FLD (LOCAL) – STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES – STUDENT COMPLAINTS


The student complaints policy is designed to resolve complaints in a timely and equitable manner. All complaints will be handled in a confidential manner, and information will not be disclosed to anyone except as required by law, as needed to effectively investigate the complaint, and/or as required to respond to legal proceedings.

SECTION ONE

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

1.01 The College encourages students to discuss their concerns with the appropriate instructor or other College employee who has the authority to address the concerns.

1.02 Concerns should be expressed as soon as possible to allow timely resolution.

1.03 Informal resolution shall be encouraged but shall not extend any deadlines in this policy, except by mutual written consent.

SECTION TWO

FORMAL PROCESS GENERAL PRINCIPLES

2.01 A student may initiate the formal process described below by timely filing a written complaint form (see: FLD Exhibit).

2.02 Even after initiating the formal complaint process, students are encouraged to seek informal resolution of their concerns. A student whose concerns are resolved may withdraw a formal complaint at any time. The process described in this policy shall not be construed to create new or additional rights beyond those granted by law or Board policy, nor to require a full evidentiary hearing or “mini-trial” at any level.

2.03 Freedom from Retaliation

Neither the Board nor any College employee shall unlawfully retaliate against any student for appropriately communicating a concern or complaint.

2.04 Notice to Students

The College shall inform students of this policy through appropriate College publications.

2.05 Other Complaint Processes

Student complaints shall be filed in accordance with this policy, except as required by the policies listed below. Some of these policies require appeals to be submitted in accordance with this policy after the relevant complaint process.

1. Complaints alleging discrimination, including violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, as amended (gender), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (sex, race, color, religion, national origin), Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (age), or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (disability), shall be submitted in accordance with the Student Freedom from Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation policy (see: FFD Regulation in the AC Policy and Procedure Manual).

2. Complaints concerning retaliation relating to discrimination and harassment (see: FFD Regulation in the AC Policy and Procedure Manual).

3. Complaints concerning student disciplinary decisions (see: FLB Local in the AC Policy & Procedure Manual).

4. Complaints concerning a commissioned peace officer who is an employee of the College shall be submitted in accordance with state law.

5. Complaints or appeals regarding course grades (see EGA Regulation in the Policy and Procedure Manual).

2.06 Filing a Complaint

Complaint forms and appeal notices (see FLD Exhibit) may be filed by hand-delivery; by electronic communication, including e-mail and fax; or by U.S. Mail.

• Hand-delivered filings shall be timely filed if received by the appropriate employee by the close of business on the deadline.

• Filings submitted by electronic communication shall be timely filed if they are received by the close of business on the deadline, as indicated by the date/time shown on the electronic communication.

• Mail filings shall be timely filed if they are postmarked by U.S. Mail on or before the deadline and received by the appropriate administrator or designated representative no more than five (5) days after the deadline.

2.07 Scheduling Conferences

If a student fails to appear at a scheduled conference, the College may hold the conference and issue a decision in the student’s absence.

2.08 Response

At Levels One, Two, and Three, “response” shall mean a written communication to the student from the appropriate College employee. Responses may be hand-delivered, sent by electronic communication to the student’s e-mail address of record, or sent by U.S. Mail to the student’s mailing address of record. Mailed responses shall be timely if they are postmarked by U.S. Mail on or before the deadline.

2.09 Days

“Days” shall mean College business days. In calculating timelines under this policy, the day a document is filed is “day zero.” The following day is “day one.”

2.10 Representative

“Representative” shall mean any person who or organization that is designated by the student to represent the student in the complaint process. The student may designate a representative through written notice to the College (see FLD Exhibit) at any level of this process. If the student designates a representative with fewer than five days’ notice to the College before a scheduled conference or hearing, the College may reschedule the conference or hearing to a later date, if desired, in order to include the College’s counsel. The College may be represented by counsel at any level of the process.

2.11 Consolidating Complaints

Complaints arising out of an event or a series of related events shall be addressed in one complaint. A student shall not file separate or serial complaints arising from any event or series of events that have been or could have been addressed in a previous complaint.

2.12 Untimely Filings

All time limits shall be strictly followed unless modified by mutual written consent. If a complaint form or appeal notice is not timely filed, the complaint may be dismissed, on written notice to the student, at any point during the complaint process. The student may appeal the dismissal by seeking review in writing within five (5) days from the date of the written dismissal notice, starting at the level at which the complaint was dismissed. Such appeal shall be limited to the issue of timeliness.

2.13 Costs Incurred

Each party shall pay its own costs incurred in the course of the complaint.

2.14 Complaint and Appeal Form

Complaints and appeals under this policy shall be submitted in writing on a form provided by the College (see FLD Exhibit). Copies of any documents that support the complaint should be attached to the complaint form. If the student does not have copies of these documents, copies may be presented at the Level One conference. After the Level One conference, no new documents may be submitted by the student unless the student did not know the documents existed before the Level One conference.

