Date: [ENTER DATE]
Dr. Randy Swenson,
Vice President for Academic Services
National University of Health Sciences
Re: Appeal of the outcome of the investigations of my Discrimination and harassment claims
This letter serves as our appeal for the outcome of the investigation of our claims against Dr. Darby. This letter incorporates by reference, the factual analysis of the Complainants’ allegations in the investigation outcome letter. We therefore base our appeal on the following grounds:
- The informal resolution process was conducted unfairly;
- The formal resolution process had the following errors: the Investigator, Tracy McHugh, failed to include evidence; failed to convey our claims accurately; and failed to conduct a proper witness interview; and
- There are some other pertinent facts that were not considered in the original investigation, which facts suffice to alter the decision of the Investigator.
At this point, we shall submit our arguments on each ground herein below.
- The informal resolution process was not conducted
The University’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy provides expressly that the informal resolution process begins with a submission of a written statement requesting informal resolution to the Director of Human Resources or the Dean of Students. The policy further provides that the informal resolution process serves to provide an opportunity for the complainant to:
- Confront the other party;
- Communicate their feelings and/or perceptions of the event(s);
- Communicate how the event(s) have impacted them; and
- The Complainant’s wishes and/or expectation for the outcome of the process.
Complainants met the accused, Dr. Darby, and Dr. Appleyard, per Dr. Darby’s request, on or about August 21, 2021. In the meeting, the Complainants presented some of their concerns. Unfortunately, by the time the meeting ended, the Complainants’ concerns were not resolved.
The Complainants aver that the said meeting does not amount to what constitutes an informal resolution process pursuant to the aforesaid Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy “the Policy”). Notably, the Complainants did not submit any written statement initiating the informal resolution process. Besides, neither the Director of Human Resources nor the Dean of Students was present in the meeting of the Complainants with Dr. Darby. Complainants further aver that the need to have either the Director of Human Resources or the Dean of Students ensures that there is an independent third party in the process. It is also instrumental to note that no resolution and/or sanction were passed in the August 21st meeting, to which the Complainants would amount to an appealable decision.
It follows; Tracy McHugh, (the “investigator”), erroneously held that the said meeting initiated (and amounted to) the informal resolution process. Indeed, this is confirmed when the Investigator affirms that the August 21st meeting did not fulfill the requirements of an informal resolution process. The lack of the conduction of an informal resolution process thereby nullifies any further consideration of the Complainants’ case(s) and the decision of the Investigator thereof.
- The formal resolution process was erroneous
According to the University’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy, the Complainants may pursue “a formal resolution of the complaint by submitting, in writing, a request for a formal resolution to the Vice President of Administrative Service within five (5) business days of the decision of the Director of Human Resources or the Dean of Students.”
The Policy further sets out the guidelines for the operation of the Investigator in the process. Notably, the Investigator should determine whether the informal resolution process was conducted fairly in light of the charges and evidence presented. The Investigator is also obligated to give each party reasonable opportunity to prepare and present favorable evidence.
On or about October 5, 2021, the Investigator met Dr. Darby. However, the Investigator expressly states that she did not quote exact allegations to the said Dr. Darby. She only presented a summary of the allegations. Consequently, Dr. Darby denied all the allegations. Complainants aver that had the Investigator presented the allegations clearly and in specificity, Dr. Darby would lack any justification for her conduct against the Complainants.
The Investigator had sent Complainant, Ms. Richardson, an email asking whether there was any witness whose testimony Complainant intended to be heard in the investigation. Accordingly, Complainant sent the Investigator an email on or about October 22, 2021, in which email, Complainant suggested Mr. Vernal Robinson as a witness. Therefore, on or about November 12, 2021, the Investigator had a telephone meeting with Mr. Robinson. However, the Investigator interviewed Mr. Robinson on concerns and/or allegations that either did not concern him; or that happened without his presence. It is worth noting that Mr. Robinson had on different occasions shared with the Complainants concerning situations between him and Dr. Darby. This is contrary to the assertion that Mr. Robinson said that he felt he did not see any discriminatory action against Dr. Darby.
Further, during the meeting between the Investigator and Dr. Darby on or about November 12, 2021, the Investigator failed to request for further details of the conversation that Dr. Darby had with Complainant Ms. Crusoe. Further information would reveal that Dr. Darby indeed used the term “depressed” on Ms. Crusoe.
Complainants aver that the Investigator admitted Dr. Darby’s false allegations and/or responses without considering their veracity. For instance, Dr. Darby falsely stated that Ms. Crusoe asked for materials at the beginning of the trimester. In reality, Ms. Crusoe had asked for the materials after the midterm exam, which definitely is not at the beginning of the trimester. Dr. Darby also lied that she knew all her students including Complainants and that she could not make any inappropriate comment about them. Instead, during the spring of the 2021 trimester, Dr. Darby had made an inappropriate statement to Ms. Crusoe stating thus: “I get you all mixed up… I didn’t notice you from the other two you seat near…” Dr. Darby further lied that she does not recall Ms. Richardson making any request to review her exam. Instead, Ms. Robinson has email evidence of the communication. Dr. Darby also denied ever meeting the Registrar to discuss Ms. Robinson. However, Ms. Robinson has email evidence of Dr. Darby’s communication with the Registrar. On or about November 16, 2021, Ms. Crusoe emailed Dr. Darby requesting a meeting with her to review her query she had about extra credit. Dr. Darby refused to respond to the email, and lied to the Investigator that she (Dr. Darby) allows the students to meet her individually. Dr. Darby lied that the Complainants were not engaged in class and were disrespectful to her. Instead, Ms. Robinson has email evidence of her communication with Dr. Darby, which communication showed no sign(s) of disrespect. Lastly, Dr. Darby lied that Ms. Robinson told her that she (Dr. Darby), needed not to worry about Ms. Robinson’s spelling because Ms. Robinson intended to sell supplements in Africa where spelling would not be an issue. However, Ms. Robinson has evidence on the contrary.
- There is new evidence sufficient to alter the decision in the original investigation
The Policy provides that at the Investigation period for the formal resolution process, the Investigator must give light to the evidence presented; and must allow parties to prepare and present evidence.
Complainants aver that there is pertinent evidence cited in this Appeal that was not submitted or relied upon by the Investigator in during the investigation period. It follows; such evidence is crucial to disapprove Dr. Darby’s allegations, and show how she lied to the Investigator. Lack of inclusion of the said evidence would amount to a violation of Complainants’ due process rights; and a violation of the Policy.
In light of the foregoing, it is evident that there are sufficient grounds to appeal the Investigator’s decision. Notably, the Investigator failed to recognize the fact that there was no informal resolution process; the formal resolution process was tainted by the Investigator’s reliance on false and unverified statements from Dr. Darby; and that there is evidence, which was not presented and/or relied upon, which evidence would alter the Investigator’s decision. The Complainants therefore pray that the Investigator’s decision be quashed and a fresh investigation be conducted on the aforesaid grounds.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Ms. Robinson Date
Ms. Crusoe Date
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