Filing a Complaint

This overview is a brief description of how to file a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment at Valdosta State University. For additional information concerning the policies and procedures in this area, please contact the Office of Social Equity.

Who may file a complaint?

Any person (e.g., faculty, staff, student, visitor) may report what they believe to be an act of discrimination or harassment to the Office of Social Equity as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s).

How do students file complaints?

Students wishing to report concerns of harassment or discrimination should contact the Office of Social Equity, Dr. Maggie Viverette, Seago House, 229-333-5463.

How do I file a complaint through the Office of Social Equity?

You may file a complaint through the Formal Resolution Process by completing the Complaint Intake Form, which is available from the Office of Social Equity. The completed form should be notarized and submitted to the Office of Social Equity upon completion.

You may file a complaint through the Formal Resolution Process by submitting a letter to the Director of the Office of Social Equity, Dr. Maggie Viverette, 1208 N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA 31698. The letter should describe the alleged incident(s) along with relevant date(s), name(s) of the respondent(s) and witnesses. The complaint letter needs to be dated and signed by the complainant, & properly notarized.

What is a formal complaint?

Formal Complaint: The goal of the Complaint Process is to reach an official determination as to whether a respondent(s) has violated the University’s Anti-harassment Policy and/or Non-discrimination Policy. As part of the Complaint Process, a University Investigator will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations of the complaint and prepare a report of the investigation. Following the investigation, the Director of the Office of Social Equity will ultimately issue a determination as to 1) whether a University policy concerning discrimination and/or harassment was violated; and 2), if so, what the appropriate sanction should be. There is available a written appeal to the University's President if either party wishes to appeal the Director’s determination.

When do I need to file a complaint?

Individuals wishing to report a concern or file a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment are encouraged to do so as soon as possible following the incident(s). Any complaint must be filed within120 days of the incident of discrimination and/or harassment or, where the behavior is of an ongoing nature, within 120 days from the most recent incident. The time limits for filing complaints cannot be extended.

If an employee leaves the University, the employee must file a complaint relating to alleged discrimination and/or harassment occurring during that individual’s employment with the University within ten days following the employee’s termination of employment from the University.

Do I file a complaint after I contact the Office of Social Equity?

Any member of the University community may consult the Office of Social Equity without obligation to file a complaint. Office of Social Equity staff will give University community members information designed to explain the University’s policies and procedures so that they may make an informed choice as to whether they would like to file a complaint. In certain limited situations, however, the information learned by the Office of Social Equity may be of sufficient concern that the University must take appropriate action to resolve the concern even though an individual does not wish to file a complaint. An example would be if an individual could be harmed if he/she returns to the environment he/she has described.

Will my complaint be confidential?

Complaints of discrimination and/or harassment are treated with the greatest degree of confidentiality possible. In all situations, confidentiality is maintained on a strict need-to-know basis; however, confidentiality can only be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct that require it to take corrective action.

Am I protected from retaliation if I file a complaint?

Valdosta State University prohibits retaliation against individuals who file complaints or who participate in the complaint resolution process. Retaliatory action is regarded as a basis for a separate complaint under the University’s Procedures. If you believe that you have been retaliated against for filing a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, or for participating in the resolution of a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, please contact the Office of Social Equity.

What is the role of the Office of Social Equity?

The Office of Social Equity is an administrative office, not a judicial or legal office. Its role is to assist campus community members in understanding the University’s policies and procedures in the area of discrimination and harassment and to assist in resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. The Office of Social Equity staff members are impartial administrators who are neither advocates nor adversaries with respect to the parties and witnesses in a complaint-related matter. Instead, Office of Social Equity staff members are advocates for the proper and fair administration of the complaint process.

Where can I get more information?

The Office of Social Equity can further explain the University’s policies and procedures to you and can assist in initiating the complaint process. To make an appointment, please call 229-333-5463. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

Individuals who wish to file a complaint outside the University may be able to file a complaint with the Georgia Civil Rights Commission, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Information regarding filing charges with any of these agencies may be obtained from the Office of Social Equity or directly from the agencies.