the pre-hearing or the complaint is significant enough to warrant potential termination of contract, the case will move on to an Enforcement Committee hearing where the case outcome will be decided by a body of current BSC members.
1. Collection of Complainant Report(s)
The BSC encourages members to report instances of conduct violations in order to promote a cooperative living environment. In order for the BSC to respond efficiently, the following information will be collected from the complainant:
a. Required Information
i. Name of the complainant;
ii. Who is named as having engaged in the inappropriate conduct;
iii. What specific behavior or comments occurred;
iv. Where did it occur;
v. When did it occur;
vi. What was the response at the time, if any;
vii. Names of the witnesses, if any, and
viii. Whether this incident of inappropriate conduct is part of a pattern of behavior and, if so, the same information regarding previous incidents.
b. The Complaint Intake Process
i. The Cooperative Experience Manager or a designee of the Executive Director, as appropriate, is responsible for ensuring that the above information is submitted through the BSC Conduct Complaint Form. The complaint form will notify the complainant of their rights in the conduct process, including that:
a. The Conduct Member Advisor is available to assist them in navigating the process and collecting witness statements
b. The complainant may recommend sanctions for the respondent that the Conduct Committee will consider.
ii. The Cooperative Experience Manager or designee of the Executive Director will follow up with the complainant in a timely manner to confirm receipt of the complaint and inform them of the next steps in the process.
iii. Staff also should ask whether the complainant would be willing to participate in a restorative conference or circle.
iv. The complainant’s submitted statement will then be reviewed by the hearing officer.
v. Any individuals with potential conflicts of interest will be excused from the decision-making process, and the Executive Director will designate a replacement(s).
vi. The Cooperative Experience Manager or a designee of the Executive Director will determine if the case should move on to the conduct process or be dismissed.
vii. Following the filing of the initial complaint, the Conduct Member Advisor will aid the complainant and respondent in understanding their right to provide testimony, and in collecting witness statements for the hearing(s). Any updates for complainants involved will be communicated by the hearing officer or Conduct Member Advisor.
2. Pre-Hearing Meeting with Respondent
a. The hearing officer will schedule a pre-hearing meeting with the respondent, where they will privately inform the respondent of the complaint, review their rights in the conduct process, review the alleged policy violations/charges involved in the case, and give the respondent the opportunity to respond to the allegations.
b. The respondent will be notified of this meeting and the charges/ alleged policy violations at least 72 hours in advance. The respondent will be notified by email and then reminded by phone/text if they have not responded to the initial email. If they do not attend, the case will automatically be sent to the Enforcement Committee for review.
c. If the respondent requests it, the complainant’s testimony can be provided to them at the pre-hearing meeting.
d. The respondent will be notified of their rights in the process along with their rights to appeal
e. If in the pre-hearing meeting the respondent BOTH chooses to take responsibility for violating all policies involved in the case AND the hearing officer does not believe a termination of contract should be applied, THEN the respondent can choose between the following two options for case resolution:
i. Conditional Contract: The hearing officer and respondent decide on several conditions and/or sanctions that the respondent must complete to successfully resolve the concern. The respondent will sign the agreement at the close of the meeting.
