Virginia Tech is committed to providing an environment of work, study, and leisure/recreation for students, faculty, and staff that is free from all forms of harassment, intimidation, fear, coercion, and exploitation. Harassment is frequently directed at individuals because of age, color, disability, gender (including pregnancy), national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Any such behavior is reprehensible and subverts the mission of the university. It can threaten the careers, educational experience, and well-being of all members of the community.
Complaints about functions, personnel, or other members of the university community are ordinarily handled through the normal administrative chain. Students can take the following steps to file a formal complaint:
If you are unsure of the most appropriate avenue for addressing a specific complaint, contact the Dean of Students Office.
Write a letter to the dean, department head or director responsible for the area of complaint.
Include in the letter an overview of the problem and the relief requested.
There are some types of complaints for which there are formal complaint processes. Some areas for complaints and/or concerns are explained below.
The Undergraduate Course Catalog and Academic Policies, available at http://www.undergradcatalog.registrar.vt.edu/, have a grade appeal procedure that states:
If a student feels that a grade has been calculated incorrectly or has been assigned in a prejudiced or capricious manner, the student should discuss the matter with the instructor. If discussion between the instructor and the student cannot resolve the issue, the student should appeal to the department/division head. In the unusual circumstance that resolution does not occur at the departmental/divisional level, the student may appeal to the college dean who will attempt to reconcile the matter by whatever mechanism seems most appropriate for that college and for that case. A grade appeal must be made by the student as soon as possible but no later than the end of the student's subsequent term of enrollment after the grade in question has been assigned.
The Graduate School Catalog, available athttp://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/, includes an appeals procedure which specifies actions for a graduate student that believes that there has been unfair treatment or work has been improperly evaluated. It is first expected that the matter be resolved at the department or college level. The student is informed in writing of the results of the department or college level action no later than one month after the appeal to the Department Head. Should the aggrieved student believe that his/her rights were abridged at the departmental level; the student may file a request for review with the Dean of the Graduate School.
Extremely urgent or emergency annoying or threatening electronic communications or phone calls may be referred to the Virginia Tech Police at any time (Public Safety Building, 330 Sterrett Drive, 231-6411). Questions or complaints related to abusive or annoying phone calls should be referred to CNS Student Telecommunications (e-mail to StuTel@vt.edu, call 231-3000, or visit the office at 120 Student Services Building), during normal office hours (Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) It is also important to contact CNS Student Telecommunications in 120 Student Services Building as soon as possible thereafter to obtain appropriate complaint handling forms.
Students who feel they have been a victim of a bias-related incident can follow several courses of action. Students should report directly to Virginia Tech Police (Public Safety Building 330 Sterret Drive, 231-6411). Students choosing to make a university report through the Division of Student Affairs should contact the Dean of Students Office (109 E. Eggleston, email@example.com, 231-3787). Students making a report to the Dean of Students Office may expect support and advice regarding the response from the Division of Student Affairs. In addition, a student may submit a Student Conduct Complaint, which is a written narrative of the incident in question, and attend an informational meeting to determine a Student Conduct response and may choose to have a support person with them.
Suspicious or criminal activity can be reported directly to the Virginia Tech Police (230 Sterrett Drive, 231-6411). If you are a victim of larceny, vandalism, damage or destruction of property, or annoying phone calls, you can file a report online at http://police.vt.edu/crime.html
No qualified individual with a disability shall be discriminated against or excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities at Virginia Tech. All student requests for accommodations and assistance should be directed to Services for Students with Disabilities. Students who feel they have been discriminated against because of a disability should contact Services for Students with Disabilities (310 Lavery Hall, 231- 3788).
A student wishing to file a complaint of gender-based violence against any member of the faculty, administration, or staff or a graduate student performing a teaching, advising, or supervisory role should contact the Office for Equity and Access (Human Resources’ Office for Equity and Access, Southgate Center, Suite 159 (318) 231-8771, http://www.hr.vt.edu/oea/index.html). The OEA will notify the complainant of the right to pursue a formal complaint. The formal complaint includes a written charge and consent by the complainant to be identified. A formal complaint of sexual harassment must be made within 300 days of the offense. The director of the OEA or a designee will meet with the complainant and will undertake an investigation after a written charge has been prepared. At the time the investigation commences, the accused will be informed of the allegations and the identity of the complainant and will be given an opportunity to respond. The OEA representative will meet with the appropriate supervisor of the accused early in the investigation to collect further information and to seek assistance in resolving the complaint, if appropriate. All reasonable efforts will be made to reach a resolution in a timely manner.
