Student Grievance Procedure
A. Purpose – The purpose of the Student grievance Procedure is to assure students that their grievances will be considered fairly, rapidly, and in a non-threatening atmosphere.
Students have the right to grieve when they have reason to believe that a condition, situation, or action affecting them is unjust, inequitable, and/or a hindrance to effective performance.
A grievable action is an action that is in violation of written campus policies or procedures or constitutes arbitrary, capricious, or unequal application of written campus policies or procedures. This would include alleged discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, handicap or other conditions, preferences or behaviors (excluding sexual harassment complaints, which, due to its sensitive nature, would first be directed to the grievance officer appointed by the President, and only if not resolved by meeting with the grievance officer would then follow the remainder of the grievance procedure). This would also include academic matters (excluding individual grades except where the above conditions apply).
B. Procedures – These procedures are not intended to initiate disciplinary action against a member of the faculty, staff or administration, or to alter college policy.
1. First Step – The student must go to the instructor or staff member where the alleged problem originated. An attempt will be made to resolve the matter equitably and informally at this level. The conference must take place within five business days of the incident which generated the complaint.
2. Second Step – If the grievance is not resolved at the informal conference, the student must talk with the faculty/staff member’s immediate supervisor (e.g. department chair) who will attempt to resolve the issue. This discussion must take place within five business days of completion of step one.
3. Third Step – If the grievance is not resolved within the department, the student may file a written grievance. The student would obtain the grievance form from the Director of Counseling Services who will explain the grievance process to the student. The completed grievance form must be returned to the Director within five business days of completion of step two. The Director will then refer the grievance to the appropriate administrator (e.g. division chair) involved. The administrator shall respond in writing to the student within ten business days of receipt of the grievance form.
4. Fourth Step – If the written statement of the administrator does not satisfy the grievant, the student may request to appear before the Student Grievance Committee. The student must submit a written request to the Director of Counseling Services and be received within three business days of receipt of the administrator’s statement. The request shall include a copy of the original grievance form, a copy of the administrator’s written response, and the reason why the administrator’s response is unsatisfactory.
The Director shall immediately notify the President who shall insure that the Committee is organized in a manner consistent with Section C of this procedure (The Student Grievance Committee). The Director will send copies of the appeal to the members of the Committee, the employee, and the employee’s supervisor. The employee against whom the grievance was filed shall be given an opportunity to respond in writing to the chairperson of the committee.
The Student Grievance Committee shall meet between five and fifteen business days of receipt of the request (excluding school breaks). A postponement may be granted by the Chairperson upon written request of either party, if the reason stated justifies such action.
The Committee shall function by the guidelines outlined in Section VII for the Disciplinary Review Committee.
The Committee shall decide by a majority vote the resolution of the grievance. In case of a tie, the chairperson shall vote to break the tie. The chairperson shall forward a copy of the Committee’s decision to all parties involved and to the office of the President within two business days of the Committee’s decision.
5. Fifth Step – The Committee’s decision may be appealed by either party involved to the President of the College within three business days of receipt of the Committee’s decision. Failure of the student to accept receipt of the letter within six business days of letter postmark ends the appeal procedure and the student forfeits his/her right to further appeal. If the written appeal is not received by the President within the time frame the appeal process ends and they forfeit their right to further appeal. The President shall review the Committee’s findings, conduct whatever additional inquiries deemed necessary, and will render a decision within ten business days of receipt of the appeal.
6. Sixth Step – The President’s decision may be appealed by either party involved to the Board of Trustees within three business days of receipt of the President’s decision. Failure of the student to accept receipt of the letter within six business days of letter postmark ends the appeal procedure and the student forfeits his/her right to further appeal. If the written appeal is not received by the Board of Trustees within the time frame the appeal process ends and they forfeit their right to further appeal.
The Board of Trustees or a committee for the Board shall review any information to date, conduct whatever additional inquiries deemed necessary, and render a decision within twenty business days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Board will be final.
C. The Student Grievance Committee – The Disciplinary Review Committee may serve as the Student Grievance Committee or, at the direction of the President, a new Committee may be formed for each grievance. Committee makeup and method of appointment will be the same as for the Disciplinary Review Committee.
D. Right of Parties Involved in a Grievance – When a grievance committee meeting is scheduled, the parties involved are entitled to:
- A written notice of the complaint.
- A written notice of the time and place of the meeting. This notice shall be forwarded to all parties at least five business days prior to the meeting unless they waive this requirement.
- Review all available evidence, documents, or exhibits that each party may present at the meeting.
- Have access to the names of the witnesses who may testify.
- Appear in person and present information on his or her behalf, call witnesses, and ask questions of any person present at the meeting.
- The right to counsel. The role of the person acting as counsel is solely to advise the client. The counsel shall not address the Committee.
- The student will provide the Director of Counseling Services the name of the student’s counsel and the list of student’s witnesses at least two business days prior to the scheduled meeting.
- If the grievant fails to attend the meeting (the committee will wait ten minutes from the scheduled meeting time), the grievance procedure ends and the student forfeits their right to further appeal.
E. Prohibitions – Neither the student, nor his/her representatives (counsel, family, friends, etc.), shall contact a Student Grievance Committee member, the College witnesses, the President, members of the Board of Trustees, or other community constituents prior to the student grievance proceedings. Such contact constitutes a breach in the grievance process and may adversely affect the meeting.