Academic Complaints

Academic complaints are grievances that students may present against a faculty member. If a student believes that he/she has just cause for an academic complaint, other than to appeal a grade awarded for a course (grade review), the following steps must be taken no later than 30 calendar days into the next regular semester after the alleged incident(s) occurred. If the faculty member against whom the complaint is filed is not available, the complaint process may proceed to the next level, or by mutual agreement between the student and the dean of the area, the complaint process may be postponed and rescheduled at a time when all parties are available.

Step 1   For academic complaints, other than grade review, students should seek a resolution by meeting with the faculty member(s) involved in the complaint to try to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution of the complaint. The faculty member(s) should meet with the student within ten (10) working days of the student's request for a meeting. If the faculty member(s) does not meet with the student within ten (10) working days of the request for a meeting, the student may proceed to Step 2. If the time limit is not met at any step, the student may proceed to the next step.

Step 2   If the issue is not resolved at Step 1 and the student wishes to pursue the issue further, the student shall arrange a meeting with the chair of the appropriate department or the program coordinator to try to resolve the issue. If the chair of the department or the program coordinator is involved in the complaint or has another conflict of interest, the student shall go directly to Step 3. The chair of the department or the program coordinator should meet with the student within ten (10) working days of the student's request for a meeting. The chair or the program coordinator will attempt to resolve the issue by meeting with the student(s), and if appropriate, the faculty member(s). If appropriate, the chair or the program coordinator may have a joint meeting with the student(s) and the faculty member(s) involved in the complaint.

Step 3   If the issue is not resolved at Step 2 and the student wishes to pursue it further, the student shall meet with the dean of the area to try to resolve the issue. Prior to meeting with the dean of the area, the student shall submit the complaint in writing. The written complaint shall include the date(s) of the alleged incident(s), the name(s) of the faculty member(s) involved, any person(s) who may have knowledge of the incident(s) or situation, and a summary of what occurred from the student's perspective. The student shall also state what he/she desires as an outcome (resolution). The dean of the area shall meet with the student within ten (10) working days of receiving the student's written complaint. If appropriate, the dean of the area will conduct an investigation of the complaint. Prior to meeting with the faculty member(s) involved in the complaint, a copy of the student's written complaint will be forwarded to the faculty member(s). If the dean does not meet with the student within ten (10) working days of receiving the student's written complaint, the student may go directly to Step 4. Within ten (10) working days after meeting with the student, the dean will forward a written notice of his/her decision/action to the student, the chair of the department or the program coordinator, and the faculty member(s) involved in the complaint.

Step 4   If the issue is not resolved at Step 3 and the student desires to pursue it further, the student shall submit an incident report. All written material involving the complaint shall be forwarded by the dean of the area to the appropriate vice president immediately after receiving notice that the student has appealed the dean's decision. A copy of the appeal shall be forwarded to the faculty member. The appropriate vice president shall meet with the student within ten (10) working days after receiving written notification of the appeal. If appropriate, the vice president will conduct an investigation of the complaint. If the appropriate vice president does not meet with the student within ten (10) session days, the student may go to Step 5. Within ten (10) working days after meeting with the student, the appropriate vice president will forward a written notice of his/her decision/action to the student, the dean, the chair of the department or the program coordinator, and the faculty member(s) involved in the complaint.

Step 5   If the issue is not resolved at Step 4 and the student wishes to pursue it further, the student shall submit a written appeal to the superintendent/president of the college to try to resolve the issue. A copy of the written appeal shall be forwarded to the faculty member. Within ten (10) working days after receiving the written appeal, the superintendent/president may meet with the student to discuss the issue, or render a decision based upon a review of the written complaint. If appropriate, the superintendent/ president will conduct an investigation of the complaint.If the superintendent/president renders a decision based upon a written record of the incident, he/she will forward written notice of the decision/action to the student, the dean, the chair of the department or the program coordinator, and the faculty member(s) involved in the complaint within ten (10) working days of receiving the student's appeal. If the superintendent/president meets with the student, he/she will forward a written notice of his/ her decision/action to the student, the dean, the chair of the department or the program coordinator, and the faculty member(s) involved in the complaint within ten (10) working days of meeting with the student. The number of calendar days designated for a meeting may be extended if mutually agreed upon by the student and the superintendent/ president.

Step 6   If the issue is not resolved at Step 5 and the student wishes to pursue it further, the student shall submit a written appeal to the board of trustees. The written appeal shall contain all written material submitted and received by the student involved in the complaint. Within two calendar months after receiving the appeal, the board of trustees shall review the appeal and issue a decision/action, in writing, to the student, the dean, the chair of the department or the program coordinator, and the faculty member(s) involved in the complaint. In reaching a decision, the board of trustees may render a decision based upon the written record or grant a hearing de nova (full hearing). The decision of the board is final.

If an academic complaint against a faculty member(s) is found to be valid, and it is determined that the violation is severe enough for disciplinary action, the faculty member(s) will be disciplined through the regular disciplinary process.

If you have any questions on completing a form or reporting an incident, please contact the Vice President of Student Services office at 805-922-6966 ext. 3650.

 

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Last Modified Aug 17, 2017