Student Complaint Resolution
When a complaint is made to the relevant institutional authorities, the College will use reasonable efforts to seek prompt and fair resolution of that complaint.
Complaints Not Covered
Complaints concerning laws not applicable to a nonpublic institution of higher education are not covered by this policy. For example, a complaint of criminal misconduct should be filed directly with local law enforcement authorities, and a complaint relating to violation of Federal law should be filed directly with the Federal agency having cognizance over the matter in question.
Exhaustion of Remedies at the Institutional Level
Many issues fall within areas that generally are within the sole purview of the College and its governing board. Moreover, concerns or complaints are generally more speedily and appropriately resolved within the internal channels available at the institution. Discussion of the matter through informal means is the preferred starting point. Should that fail, the complainant should use formal grievance resolution mechanisms provided by the College. No retaliatory action shall be taken against a student for utilizing these processes. Exhaustion of all informal and formal institutional processes is a prerequisite to filing a complaint with the State Education Department pursuant to this policy.
Procedure for Addressing Complaints
There may be occasions when a student has a concern or a complaint about a course or an instructor, e.g., about a course requirement, class procedure, or grades. A concern about a course or instructor should be expressed no later than 30 days into the start of the next semester. The student should whenever possible first approach the instructor for clarification and resolution. Addressing a challenging situation at this level provides an opportunity for both the student and instructor to work together to find a mutual resolution in the spirit of understanding and patience. If, after contacting the instructor the student still has concerns, the student should address them to the appropriate department chair who will help the student and instructor to resolve the matter. Individual departments may establish their own internal procedures for handling student concerns. The informal complaint resolution process is expected to be completed within one month.
If the informal resolution process is not able to resolve the concern, the student may file a formal grievance by the end of the semester following the semester in which the alleged grievance occurred, or as soon as is reasonably possible.
A student files a grievance by submitting a complaint in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs (for an academic grievance) or the Director of Student Affairs or designee (for a personal grievance). The statement should include: (1) a complete narrative of the circumstances giving rise to the grievance; (2) identification of the parties involved; (3) a statement of the desired remedy; and (4) any supporting documentation.
The Vice President of Academic Affairs or the Director of Student Affairs or designee will determine whether the complaint has sufficient substance to be deemed a grievance. If so, the student will be notified and the grievance will be routed to the appropriate department chair or supervisor for a a preliminary investigation and hearing with the aggrieved student. Information from any source and in any manner determined to be useful in reaching a recommendation may be used. The department chair or supervisor will present a final report and recommendation to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or the Director of Student Affairs or designee. The student shall also be notified of the recommendation.
Should the recommendation not be acceptable to the student, the case may be appealed to the President. The President’s decision is final within the College appeal process and cannot serve as the basis for a new complaint. The internal grievance resolution process is expected to be completed within three months.