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. Members of this community of learners - students, faculty, staff and administrators - are expected to treat each other as trustworthy, honest, and honorable, in accordance with our Community Standards. When a student has a complaint, the University would encourage resolution to be sought through informal communication with the appropriate instructor, academic chair, 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, sexual harassment, academic dishonesty, etc. that are further defined in the Student Handbook, catalog or elsewhere. Click on the links to view specific policies: Financial Appeal, Academic Dishonesty, Sexual Misconduct
Documentation of Formal Process
For reasons of both efficiency and charity, any appeal should be pursued as close in time to the alleged unfair event as possible. Any appeal must be documented by all involved parties. Standard rules of evidence and strict confidentiality will be observed through any and all appeal steps.
Initial Action (Step One): Lodging a Formal Complaint
A student who wishes to lodge a formal complaint with the University must complete and submit the formal complaint form to the Vice President for Student Success. A form is available in the Registrar’s Office, as well as online.
Acknowledgement (Step Two): Administrative Complaint Acknowledgement
Formal student complaints will be forwarded to the administrator most immediately responsible for the area to which the complaint pertains. See ‘Administrative Levels for Student Complaints’ for more information. The Vice President for Student Success will send a written acknowledgement to the student within five business days of receiving the complaint, indicating:
- that the formal complaint form has been received,
- the nature of the complaint,
- that the student will receive a written response after deliberation within fifteen business days.
Copies of the written student complaint and the acknowledgement letter will be sent to the Chair, Director, Vice President or Provost over that area.
Action Taken (Step Three): 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 the student a written statement of attempted resolution to the problem within fifteen business days of receiving the complaint.
A copy of the deliberation response will be sent to the Vice President for Student Success, who will keep a written log. Upon resolution, all documents will be stored in the student’s permanent file.
Appeal (Step Four): Student Appeal Process
Upon receiving a deliberation response to the written complaint, if the student does not feel the concern has been resolved, the student has the right of appeal to successive levels of administration, including the Provost and subsequently, the University President. The appeal must be made in writing within five business days of the receiving the administrative response. In each case, the student will receive an acknowledgement of the appeal within five business days upon receipt of the complaint and a deliberation response within fifteen business days from the date of the acknowledgment letter.
Administrative Levels for Student Complaints
The appropriate office for student complaints will be as follows:
- Provost, Associate Provost, and Program Chairs:
- institutional research
- academic departments and programs
- Vice President for Student Success:
- student services
- Executive Director of Enrollment Services:
- financial aid
- Director of Student Development:
- residence life
- spiritual life
- intercultural life
- student activities
- student organizations
- Director of Marketing and Communications:
- marketing and communications
- Director of Alumni Relations, Vice President for Development:
- alumni, parent relations
- event services
- Vice President for Business Affairs:
- student accounts
- human resources
- food services
- Vice President for Information Technologies:
- information technologies
The only appeal beyond the offices listed above is to the President of the University. The appeal timeline stated above applies. The decision of the President will be final.