Academic Complaint Policy

Definition

The term “academic complaint” shall be used to define a situation in which students perceive that their rights, as guaranteed by the Student Bill of Rights, have been violated.

Preamble

Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, pursuit of truth, development of students, and general well-being of society. Free inquiry and expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students are encouraged to develop their capacity for critical judgment and to engage in the search for knowledge. Institutional procedures for achieving these purposes may vary, but the standards of freedom outlined in the following paragraphs are essential to a community of scholars, teachers, and learners.

Student Bill of Academic Rights

A. Protection of Freedom of Expression

Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course in which they are enrolled.

B. Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation

Students should have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of
academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.

C. Protection Against Improper Disclosure

Information about student views, beliefs, and political associations that instructors acquire in the course of their work should be considered confidential. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. Judgments of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances, normally with the knowledge or consent of the student.

Faculty Bill of Rights

A. Protection of the Right to Teach

There shall be no denial of a teacher’s right to teach in the spirit of free and rational inquiry, or of the teacher’s right to establish appropriate and germane teaching and learning methods.

B. Protection of the Right to Evaluate

There shall be no denial of a teacher’s right to make an appropriate evaluation of the kind and degree of knowledge and understanding that a student has achieved.

Academic Complaint Procedure

If a student believes that grounds exist for an academic complaint, the student should first consult with the Academic Complaint Advisor in the Counseling Center for advice on both informal and formal procedures for resolution. The student must initiate this visit within 10 working days after receiving information about the condition on which the complaint is based.

Informal Procedure

In most cases, following that consultation, the student should try to work with the faculty person in question to resolve the issue. This step should be initiated within 3 working days of the visit with the Academic Complaint Advisor. If a resolution is not reached by working directly with the faculty person, the student should then consult with the appropriate Center Dean. The Dean will work with the student and the faculty person to resolve the issue. This step should be initiated within 5 working days following the meeting with the faculty member.

Formal Procedure

The student may initiate a formal complaint procedure if the above steps do not result in satisfactory resolution. To do this, the student must consult with the Academic Complaint Advisor to complete the necessary formal paperwork. This paperwork must be completed and submitted no later than 20 work days following the initial receipt of information upon which the complaint is based.

The Academic Complaint Advisor will forward the written, signed complaint to the faculty, the Dean and the Vice President for Learning and Academic Affairs. The Dean will lead and document efforts to bring about satisfactory resolution. The Vice President for Learning and Academic Affairs will review all formal complaints and procedures to ensure academic integrity of the process and outcomes. Upon review, the Vice President will communicate the resolution of the complaint, in writing, to the student, the faculty person and the Dean.

Important Additional Information

Should there be outstanding issues related to the student’s concern that frustrate the above resolution process, the Vice President for Learning and Academic Affairs shall make a final determination of the complaint. The Vice President shall direct whatever investigation of the grievance that is deemed appropriate. The resolution will then be communicated, in writing, to the student, faculty member and the Dean by the Vice President.

Failure of the student to act in a timely manner, as outlined in the time schedule, may result in forfeiture of the complaint. Failure of appropriate college representatives to act in a timely manner may allow the student’s complaint to advance to the next step in the procedure. The Vice President for Learning and Academic Affairs may extend time requirements. Please note that every effort is made for reasonable, just and timely resolution of issues brought forward by our students.

Students are urged to document each step in this process and to act promptly to preserve their rights.

Working Days
from receipt
of information upon which complaint is based
Student Action Steps
10 Consult with the Academic Complaint Advisor in the Counseling Center
13 Consult with faculty person to attempt resolution
18 Consult Center Dean
20 If informal procedure fails to produce a resolution: Return to Academic Complaint Advisor to institute paperwork