Policy 02:16:00 Informal Complaint and Grievance Policy

Revision Responsibility: Vice President of Academic Affairs

Responsible Executive Office: Vice President of Academic Affairs

Purpose: To provide information about eligibility, definitions, and the informal complaint procedure and the formal grievance procedure.

Definitions:

  • Informal Complaint: an informal, written disagreement.
  • Grievant: the author of a grievance
  • Grievance: A written statement by a Grievant setting forth a complaint that was not resolved previously by the College's required Informal Complaint Procedure.
  • Grievance Form: a formally typed and signed form submitted by the grievant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or his/her designee which includes: (a) a concise statement of the allegations that form the basis for the student's complaint, including a careful statement of the facts, (b) the rule, regulation, policy or practice that was violated, and (c) a summary of the informal attempts at resolution with an explanation of the suggested remedy.  A signed student action report (SAR) must accompany the College Grievance Form in order to be processed as a formal grievance.  A student’s signature does not imply agreement with the outcome of the informal complaint.

Eligibility:

These procedures may NOT be used:

  • by a student seeking to have individual assignments (which includes but is not limited to exams, quizzes, homework assignments, clinical/simulation experiences, etc.) regraded in order to raise course average.
  • in resolving any complaint, request, or question involving student records, including issues which are governed by college procedures related to or established under the Family Education Rights and Privacy ACT (FERPA) (See Policy 03:03:00 Confidentiality of Student Records)
  • by a student to appeal a previous decision already determined by the Grievance Committee pursuant to this formal grievance procedures.  A decision by the Grievance Committee is final
  • in regard to discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services or in deciding issues relating to sexual harassment.  (See Policy 03:22:00 Non-Discrimination Policy for Students)
  • by a student seeking resolution of conflicts arising with ADA or Title IX accommodations.  (See Policy 03:05:00 ADA  and Title IX Resources)
  • by a student who received a course failure due to violating student standards of conduct in accordance with Policy 02:26:00, academic integrity in accordance with Policy 02:17:00, and/or any other applicable College policy.
  • by a student who has been suspended from the course or terminated from the program for violating student standards of conduct in accordance with Policy 02:26:00, academic integrity in accordance with Policy 02:17:00, and/or any other applicable College policy.

These procedures may be used when a formal difference or dispute within the following criteria occurs:

  • assignment of a grade on some basis other than performance in a course that was not detailed in the course syllabi and/or student learning system.
  • application of standards different from those that were applied to other students in the same course during the same quarter
  • the assignment of a grade not in accordance with the grading protocol in the course syllabi and/or the student learning system.

Any individual who files a grievance has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she has been wronged.

Informal Complaint Steps:

Students who wish to initiate a review of an informal complaint shall use the following process before initiating the College's grievance procedure:

Step One: The student should determine the type of issue, concern, or complaint he/she wishes to have reviewed.  Types of issues include but are not limited to: (a) concerns about grades or other learning activities, (b) concerns about behaviors perceived by the student from other students, faculty or staff, and (c) any other concerns directly relating to the academic or operational processes that are under the purview of the College.

Step Two: Attempts to resolve complaints must first begin with an informal process. Informal complaints must be made within 15 business days of the decision, determination or incident that gives rise to the complaint. The student should expect a response using College e-mail (or other College approved preferred contact method) as appropriate within 5 business days.

Steps in the informal process include:

Discussing the matter with the staff or faculty member in which the issue originated. A complaint should initially be addressed to the faculty member, student peer or member of staff who is most directly concerned with the issue. In order to ensure that the complaint is raised at a mutually convenient time, the student should try to arrange an appointment with this person.

If the issue is not resolved after the discussion, the next contact is the Associate Dean of Nursing.  The Associate Dean will informally investigate the issue and allegations. During the meeting with the Associate Dean of Nursing, students will need to present in writing (either electronically or written) (a) a clear, concise factual account of the incident, (b) any correspondence related to the incident, and (c) any additional material the student deems necessary for resolution of the informal complaint.

If the issue is resolved informally, no more steps are needed.

If the issue being raised in the complaint has been reviewed by the Associate Dean of Nursing and the student believes a satisfactory resolution has still not been reached, the student may elect to progress to the last course of action, initiation of a formal grievance. 

Grievance Steps:

Step Three: In order to file a formal grievance, the grievant must submit a College Grievance Form and the signed copy of the Student Action Report (SAR) from the Associate Dean of Nursing, outlining the attempts to resolve the matter informally through the complaint procedures.

A Grievance Form, in addition to the SAR,  must be filed with the Vice President of Academic Affairs or his/her designee within five business days from the time of the decision, determination, or incident leading to the Grievance, or from the time when the Grievant should reasonably have been able to determine that the decision, determination, or incident might have affected his/her status whichever is later.

All grievances must be filed in writing and signed by the Grievant, and must include:

  • a concise statement of the allegations that form the basis for the student's complaint, including a careful statement of the facts, the rule, regulation, policy or practice that was violated, a summary of the informal attempts at resolution, and a suggested remedy.

No formal grievance will be considered to be filed until the written grievance is actually received by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or his/her designee.

Any administrator, faculty member, staff member or student serving in any review capacity at any stage in a grievance process will consider all available relevant facts relating to the grievance.

Step Four: A date for the Grievant to meet with the Grievance Committee and present his or her Grievance will be set within one week of the date the Grievance is filed.  The decision of the Grievance Committee is final.

If a committee is needed for resolution of a grievance, the Grievance Committee will be composed of two (2) students, two (2) Platt College employees (staff member(s)/discipline related faculty member(s), and one (1) discipline related Platt College Administrator as determined by Platt College who are not directly involved in the incident or disciplinary action.  In the event that a tie-breaking vote is needed the College Administrator who is not directly involved in the incident or disciplinary action serves as the tie breaking vote.

If the Grievant chooses to be represented by an attorney, the Grievant or the Grievant's attorney must so notify the appropriate Platt College Administrator at least 24 hours prior to the date of any meeting where the Grievant's attorney will be present.  If a Grievant chooses to involve legal counsel, the Grievant will be responsible for all of his/her own incurred legal fees. 

All references in these procedures to time periods are to business days. 

Policy Appendices: Formal Grievance Procedure, College Grievance Form

Revised: August 4, 2009, July 9, 2014 to reflect distinction between academic and general grievance, change in time period to six weeks under IV (B) and V (E), Listed on June 12, 2015, Revision notification sent on March 29, 2015 to combine informal complaint and grievance into one stepped process policy and to revise committee composition to two (2) students, two (2) Platt College employees (staff member(s)/discipline related faculty member(s), and one (1) discipline related Platt College Administrator, June 29, 2018 to provide a timeline for submission in Step Three to correlate with SAP.

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