ii. Conditional Contract & Restorative Conference: Along with the respondent signing a conditional contract, the respondent may contact the Cooperative Experience Manager to schedule a restorative conference or circle. A BSC Restorative Justice Practitioner will facilitate this restorative process.
f. If the two conditions above are not met, then the case will move on to the Enforcement Committee for review. The respondent will be notified that they have the right to attend this hearing and provide their testimony in person and given a timeline of when the hearing will take place.
g. At the close of the hearing the hearing officer will inform the respondent that any retaliation against a supposed complainant, witness, or member of an enforcement committee violates the BSC whistle-blower policy and is a termination worthy offense.
3. The Enforcement Committee Hearing
a. Following the pre-hearing, the Conduct Member Advisor will contact the respondent to assist in collecting witness statements. Only the statements of witnesses to the incident(s) involved in the case will be considered. The Conduct Committee can decide whether to exclude a witness statement from the hearing if it is too long or not relevant to the case.
b. The respondent will be notified of the Enforcement Committee meeting and the charges/ alleged policy violations 72 hours in advance of the hearing. If they do not attend, a decision on the case will be made in their absence.
c. Only members of the Enforcement Committee (including the Chair, Administrative Assistant, and staff advisors), the Conduct Member Advisor, and the respondent may attend the hearing.
d. The entire Enforcement Committee proceeding shall be held in executive session.
e. Before the respondent is let into to the room, the Conduct Committee Chair will present some basic details of the case to the committee, including the alleged policy violations. The Conduct Committee will:
i. Read the complainant’s report and witness statements
ii. Disclose potential conflicts of interest. The Conduct Committee member who believes they may have a conflict of interest should discuss the circumstances privately with the Conduct Committee Chair. Collectively, they will decide if the Conduct Committee member should participate in the hearing.
iii. The Conduct Committee should vote on whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating each individual policy in the case. Then the committee should assign relevant educational or punitive sanctions.
iv. The Enforcement Committee may only take action on allegations specified in the report using only the evidence presented at the hearing.
v. The Cooperative Experience Manager or other professional staff advisor to the Enforcement Committee should inform the committee if they believe the decision made is problematic based on risk or past precedent. If this is the case, the Committee must review the materials again and vote for a second time on the outcome of the case. After this second vote, if the Cooperative Experience Manager/staff advisor or Enforcement Committee Chair still feel the decision is not appropriate, they may announce that they will refer the decision to the Termination Appeals Body for review. In such circumstances, the Enforcement Committee decision is not official until approved by the Terminations Appeal Body.
f. The Enforcement Committee Chair shall notify the respondent and complainant of the outcome of the case in writing within 48 hours of the hearing. The respondent’s notification should include information on the appeals process.
g. The Cooperative Experience Manager/staff advisor, or their their designee, is charged with ensuring that the committee’s decision is implemented. If appropriate, this may include notifying unit-level management of the hearing’s outcome.
h. The Conduct Member Advisor will follow-up with the respondent to ensure they understand the decision and their rights to appeal.
 The Conduct Member Advisor will also follow up with the complainant to check in and process the outcome with them.

