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.
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
Protection of Freedom of ExpressionStudents 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.
Protection Against Improper Academic EvaluationStudents 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.
Protection Against Improper DisclosureInformation 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
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.
Protection of the Right to EvaluateThere 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 Dean of the Academic school in which the course is housed. The student must initiate this visit within 10 working days after receiving information about the condition on which the complaint is based.
In most cases, following the consultation with the Dean, 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 Dean. If a resolution is not reached by working directly with the faculty person, the student should then report back to the appropriate 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.
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 an Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs. If the complaint is found to meet the criteria for a formal complaint the student will complete the necessary formal paperwork. This paperwork must be completed and submitted no later than 20 workdays following the initial receipt of information upon which the complaint is based.
The Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs will form a three member group of Deans from departments not affiliated with complaint to serve as an ad hoc committee. The Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs will forward the written, signed complaint to the faculty, the Dean and the Dean of the appropriate Academic School within 2 working days. The Dean will provide documentation of efforts to bring about satisfactory resolution within 3 working days. The Dean Review Committee will review all formal complaints and procedures to ensure integrity of the process and outcomes. The committee will render a decision and communicate the decision in writing to the student, faculty, Dean of the appropriate academic schools, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the office of the Vice President for Learning and Academic Affairs (VPLAA).
Important Additional Information
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 based on extenuating circumstances, which will be communicated to the student. Timelines may also be altered by mutual agreement.
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 Dean of the Department in which the course is housed|
|13||Consult with faculty person to attempt resolution|
|18||Consult with the Dean of the Department in which the course is housed|
|20||If informal procedure fails to produce a resolution: Consult with an Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs|
A written request for an appeal of the decision of the Committee may be made to the VPLAA for the following reasons only:
A procedural error that unfairly and materially affected the outcome of the complaint hearing.
Clear abuse of discretion on the part of the Assistant Vice Presidents of Academics.