Operating Procedure: Student Complaints - 319.04

Johnson County Community College
Series 300: Students
Section 319: Student Rights and Responsibilities

Board Policy 319.04 - Student Complaints

The following procedures are established in accordance with College Policy 319.04-Student Complaints.

Purpose

It is the intent of the college to provide students with a fair and efficient process to present and resolve complaints relating to matters of academic and non-academic student concern, and to have complaints heard in a fair and impartial manner. This complaint procedure is available to all college students.

It shall be considered a violation of college policy for any student to knowingly file a false or malicious complaint under this procedure.  If the college believes that such a false or malicious complaint has been filed, the matter will be investigated in accordance with Operating Procedure 319.02-Student Disciplinary Action.

Student Complaint Procedure Definitions

An academic complaint is a student complaint that relates to an issue in a course such as classroom procedures and course assignment(s). Any complaint that relates to the outcome of a final grade would refer to policy 314.08 Student Grade Appeal.

A non-academic complaint is a student complaint regarding matters involving student services, student activities, student support services, parking, financial aid, alleged violation of college policies and related student matters.

Student Complaint Procedure Exclusions

The following matters can be addressed through other avenues and are not subject to the Student Complaint Procedure:

Student Grade Appeal (Policy & Operating Procedure 314.08)

Student Appeal of Disciplinary Action (Policy & Operating Procedure 319.02)

Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation (Policy & Operating Procedure 319.05)

Prompt Reporting of an Academic or Non-Academic Complaint

Complaints are best resolved if addressed early. It may be difficult to substantiate the allegations made if brought forward after significant time has passed. The time lines set forth in this procedure are implemented in order to ensure that complaints are reported and reviewed in a timely fashion so that the complaint can be appropriately resolved.

Due dates under this procedure shall be calculated based upon business days. If the due date specified falls on a holiday or other day the college is closed, the next business day will be the due date for the action. While the intent of this procedure is to provide for the prompt reporting and review of a complaint, these deadlines are not meant to penalize.  Therefore, prior to the expiration of the deadline, either party may request a reasonable extension of time for any of the deadlines set forth in this procedure, including the time for making an initial complaint.

If the student fails to submit the complaint in a timely manner at any step as provided by these procedures and no extension is agreed upon prior to the expiration of the deadline, the complaint is considered resolved at the last step reviewed. If the instructor or administrator fails to respond at any step as provided by these procedures and no time extension is agreed upon prior to the expiration of the deadline, the complaint is considered denied and the student can proceed to the next step.

Filing an Academic Complaint

  1. Complaints filed under this procedure shall be made during the course or up until (10) ten business days after the end of the semester in which the complaint relates.
  2. The student will attempt to rectify the complaint with the course instructor in an effort to resolve the complaint.
  3. If the student does not believe that his/her complaint has been appropriately addressed by the instructor, then within ten (10) business days of receipt of the instructor’s response, the student may file a written complaint with the appropriate academic division administrator.  This person may be either a faculty chair or assistant dean, depending on the division’s organizational structure. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the academic division administrator will review the matter and will inform the student in writing of his/her decision on the complaint, and the reason(s) for that decision.  Such written response will be provided to the student within ten (10) business days of receipt of the written complaint.
  4. If the student does not believe that his/her complaint has been appropriately addressed by the academic division administrator, then within ten (10) business days of receipt of the administrator’s response, the student may file a written complaint with the appropriate academic dean. Upon receipt of the complaint, the dean will review the matter and will inform the student in writing of his/her decision on the complaint, and the reason(s) for that decision. Such written response will be provided to the student within ten (10) business days of receipt of the written complaint. The decision of the academic dean will be final.

Written notice required to be given to the student under the Academic Complaint process shall be sent to the student’s JCCC-provided student e-mail account. Written notice required to be given to the instructor, academic division administrator or dean shall be sent to the appropriate JCCC employee e-mail account.

Filing a Non-Academic Complaint

  1. Complaints filed under this procedure shall be made within ten (10) business days of the time the alleged action giving rise to the complaint took place unless good cause is shown for delay.
  2. The student will attempt to rectify the complaint with the appropriate office administrator where the complaint originated in an effort to resolve the complaint at the lowest level. Communication with the office administrator may be verbal or in writing. The office administrator will listen to the complaint and, if it is considered justified, take appropriate action to resolve the complaint.  The office administrator shall provide a written response to the student within ten (10) business days of receipt of the verbal or written complaint.
  3. If the student does not believe that his/her complaint has been appropriately addressed by the office administrator, then within ten (10) business days of receipt of the administrator’s response, the student may file a written complaint with the dean of Student Services. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the dean will review the matter and will inform the student in writing of his/her decision on the complaint, and the reason(s) for that decision. Such written response will be provided to the student within ten (10) business days of receipt of the written complaint.
  4. If the student does not believe that his/her complaint has been appropriately addressed by the dean of Student Services, then within ten (10) business days of receipt of the dean’s response, the student may file a written complaint with the vice president of Student Services & Engagement. Upon receipt of the complaint, the vice president will review the matter and will inform the student in writing of his/her decision on the complaint, and the reason(s) for that decision. Such written response will be provided to the student within ten (10) days of receipt of the written complaint. The decision of the vice president of Student Services & Engagement will be final.

Written notice required to be given to the student under the Non-Academic Complaint process shall be sent to the student’s JCCC-provided student email account.  Written notice required to be given to the office administrator, dean of Student Services, or vice president of Student Services & Engagement shall be sent to the appropriate JCCC employee email account.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is required of all participants in the Student Complaint Procedure to the extent possible. All information revealed and all discussions held shall be as confidential as reasonably possible within legal requirements or organizational responsibilities, and within limits allowing for the review to occur.

The college encourages an environment in which individuals can discuss concerns and make proper authority aware of certain conduct, including illegal discrimination, harassment or retaliation.  In such matters, however, confidentiality of the information received and the privacy of the individuals involved cannot be guaranteed because of legal obligation to report such matters. Confidentiality will be protected as much as possible, and the expressed wishes of the student regarding confidentiality will be considered in the context of the college’s obligation to take action upon the complaint and the right of the accused party to be informed concerning the complaint.

Retaliation

No employee or student shall retaliate or discriminate against a student because of the student’s filing of or participation in the review of a complaint. Retaliation includes taking any action which may have any adverse impact on the student’s academic success or the learning environment of the student if such action is taken because of the student’s filing of or participation in the review of a complaint, whether or not such complaint is determined to be valid. The student is assured that retaliation due to filing of or participation in the review of a complaint under this procedure is strictly prohibited by  college policy and shall lead to discipline up to and including termination or expulsion. Any person believing that retaliation has taken or is taking place should immediately report the matter as provided in Operating Procedure 319.02-Student Disciplinary Action.

Approved:

Signature on File in Policy Office        9/22/2011
Terry A. Calaway 
President