Conduct Process Involving Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Violence, Discrimination, Physical Assault, and Distribution

To produce a process that respects the privacy and rights of the complainant, the general format of a harassment, sexual misconduct, physical assault or distribution conduct case differs from the general conduct process. The overview of the conduct process for such cases is as follows:

Overview of Tier III conduct process
1. Complainant Submission: The complainant/unit-level manager must submit a complaint through the BSC Conduct Complaint Form. The complainant is notified of their rights in the process and encouraged to utilize the Conduct Member Advisor as a resource.
2. Respondent Interview: If hearing officer deems the complaint to be substantive, a thorough investigation is defined and an interview or meeting will be conducted, where the respondent will meet with staff the Enforcement Committee to review the allegations and be briefed about their rights in the process, provide their verbal testimony, and will get a chance to take responsibility for the violations which will be recorded,.and will be encouraged to utilize the Conduct Member Advisor as a resource.
A. If the respondent takes full responsibility for the allegations brought against them, the respondent will leave the hearing and the Enforcement Committee will go into deliberation of sanctions.
B. If the respondent does not take responsibility for all the allegations brought against them, the Enforcement Committee will give the respondent a deadline to provide any evidence or witness statements that support their response. The Enforcement Committee will then reconvene after the deadline and review all the material provided and vote on a decision.
1. Collection of Complainant Report(s)
a. The BSC encourages members to report instances of conduct violations in order to promote a cooperative living environment.
b. Unit-level officials are responsible reporters in cases of harassment, sexual misconduct, physical assault, and/or distribution and must forward any and all reports of such conduct to central-level staff.
c. In order for the BSC to respond efficiently, the following information will be collected from the complainant:
i. Name of the complainant;
ii. Who is named as having engaged in the inappropriate conduct;
iii. What specific behavior or comments occurred;
iv. Where did it occur;
v. When did it occur;
vi. What was the response at the time, if any;
vii. Names of the witnesses, if any, and
viii. Whether this incident of inappropriate conduct is part of a pattern of behavior and, if so, the same information regarding previous incidents.
ix. Any recommended sanctions for the respondent that the Conduct Committee will consider.
x. Whether or not the complainant would be willing to participate in an early resolution and suggestions on what they believe would suffice for early resolution.
d. Early resolution includes options such as discussions with the parties, making recommendations for resolution, and conducting a follow-up review after a period of time to assure that the resolution has been implemented effectively.
e. The BSC will handle all complaints discreetly and will maintain confidentiality to the greatest extent appropriate to the investigation. Any case reports or statements involving allegations of harassment or sexual misconduct will have all identifying information removed.
f. After the complaint is submitted, cases of this nature will take priority over those that do not interfere with the safety of members. The BSC will have 60 days to conduct interviews and an investigation, to send the case to the Enforcement Hearing body, and to render a decision.
A. The Complaint Intake Process
a. The Cooperative Experience Manager, or a designee of the Executive Director, as appropriate, is responsible for ensuring that the above information is documented in the BSC Conduct Complaint form. The BSC staff member will collect the complainant’s statement, and the complainant will be notified of their rights in the conduct process, including that the Conduct Member Advisor is available to assist them in navigating the process and collecting witness statements.
b. The Cooperative Experience Manager or designee of the Executive Director will follow up with the complainant in a timely manner to confirm receipt of the complaint and inform them of the next steps in the process.
c. The complainant’s submitted statement will then be given to the central-level supervisor handling the case, hereafter known as the hearing officer. The hearing officer will perform a preliminary assessment of the written conduct complaint, which shall include consulting with the complainant if additional information is needed.
i. The hearing officer will be the Cooperative Experience Manager, or a designee of the Executive Director, as appropriate.
ii. Any individuals with potential conflicts of interest will be excused from the decision-making process, and the Executive Director will designate a replacement(s).
d. In consultation with the staff member who processed the initial grievance, the hearing officer will determine if a) the case should move on to the conduct process or b) be dismissed.
e. Any updates for complainants involved will be communicated by the hearing officer or Conduct Member Advisor.
i. The complainant in a harassment or assault case may opt to waive the use of the Conduct Member Advisor, or to utilize a trained survivor advocate in their place. In this case, the Cooperative Experience Manager will coordinate communication between the survivor advocate and others involved in the BSC conduct process.
ii. All complainant witness statements in harassment and sexual harassment/assault cases must be collected and all identifying information must be removed from them by the Conduct Member Advisor before the pre-hearing interview with the respondent. The Conduct Member Advisor should convey an appropriate deadline to the complainant for these witness statements as a result.
2. Enforcement Committee Interview with Respondent
