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Complaints and Concerns

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Complaints and Concerns

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.

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, 540-231-6411).

Questions or complaints related to abusive or annoying phone calls should be referred to CNS Student Telecommunications (email to StuTel@vt.edu, call 540-231-3000, or visit the office at 120 Student Services Building) during normal office hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 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, 540-231-6411). Students choosing to make a university report through Student Affairs should contact the Dean of Students Office (109 New Hall West, dean.students@vt.edu, 540-231- 3787, report a bias incident online). Students making a report to the Dean of Students Office may expect support and advice regarding the response from 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. They may choose to have a support person with them.

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 at 310 Lavery Hall or 540-231-3788.

Incidents of disruption of constitutionally protected speech may be reported via the Speech on Campus webpage.

Complaints against Faculty, Administration, Staff, or Graduate Student Performing a Teaching, Advising, or Supervisory Role

A student wishing to file a complaint of gender-based violence against any member of the faculty, administration, staff, or a graduate student performing a teaching, advising, or supervisory role should contact the Office for Equity and Accessibility. 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.

Gender-Based violence complaints are further governed by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Policy and Procedures No. 1025.


Complaints against a Student or Student Organization

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 Carilion New River Valley Medical Center in Radford (PERK exam available), the Schiffert Health Center (no PERK exam available), and LewisGale Hospital Montgomery (no PERK exam available) for emergency treatment. 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 Title IX Coordinator Katie Polidoro. She can be reached at 540-231-1824 or polidoro@vt.edu. 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 at 143 Squires Student Center (540-231-4720) if there are questions about this process.

Consultation with Student Legal Services is free for Virginia Tech students.

Undergraduate Students

The Undergraduate Course Catalog and Academic Policies are available at
www.undergradcatalog.registrar.vt.edu/

Graduate Students

The Graduate School Catalog is available at http://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/.

Suspicious or criminal activity can be reported directly to the Virginia Tech Police (230 Sterrett Drive, 540-231-6411). If you are a victim of larceny, vandalism, damage or destruction of property, or annoying phone calls, you can file a report online at https://police.vt.edu/crime.html.