Policy Regarding Formal and Informal Complaint Procedures
Informal Complaint Procedures
It is the wish of the University to provide an education and services of high quality to its students and to provide equity and harmony in the application of policies and procedures. When a student has a complaint which does not involve sexual violence or assault, the University would encourage resolution be sought through informal communication with the appropriate instructor, school dean, staff member, or administrative officer who may be able to help rectify or clarify the situation before a written complaint is initiated.
Formal Complaint Procedures
This Complaint Policy does not supersede specific policies involving special cases such as grade appeals, illegal discrimination, sexual violence or assault, sexual harassment, appeal and due process, etc.
Lodging a Formal Student Complaint: A student who wishes to lodge a formal complaint with the University must complete and submit the formal complaint form to the appropriate cabinet level officer. A form is available in the Office of Student Life and Office of Academic Affairs, as well as online.
Administrative Complaint Acknowledgment: Formal student complaints will be forwarded to the administrator most immediately responsible for the area to which the complaint pertains. The administrator will send a written acknowledgment to the student within five working days of receiving the complaint indicating that: (1) the formal complaint form has been received, (2) the nature of the complaint, and (3) the student will receive a written response after deliberation within fifteen working days. Copies of the written student complaint and the acknowledgement letter will be sent to the cabinet level officer over the area.
Administrative Deliberation and Response: If the administrator to whom the complaint is forwarded determines that the nature of the complaint is beyond his/her area of supervision or expertise, the next level administrator in the area should be consulted and may be requested to respond to the student. Administrative disposition of the complaint will generally consist of investigation into the source of the complaint, previous efforts to resolve the issue, and any contingencies that will aid in the deliberation and disposition of the problem. The responding administrator will send to the student a written statement of attempted resolution to the problem. A copy of the deliberation response will be sent to the appropriate cabinet level officer. All formal student complaints will be forwarded upon resolution to the President’s office by each cabinet officer where a log will be kept.
Student Appeal Process: Upon receiving a deliberation response to the written complaint, the student has the right of appeal to a senior administrator who oversees the area about which the complaint was lodged. This appeal must be made in writing within five working days of receiving the Administrative response. In each case, the student will receive an acknowledgement of the appeal within five working days and a deliberation response within fifteen working days from the date of the acknowledgment letter.
Administrative Levels for Student Complaints: The appropriate cabinet level officer for student complaints will be as follows:
- Provost and Chief Academic Officer – academic, accreditation, information technology, institutional research, library, registrar, and retention issues
- Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration – auxiliary services (bookstore, dining hall), facilities, financial aid, human resources, and student accounts issues
- Vice President for Development – alumni, development, and fundraising issues
- Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students – athletics, public safety, residence life, spiritual life, student activities, student organizations, and student services issues
- Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management – admission and extension campus issues
- Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications – media, publications, and public relations issues
In the event that the original Administrative response was sent by one of the cabinet level officers listed above, the student’s appeal should be directed to the Student Life Appeals committee. The appeal timeline stated above applies. Following its investigation and deliberation, the committee will send to the student a written statement of decision. The decision of the committee will be final.
Source: 2013-2014 Student Handbook