8 - 01.4

Administrative policy and procedures for student complaints

  1. Purpose. This administrative policy and procedures is established to provide an appropriate framework and method to resolve student complaints. This policy is specifically designed to maintain the integrity of the academic environment and to ensure that the rights of students in such matters are clearly ensured and protected. This policy also covers complaints arising from the student's relationship with the university as a student employee.
  2. General guidelines.
    1. During the campus complaint procedure and appeals process, the student may seek the counsel of the campus student complaint advisor to gain information, to clarify the process, and to facilitate communication.
    2. Some complaints may involve one or more policies which, because of either the nature of the complaint or the status of the complainant, may be related to university offices that have separate responsibilities for such policies. For example, an allegation of discrimination or sexual harassment could be reviewed separately by the office of affirmative action. Therefore, the student complaint may be filed simultaneously in more than one area.
    3. The campus student complaint advisor shall monitor the status of all complaints filed under this rule and the Administrative Code.
  3. Definition of terms.
    1. "Student" or means any person enrolled at the university in a course offered for credit.
    2. "Respondent" is defined as that person or persons named by the student in a written complaint.
    3. "Student complaint" is defined as a formal complaint of alleged violations of university policies and procedures including but not limited to academic, student employment, and administrative actions.
    4. "Complaint procedure" is defined as the process by which a student complaint is resolved.
    5. "Campus student complaint advisor"(complaint advisor) is defined as a faculty member or administrator appointed by the campus dean for a one-year term (renewable) beginning on or about the first day of July each year. The advisor will review student complaints and assist the parties in resolving them. This person is also responsible for expediting the complaint procedure, for convening and chairing the campus student complaint review committee as a non-voting member, and for maintaining all records in a confidential file.
    6. "Student complaint review committee" is defined as a standing committee of three faculty and two students appointed by the campus dean. Faculty appointments shall be made from nominations to the dean from the faculty council; student appointments shall be made from nominations from the student body (when applicable student nominations will come from student government officers). Appointments are made annually at the end of the spring semester, with terms beginning the first of July. The duties of the committee are to:
      1. Receive and review information from all parties involved.
      2. Identify possible solutions.
      3. Make recommendations to the campus dean.
    7. "Days" refers to weekdays during periods in which classes are conducted, excluding examination week.
    8. "Regular semester" refers to the fall and spring instructional terms.
  4. Procedure.
    1. All parties are encouraged to resolve complaints on an informal basis. In seeking this resolution, the parties may confer informally with the complaint advisor, the faculty member or administrator involved, student services personnel, the assistant dean, as well as the ombudsman at Kent campus.
    2. If informal resolution is unsatisfactory, the student may make a formal complaint by submitting the complaint, in writing, to the complaint advisor. Where a complaint involves the advisor, the complaint will be submitted to the campus dean who will appoint an ad hoc advisor.
      1. The written complaint submitted by the student should include the nature of the complaint, the facts and circumstances leading to it, supporting documents, and a proposed remedy. The complaint should include any evidence and/or documentation pertinent to the issues identified. The written complaint should also note attempts, if any, that were made at informal resolution. This written statement and documentation becomes the basis for all further consideration of the matter. Verbal complaints will not be considered by the student complaint review committee. 
      2. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the complaint advisor will forward a copy of the complaint to the respondent(s) who shall respond in writing to the complaint and include any information/documentation pertinent to the issues involved.
      3. The associate provost/regional college dean and campus dean are notified that the complaint has been filed. This notification contains the names of the complainant, the respondent, the general nature of the complaint (such as a grade dispute), and is signed by the complaint advisor.
      4. The conduct of matters brought before the student complaint committee shall be non-adversarial in nature. The committee shall examine and evaluate fully the written allegation and response, including any supporting documentation submitted by the complainant or respondent. The complainant and the respondent will be invited to appear before the committee. Both parties shall be offered the opportunity to appear alone or with another person, who may serve in an advisory capacity. A person serving in such capacity may not participate in the hearing or address the committee. Neither party is permitted to have an attorney as the advisor in the hearing. The committee may also invite testimony from other persons, who, in the judgment of the committee, may assist in its examination and evaluation of the complaint. All committee matters shall be handled in closed session. Upon completion of its inquiry, the committee will provide the campus dean with a written summary of its findings and recommendations.
      5. The campus dean's written decision shall be provided to the student, the respondent, the student complaint review committee, and the associate provost/regional college dean. A copy of the committee's findings and recommendation will be provided with this written decision.
      6. The dean's written decision will also advise the parties of their right to appeal. Appeals will be considered only if the appellant believes there was a procedural error or other substantive issue.  Appeals must be submitted in writing within the time period allowed and will be received by the campus dean and forwarded to the associate provost/regional college dean.
      7. The appellant shall clearly state in writing to the dean the reasons for the appeal. The appeal must be based on procedural reasons or substantive issues that were not properly dealt with in the original review. In no case will the appeal be a complete rehearing of the original complaint. The associate provost/regional college dean shall notify the campus dean of the final decision.
      8. In the event that the decision requires a change in a student's academic record, and neither party appeals the decision, it is the responsibility of the campus dean to initiate such a change, following established university procedures.
  5. Time limits. All parties will follow the following time limits. If conditions or causes exist requiring a modification of the time limits, the complaint advisor, following consultation with the campus dean, shall make the necessary and appropriate adjustments. All parties involved shall be informed immediately of these changes.
    1. Following an unsuccessful attempt at informal resolution, a written complaint must be submitted within fifteen days (15) after the occurrence of the event.
    2. If the event occurs at the end of a regular semester or during a summer session, a student will have up to fifteen (15) days from the start of the next semester to submit the written complaint to the complaint advisor.
    3. The complaint advisor must provide a copy of the complaint to the respondent within five days of receipt.
    4. The respondent has ten (10) days from the date of the receipt of the complaint to provide a written response to the complaint advisor.
    5. The complaint advisor must provide copies of the complaint and the response to the complaint review committee five (5) days prior to the scheduled meeting date.
    6. The complaint review committee is expected to conduct its review as expeditiously as possible. the committee, through the complaint advisor, must forward a written recommendation to the campus dean within ten (10) days of completion of its review.
    7. The campus dean will normally provide a written decision to the parties involved within ten (10) days of receipt of the recommendation of the committee.
    8. Appeals must be written and received within five (5) days of receipt of the decision of the campus dean.
    9. Unless extensive further review is required, the appellant should receive a written decision regarding the appeal within fifteen (15) days. A copy of the appeal decision shall be sent to the other party and to the compliant advisor.
  6. Student employee complaints. When a grievance arises from the student's relationship with the university as an employee, paragraph (E) of this rule and the Administrative Code will be invoked to provide for timely resolution of the matter. If both parties agree, the grievance will be forwarded to the campus dean for resolution. Appeals of the dean's decision will be to the associate provost/regional college dean for final resolution.
  7. Records. The records and disposition of any complaint, including those appealed to the dean, shall be maintained for a minimum of seven years in the campus complaint advisor's office.
  8. Exceptions. It is recognized that because of organizational structure, the nature of a complaint, or the possibility of persons normally involved in the process being subject to a complaint themselves, exceptions to these procedures maybe required. In any case, the matter should be brought to the attention of the campus dean for disposition, or the associate provost/regional college dean should the campus dean be the respondent.
Policy Effective Date: 
Mar. 01, 2015
Policy Prior Effective Dates: 
9/22/1989, 6/1/2007, 6/28/2012