a. Enforcement Committee will schedule a hearing meeting with the respondent, where they will privately inform the respondent of the complaint, review their rights in the conduct process, review the alleged policy violations/charges involved in the case, and give the respondent the opportunity to respond to the allegations. The respondent will not have access to the complainant's full written statement. The respondent’s testimony will be collected in this meeting, and questions about their statement will be asked by the hearing officer.
b. The respondent will be notified of this meeting in advance of the pre-hearing. The respondent will be notified by email and then reminded by phone/text if they have not responded to the initial emails. If they do not attend, the case will automatically be reviewed by the Enforcement Committee without the respondent’s testimony.
c. The charges and alleged policy violations, date and location of the alleged violations will be provided to the respondent at the interview. The respondent will be given the chance to respond to these materials. The respondent’s testimony and their response to questioning will be recorded and transcribed by the hearing officer or other member of the enforcement committee.
d. The respondent should be notified when they can expect to be notified of the outcome of the case.
e. At the close of the hearing, the hearing officer will inform the respondent that any retaliation against a supposed complainant, witness, or member of an enforcement committee violates the BSC whistle-blower policy and is a termination worthy offense.
f. The hearing officer will inform the respondent that the Conduct Member Advisor will contact the respondent to assist in collecting witness statements. Only the statements of witnesses to the incident(s) involved in the case will be considered.
g. In harassment, sexual harassment, physical assault, and/or distribution incidents, the will be given a deadline by the Enforcement Committee to procure witness statements and give them to the Conduct Member Advisor.
3. The Enforcement Committee Hearing
a. The hearing officer will schedule the enforcement hearing with the Enforcement Committee Chair and the Conduct Member Advisor.
b. The respondent will be notified of the Enforcement Committee meeting, the charges/ alleged policy violations, and when to expect notification of an outcome. The respondent may not attend the hearing.
c. Only members of the Enforcement Committee (including the Chair, Conduct Member Advisor, and staff advisors) and the Administrative Assistant may attend the hearing. A Trained Survivor Advocate may replace the Conduct Member Advisor if the complainant chooses to do so.
d. The entire Enforcement Committee proceeding shall be held in executive session.
e. The hearing is recommended to proceed as follows:
1. Review of Applicable Policies/ Charges
2. Review of the Evidentiary Report and additional materials provided by the respondent
3. Question and Response
4. Deliberations
a) The Enforcement Committee will discuss which policies the respondent is responsible for violating and will determine appropriate sanctions, if applicable.
b) The Enforcement Committee should vote on whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating each individual policy in the case. Then the committee should assign relevant educational or punitive sanctions.
c) The Enforcement Committee may only take action on allegations specified in the report using only the evidence presented at the hearing.
d) The Cooperative Experience Manager or other professional staff advisor to the Enforcement Committee should inform the committee if they believe the decision made is problematic based on risk or past precedent. If this is the case, the Committee must review the materials again and vote for a second time on the outcome of the case. After this second vote, if the Cooperative Experience Manager/staff advisor or Enforcement Committee Chair still feels the decision is not appropriate, they may announce that they will refer the decision to the Termination Appeals Body for review. In such circumstances, the Enforcement Committee decision is not official until approved by the Termination Appeals Body.
f. The Enforcement Committee Chair may deviate from the procedure above to ensure a sound process.
i. Any intended deviation should be discussed with the members of the Enforcement Committee before the hearing commences.
ii. To preserve the integrity of the process, any procedural deviations after proceedings begin will be made only if necessary.
g. The Enforcement Committee Chair shall notify the respondent and complainant of the outcome of the case in writing within 48 hours of the hearing. The respondent’s notification should include information on the appeals process.
h. The Cooperative Experience Manager/staff advisor, or their designee, is charged with ensuring that the committee’s decision is implemented. If appropriate, this may include notifying house unit management of the hearing’s outcome.
i. The Conduct Member Advisor will follow-up with the respondent to ensure they understand the decision and their rights to appeal.
 The Conduct Member Advisor will also follow up with the complainant to check in and process the outcome with them.


Enforcement Committee Appeals Procedures

1. A case resolved in a pre-hearing cannot be appealed. By taking responsibility for a policy violation, the complainant/respondent has waived their right to an appeal. Once the Cooperative Experience Manager/staff advisor has received the written request for appeal an appeal report shall be written. The report will be distributed to the Appeals Committee. This report, when relevant, shall include:

a. A complete summary of the case, and the action taken by the previous body, along with the reasons for it.
b. The written request for appeal filed by the appellant.
c. An explanation of any relevant BSC or unit-level policies.
d. All relevant correspondence or minutes, dated.

2. Refer to section II.XVIII of the Policy Directory for the details of the appeals process.


Records

a. Minutes should be taken of the Enforcement Committee’s proceedings.

i. Minutes are not kept during deliberations.
ii. All motions made and voted on by the committee must also be included in the minutes.

b. These minutes, along with any reports or testimony involved in the case, will be kept by the Cooperative Experience Manager as confidential records. They will only be shared with the respondent in the case of an appeal and only when deemed appropriate by the Cooperative Experience Manager.



[Board Approved Spring 2017]