SUBCATEGORY FOUR: COMPLAINT PROCESSES
Collecting complaint information from students
The College provides numerous avenues for student complaints, which can be found via the Student Complaints website, the consumer information page on the College’s website, or by using the website’s search function. Board policies specify processes by which complaint information from students is collected. The policies and accompanying procedures establish responsibilities for collection, review, and communication of complaint information based on the nature of the complaint. The Ethics Report Line Procedures and flowchart describe how complaints will be routed.
In addition to providing channels for filing complaints directly to designated College personnel, the College uses an online software system that allows students to make confidential or anonymous complaints. The software is separated into three modules based on the type of complaint: 1) the Student Complaint portal for student issues and academic complaints, 2) the Ethics Report Line for complaints against employees and ethical/fraud complaints, and 3) the KOPS Watch module for reports related to safety and security issues. Students are directed to use the appropriate module for each type of complaint, but any type of complaint can be received in any of the three modules and internally transferred to the appropriate module, if necessary.
The College’s Student Complaints Policy was adopted in 1993 and most recently revised in 2015. Student complaints regarding academic matters are filed with or directed to the division dean and non-academic matters are filed with or directed to the Office of the Dean of Student Services or the Student Complaint portal. Upon receipt of the complaint, the respective party will review the matter and collaborate with appropriate parties and personnel to resolve the complaint in accordance with the applicable policy and/or procedure noted below:
Collecting complaint information from other key stakeholders
Other key stakeholders are directed to submit complaints via the College’s Ethics Report Line, the KOPS Watch module, or through designated College personnel in accordance with any of the options outlined above for students. As with student complaints, complaints from other key stakeholders can be internally routed as if they are initially submitted using the incorrect channel based on the type of complaint. The Ethics Report Procedures and the applicable policies and procedures describe how these matters will be handled.
Learning from complaint information and determining actions
Information learned from complaints is utilized by the College in reviewing individual matters, determining appropriate action and improving processes. Information learned through complaint resolution is often referenced during operational meetings and policy and operating procedure reviews and updates. Title IX Coordinators make monthly reviews of pending complaints and the outcome of prior complaints. They discuss any trends or areas of concern, using such information to modify existing processes, forms, and/or to identify training necessary to ensure improvements in the identified areas.
As an example of specific action taken, the College tracked an increase in student complaints related to tuition refund appeal requests. As a result, the College changed its approach for who reviews the appeal to a standing tuition refund appeal committee and also broadened the eligibility requirements for tuition refunds, resulting in a decrease of tuition refund appeal complaints.
Complaints tracked through the Ethics Report Line and KOPS Watch are categorized and reported on a quarterly basis to the Audit Committee for discussion.
Communicating actions to students and other key stakeholders
As part of the complaint procedure, complainants have the option to provide contact information or to remain anonymous. In cases when the complainant chooses to remain anonymous, the complaint software system provides the complainant with a mechanism to log into the case file to receive updates and/or to provide follow-up information anonymously. For those who provide contact information as part of the initial complaint process, appropriate information regarding the status and outcome of the complaint resolution is communicated to them, either through the complaint software or through direct communications from College personnel. While the College may be limited in the level of detail it can provide to complainants, the College provides, at minimum, a statement thanking the complainant for bringing the issue to light and notifying them that there has been a resolution.
The College also complies with any legal or policy/procedure requirements with respect to notifying the complainant and respondent of the outcome of the process.
Selecting tools/methods/instruments to evaluate complaint resolution
The Student Complaint portal, Ethics Report Line and KOPS Watch are the current tools utilized to file and track complaints. From 2009 until Spring 2016, matters filed in the Student Complaint portal were collected on a complaint form obtained through the Office of the Dean of Students. During the Spring 2016 semester, the Student Complaint portal was added to the College's existing online complain software as a new module, so that student complaints could be managed similar to the Ethics Report Line and KOPS Watch complaints. The paper complaint form can still be submitted through the Office of the Dean of Students if the complainant wishes to do so, but the case will be transferred from the paper form to the appropriate online complaint module in accordance with established procedures.