In all cases, the parties will be informed promptly of the outcome. To the extent possible, the proceedings will be conducted in a way that protects the confidentiality of all parties. Records of the investigation and outcomes will be kept by the OEA in accordance with applicable laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and of the United States of America. A complainant found to have been intentionally dishonest in making the allegations or to have made them maliciously is subject to university discipline. In addition to, or in lieu of, the above procedures, students may file formal complaints with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.
Students who feel they have been the victim of a sexual misconduct can follow several different courses of action. First and foremost, students should seek appropriate medical attention and ask for emotional support. Physical and other medical evidence should be collected even if a student has not decided whether to take action against the alleged assailant. Students can go to the Carillion New River Valley Medical Center in Radford (PERK exam available), the Student Health Center (no PERK exam is available), and the LewisGale Montgomery Regional Hospital (no PERK exam available) for emergency treatment or. They will receive guidance on the appropriate evidence collection processes (PERK exam).
Students who feel they have been the victim of gender-based violence may initiate university disciplinary action against the alleged respondent. For complaints against a student or student organization, contact the Deputy Title IX coordinator, Frank Shushok, Jr., Ph.D. and can be reached at 540-231-8069 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The student can participate in the investigations conducted by the Title IX Coordinator which will serve as the complaint. Initiating university student conduct action does not preclude taking civil or criminal action. A complete review of the campus student conduct process is found in the University Student Conduct System Section.
Students can report incidents to the police and press criminal charges. If the Commonwealth’s Attorney determines that there is sufficient evidence to proceed, charges will be brought against the accused in the local courts. Crimes involving sexual assault are punishable in Virginia by sentences from five years to life in prison. Initiating criminal action against the accused does not preclude taking civil or university student conduct action. Students should remember that reporting an assault does not mean that they must prosecute.
Students who feel they have been the victim of sexual assault may initiate a civil suit in an appropriate court system against the alleged assailant. The purpose of a civil suit is to compensate the complainant for the wrong that was committed. The accused, if found by the court to be liable, may be required to pay financial compensation. Initiating civil action against the accused does not preclude the complainant from taking criminal or university student conduct action. Students may consult with a private attorney or Student Legal Services (143 Squires Student Center, 231-4720) if there are questions about this process. Consultation with Student Legal Services is free for Virginia Tech students.
Cook Counseling Center
As a part of Cook Counseling Center, professional counselors are available to counsel complainants. The staff members are available on a walk-in basis during regular office hours and are on 24-hour emergency call. University Counseling Services also offers a special support group for sexual assault survivors as needed (McComas Hall, 231-6557).
Dean of Students Office
The Dean of Students Office (109 East Eggleston, 231-3787) serves as an advocate for all students. Members of the staff are available to meet with students on a walk-in basis to discuss any problem or concern.
Student Health Services
Student Health Services’ medical staff members provide follow-up care for physical or sexual assault victims. Through the Women’s Clinic and the Men’s Clinic, continuing medical and emotional support from physicians, nurses, and health educators is available. Physical examinations, sexually transmitted disease screening, and pregnancy testing are provided. (McComas Hall, 231-6444)
Women's Center at Virginia Tech
The Women’s Center (206 Washington Street, 231-7806) offers crisis support for sexual assault and harassment, provides advocacy during student conduct and harassment procedures, and works to enhance communication among women and the larger community. The counseling and advocacy coordinator works closely with crisis intervention, law enforcement officers, faculty, residence hall staff, counseling services, health services, Dean of Students Office staff, and the University Student Conduct System.
Housing and Residence Life
Staff members in the Housing and Residence Life department (144 New Hall West, 231-6205) serve as advocates for residential students and provide safe, comfortable living spaces that support learning. Members of the staff are available to meet with students on a walk-in basis to discuss any problem or concern related to facilities. They can provide resource information and assist with any residential questions.