A Complaint and Appeal Form that is incomplete in any material aspect may be dismissed but may be refiled with all the required information if the refiling is within the designated time for filing.

SECTION THREE

FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS

3.01 Level One – Staff Member or Faculty Member

Complaint forms must be filed within five (5) days of the date the student first knew, or with reasonable diligence should have known, of the decision or action giving rise to the complaint; and with the lowest-level staff member or faculty member who has the authority to remedy the alleged problem.

If the complaint is not filed with the appropriate staff member or faculty member, the receiving employee must note the date and time the complaint form was received and immediately forward the complaint form to the appropriate staff member or faculty member.

The appropriate College employee shall investigate as necessary and schedule a conference with the student within five (5) days after receipt of the written complaint. The employee may set reasonable time limits for the conference.

Absent extenuating circumstances, the employee shall provide the student a written response within five (5) days following the conference. The written response shall set forth the basis of the decision. In reaching a decision, the employee may consider information provided at the Level One conference and any relevant documents or information the employee believes will help resolve the complaint.

The employee shall develop a record of the Level One process that includes the following documents and files, and submit the entire record to the Dean of Student Affairs:

• The original complaint form and any attachments;

• All other documents submitted by the student;

• The written response issued by the employee and any attachments;

• All other documents relied upon by employee in reaching the initial decision; and

• Any audio or video recordings of conferences.

3.02 Level Two – Supervisor

If the student did not receive the relief requested at Level One or if the time for a response has expired, the student may request a conference with the appropriate supervisor to appeal the Level One decision.

The appeal notice must be filed in writing, on a form provided by the College, within five (5) days of the date of the written Level One response or, if no response was received, within five (5) days of the Level One response deadline.

After receiving notice of the appeal, the Level One employee shall forward the full Level One record to the Level Two supervisor. The student may request a copy of the Level One record.

The Level Two supervisor shall schedule a conference within five (5) days after the appeal notice is filed. The conference shall be limited to the issues and documents considered at Level One. At the conference, the student may provide information concerning any documents or information presented at the Level One conference. The Level Two supervisor may set reasonable time limits for the conference.

The Level Two supervisor shall provide the student a written response within five (5) days following the conference. The written response shall set forth the basis of the decision. In reaching a decision, the Level Two supervisor may consider the Level One record, information provided at the Level Two conference, and any other relevant documents or information the Level Two supervisor believes will help resolve the complaint.

The Level Two supervisor shall develop a record of the Level Two process that includes the following documents and files, and submit the entire record to the Dean of Student Affairs:

• The complete Level One record;

• All other documents submitted by the student;

• The written response issued by the supervisor and any attachments;

• All other documents relied upon by supervisor in reaching the initial decision; and

• Any audio or video recordings of conferences.

3.03 Level Three – Executive

If the student did not receive the relief requested at Level Two or if the time for a response has expired, the student may request a conference with the appropriate Vice President or Dean (hereinafter “executive”) to appeal the Level Two decision.

The appeal notice must be filed in writing, on a form provided by the College, within five (5) days of the date of the written Level Two response or, if no response was received, within five (5) days of the Level Two response deadline.

After receiving notice of the appeal, the Level Two supervisor shall forward a record of the Level Two complaint to the Level Three executive. The student may request a copy of the Level Two record.

The Level Three executive shall schedule an appeals conference within five (5) days after the appeal notice is filed. The conference shall be limited to the issues and documents presented at Level Two. At the conference, the student may provide information concerning any documents or information relied on by the supervisor for the Level Two decision. The Level Three executive may set reasonable time limits for the conference.

The Level Three executive shall provide the student a written response within five (5) days following the conference. The written response shall set forth the basis of the decision. In reaching a decision, the executive may consider the Level One and Level Two record, information provided at the Level Three conference, and any other relevant documents or information the Level Three executive believes will help resolve the complaint.

The Level Three executive shall develop a record of the Level three process that includes the following documents and files, and submit the entire record to the Dean of Student Affairs:

• The complete Level One record;

• The complete Level Two record;

• All other documents submitted by the student;

• The written response issued by the executive and any attachments;

• All other documents relied upon by executive in reaching the initial decision; and

• Any audio or video recordings of conferences.

3.04 Level Four – College President

Within five (5) days of receiving notice of the Level Three response, any party to the complaint may petition in writing the College President to review the decision. The petition shall state with particularity why the decision is believed to be incorrect or unfair. The College President shall review the Level Three record, and may — at the College President’s sole discretion — schedule a conference with the involved parties to discuss the appeal.

Within five (5) days of receiving the petition, the College President may act to affirm, modify, remand, or reverse the decision in a written response to all parties. If no action is taken within five (5) days, the Level Three decision shall thereby be affirmed and final.

Adopted: 05/2017