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Complaint and Grievance Policies

 

The Si Tanka University complies with Federal regulations (Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the American Disabilities Act of 1992) designed to provide equitable treatment of all students regardless of race, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, or disability. It is committed to the ideal that all students should have recourse from unfair and improper action on the part of any member of the University community. The University believes many complaints can be resolved through an open, honest dialogue between the persons involved. Students are strongly encouraged to resolve any concern informally through the appropriate department or division administrator. If needed, the Registration Office will direct the student to the appropriate department or division administrator to initiate the informal process. The administrator will work with the student to resolve the student's question, concern, or complaint. If the student is not satisfied with the discussion and any suggested resolution, the student may file a formal complaint.

Student complaints or grievances are handled through one of two procedures depending on the nature of the grievance – academic (not include grade or evaluation dispute) and non-academic or non-grade related. When a grade or evaluation dispute occurs, students are required to file their written petition or grievance within 60 days to the Chair of the appropriate academic department after the grade has been rendered. Petitions or grievances initiated after the 60 day deadline will not be considered. Based upon professional judgment, the instructor is solely responsible for the grade assigned. No instructor may be directed to change a grade unless a mistake, fraud or bad faith by the instructor is proven. The burden of proof for the existence of mistake, fraud or bad faith on the part of the instructor is the responsibility of the student. A student who believes University academic regulations including University grading procedures and/or grading criteria have not been followed must attempt to resolve the issue by discussing the differences of opinion with his/her instructor as a first step. If the student is unable to reach agreement with the instructor, the student may take the complaint to the department chair and then, if no resolution is reached, to the Academic Dean, whom will make the final decision.

An academic complaint is any non-civil rights related complaint generated by an individual student concerning the work-related activities of any faculty member except for grade evaluation. The informal process is to provide information to the student that will assist the student and instructor in mutually resolving the concern or problem. If the student is not satisfied with the discussion and suggested resolution, the student may file a formal complaint against the faculty member. Any formal complaint must refer to actions of the Faculty member within the course and scope of his/her employment. A grade change request based strictly upon academic considerations shall not be considered a complaint against a Faculty member. If the student believes the decision offered by the faculty member or the faculty member's supervisor through the informal process did not provide a resolution, the student may then use the formal complaint process.

Students should make every attempt to pursue concerns in a timely manner and should be reported within 30 calendar days from the date the decision was provided to the student.

Formal Process: A student may petition the Academic Dean in writing to resolve a complaint not resolved during the informal process. The petition must be as well defined, objective as possible and contain the following information: 33

1. Name of the faculty member.

2. Statement of facts and nature of the formal complaint.

3. Date(s) of the incident(s).

4. Resolution being sought by the student(s).

5. Name of the student(s) filing the formal written complaint.

6. Signature of the student(s) and the date submitted.

 

The Academic Dean will either make a decision or refer the matter to the Academic Committee. Should the Academic Dean refer the issue to the Academic Committee, the committee will review the complaint and make a determination on the issue. The decision/recommendation of the committee will be communicated to the Academic Dean in writing. The Academic Dean will review the decision/recommendation and communicate it to the student in writing.

Appeals Process: A student complaint arising from an action of the Academic Committee must be addressed in writing to the Academic Dean. Following receipt of the decision taken by the committee by the student, the student must file a written appeal to the Academic Dean within 10 calendar days or the compliant is waived. The Academic Dean may refer the appeal back to the committee for review or to the Appeals Committee for consideration and recommendation. If the appeals process is initiated, the following protocol will be followed:

1. The chair of the Academic Committee or Appeals Committee provides the student with written notice of the hearing not less than seven calendar days prior to the hearing.

2. The student must present all relevant evidence at the hearing and may be accompanied by a faculty advisor of his/her choice.

3. The recommendation of the Academic Committee or Appeals Committee is submitted in writing to the Academic Dean.

4. The Academic Dean, after review of the record and recommendation(s), renders a decision and notifies the student in writing.

5. The decision of the Academic Dean is final.

A non-academic or non-grade complaint may be a complaint related to civil rights, services, violation of FERPA Regulations, or other complaints not academic in nature. This include: any act or threat of intimidation, discrimination or harassment; any act or threat of physical aggression; arbitrary action, violation of student rights, or imposition of sanctions without proper regard to University policy as specified in the Education Code, Board Policy, and/or Administrative Procedures; violation of Title IX and any violation of Section 504 with reference to the rights of disabled students.

Formal Process: If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of that attempt, then he or she should submit a formal complaint, within 30 business days after the attempt to resolve the issue to the Academic Dean.

Step 1: The petition must be as well defined, objective as possible and contain the following information: 34

 

1. Name

2. Date

3. Brief description of the incident being grieved

4. Remedy requested

5. Signed and informal remedy attempted by student and outcome

If the grievance is against the Academic Dean, the student shall file the grievance with the Office of the President.

Step 2: The Academic Dean will investigate the matter and supply a written response to the student within 30 business days.

Step 3: Appeal of Staff Response: If a student is unsatisfied with the response from the Academic Dean, the student may appeal the decision to the President of the University. The University staff has no right to appeal.

a. A student shall file a written appeal to the President within ten business days of receiving the response from the Academic Dean.

b. The appeal will be decided based entirely on documents provided by the student and the administration; therefore, the student must ensure that he/she has provided all relevant documents with his/her appeal.

c. At the President’s sole discretion, grievance appeals will be held in one of the following two ways:

1. The President may review the information provided by the student and administration and make the final decision; or

2. The President may appoint a cross-functional committee comprised of five members, including one chair, to make the final decision.

d. The decision of either the President or the cross-functional committee shall be made within ten business days of receipt by the President of the appeal.

e. Whichever process is chosen by the President, the decision of the grievance appeal is final. Retaliation against a student for filing a grievance is strictly prohibited.

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