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You are here: Home Compliance Certification Section 4 - Federal Requirements 4.5 - Student Complaints

4.5 - Student Complaints

The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints. .

Judgment of Compliance

The College certifies compliance.

Narrative

Cleveland Community College has policies and procedures governing student complaints that are well publicized in the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook, in print and online. Additionally, students can access the governing policies and procedures via the College’s Policies and Procedures Manual. The College provides a complaint mechanism in a fair and professional manner, which is clear and consistent with guidelines for student resolution. The procedures are easily accessible to traditional and distance learning students. Students enrolled in distance education or off-campus students follow the same policies and procedures as traditional students. If a student or witness is unable to appear in person, such as a distance learning student, accommodations may be made including written statements, phone or video conference, and email.

The College is committed to resolving any complaint among students, between students and instructors, or students and other College personnel. Students have a right to file a complaint when they have reason to believe a violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of an existing College policy has occurred. This right also includes complaints alleging discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, pregnancy, veteran status, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, or other personal characteristics.

Records of complaints made by students are confidential and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) describes access to these records. The records are maintained in the office where they are submitted. The College has a formal procedure available to students for the following: Americans with Disabilities, Harassment and Discrimination, Student Complaint, Disciplinary (Student Code of Conduct), Non-Academic Appeal, Academic Integrity Appeal, and Grade Appeal. Examples of each type of complaint are included in the narrative below.

Americans with Disabilities Complaints

The College has a grievance procedure for students with disabilities outlined in the Policies and Procedures Manual and Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook. Students with complaints are to contact the appropriate person in Student Services. To date, the College has not received an Americans with Disabilities complaint; therefore, the College has been unable to implement the policy.

Harassment and Discrimination Complaint

Students who believe discrimination or harassment has taken place, is taking place, or alleged to have taken place, can follow the procedure published in the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual for the Notice of Nondiscrimination policy and Harassment in the Learning Environment and Workplace policy. Both policies support the College’s expectation and practice of not condoning harassment or discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, age, veteran status or other non-relevant factors in the administration of educational policies, including admissions and financial aid programs.

Students wishing to file a discrimination or harassment complaint are directed to submit the appropriate Discrimination-Harassment Complaint form to the Vice President of Student Services. If a grievance is reported, all attempts are made to reach a satisfactory resolution through an informal process. If a formal process is required, the Vice President will conduct a timely and objective investigation to determine the facts on a case-by-case basis. The investigation will include separate interviews with the complainant, respondent, and potential witnesses. Information and identities are kept confidential to the extent possible in order to conduct an effective investigation. While the College encourages the resolution of student grievances directly between the student and alleged offending party, at no time is a student required to confront a perceived harasser. Since 2010, the College has not received a formal harassment or discrimination complaint; therefore, the College has been unable to implement the policy.

Student Complaint

The College has a student complaint procedure allowing students the right to be heard in matters where they have a general grievance against an employee of the College.

Students are encouraged to direct their initial complaint to the appropriate employee with whom the alleged grievance originated. Should there be no satisfactory resolution following the initial meeting, a formal grievance may be submitted. The Student Complaint Procedure is publicized in the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual. Although the College does not receive a significant number of student complaints, an example from 2015 demonstrates the College follows established policies and procedures in a fair and professional manner. In the example, the student filed a complaint against a College employee. The Vice President of Student Services forwarded the complaint to the appropriate supervisor. The appropriate supervisor followed-up with the student and after several conversations, the student was satisfied as evidenced by withdrawing the complaint.

Students who are not satisfied with the initial resolution for a student complaint are instructed to follow the Non-Academic Appeal procedure.

Disciplinary Complaint (Student Code of Conduct)

The College has a mechanism for students and college employees to make a formal complaint against a student for violating college regulations as outlined in Student Responsibilities (Student Code of Conduct) located in the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual.

Formal complaints about student code of conduct violations are made by submission of the Student Discipline Form. Disciplinary Procedures are explained in the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual. After an initial investigation, the Vice President of Student Services may dismiss the complaint, impose a sanction, or refer the student to another College office or community agency for services. Students may receive one or more of the following sanctions: a written reprimand, be placed on probation, suspension, or expulsion, be responsible for paying a restitution, be withdrawn from a course, removal from the College Network, be referred to counseling, or be referred to legal prosecution.

The following links provide examples of complaints against students who violated the student code of conduct. Example 1 illustrates a student code of conduct violation and potential clinical site violation. The student was accused of sharing confidential information outside of the normal responsibilities of Nursing Assistants. After the investigation, the Vice President of Student Services decided to place the student on probation instead of suspension from the program, as recommended by the program chair. No further issues were reported with Example 1 student.

Example 2 illustrates a complaint by an instructor on a student accused of stealing cosmetology material from another student. A representative from the College’s security department, along with the Vice President of Student Services, conducted an investigation. Video surveillance was obtained and verified the accused student in Example 2 removed an item from a fellow students’ possession without authorization. The student was suspended and assisted with transfer of earned cosmetology hours to another institution.

In both examples, the student was satisfied with the outcome and did not choose to follow the Non-Academic Appeal procedure.

Non-Academic Appeal (Grievance and due process)

A student has the right to appeal a decision by the Vice President of Student Services regarding complaints related to Americans with Disabilities, Harassment and Discrimination, general student complaints, and Student Code of Conduct. The non-academic appeal procedure is published in the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual. A written appeal must be submitted to the Vice President of Student Services. All non-academic appeals are referred to the Grievance Committee, which follows specific procedures for conducting a hearing. If the student is not satisfied with the Grievance Committee’s decision, a written appeal may be made to the President. The appeal process ends with the President’s decision.

Since 2010, the College has not received a Non-Academic appeal; therefore, the College has been unable to implement the policy.

Academic Appeal: Academic Integrity

A student has the right to appeal an academic integrity violation. The academic integrity appeal procedure is published in the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual. The student begins the appeal process by meeting with the instructor. If the issue cannot be resolved between the instructor and student, the student may file a formal written appeal to the Vice President of Academic Programs. The Vice President will review the appeal and confer with the student, instructor, and others as needed to render a decision. The Vice President will notify all parties of the final decision.

If the student or instructor is not satisfied with the final decision, a written appeal may be made to the President. The appeal process ends with the President’s decision. Since 2010, the College has not received a Non-Academic appeal; therefore, the College has been unable to implement the policy.

Academic Appeal: Grade

A student has the right to appeal a course grade when a grade received was assigned in a manner inconsistent with the course syllabus, or was assigned using a method other than that used to compute other students’ grades in that course. The course grade appeal procedure is published in the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual.

The student begins the appeal process by meeting with the instructor. If the issue cannot be resolved between the instructor and student, the student may file a formal written appeal to the Vice President of Academic Programs. The Vice President will review the appeal and confer with the student, instructor, and others as needed to render a decision. The Vice President will notify all parties of the final decision.

As evidence of this process, Example 3 is a grade appeal investigated by the Vice President of Academic Programs. The Vice President notified the student in Example 3 of the decision and provided steps for a final appeal to the President.

If the student or instructor is not satisfied with the final decision, a written appeal may be made to the President. The appeal process ends with the President’s decision. The student in Example 3 did not chose to submit an appeal to the President.

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