Student Concerns and Complaints (Procedure 3.0800)

Based on board policy number and Florida Statutes: F.S. 1006.51
Effective Date: 04/2010; 06/2015
Date of Review: 04/2015

Purpose

The purpose of this procedure is to outline the steps to be followed to address student concerns or complaints that a policy or procedure of the College has been incorrectly or unfairly applied in their particular case, or to bring a complaint or grievance against an employee’s behavior. The following steps have been established to address complaints not already covered by the following procedures:

  1. Student academic, instructional and faculty concerns and grade appeals are to be resolved according to Procedure 4.0300 Student Academic Concerns and Grade Appeals.
  2. Discrimination complaints are to be addressed according to Procedure 2.1800 Discrimination Complaint.
  3. Students may submit a request for tuition refunds according to Procedure 5.0450 Student Tuition and Fee Refunds overseen by the Registrar’s Office.
  4. Student conduct concerns are to be addressed according to Procedure 3.0900 Student Code of Conduct.
  5. Student disability accommodation and course substitution appeals are to be resolved according to Procedure 3.0600 Accommodation of Disabled Students.

Procedure

  1. Student Ombudsman 
    The Student Ombudsman helps students understand College policies and procedures and is a resource to help resolve concerns and appeals regarding issues such as student's access to courses, credit granted toward the degree, and other matters. The Student Ombudsman is a neutral person who does not make binding decisions. Information regarding the purpose, role, and contact information for the Student Ombudsman can be found at http://www.seminolestate.edu/student-complaints/
  2. Informal Conference
    Most student concerns or complaints can be resolved through direct communication between the student and employee involved. The student shall request an informal conference with the employee involved. Conference and subsequent contact may be held through alternative means such as telephone, e-mail or web-cam, particularly for distance learning students. This conference is an informal meeting at which the student may present information regarding his/her concern. Every effort should be made to resolve the issue at this level.
  3. Written Appeal
    If the issue has not been resolved within 10 College working days of the request for the initial conference, either because the student and employee have been unable to resolve the issue informally, or the employee is unavailable, the student may submit a Written Statement of Student Concern or Complaint to the immediate supervisor of the person against whom a complaint is made. The ombudsman can help identify the appropriate supervisor to contact. To accommodate the distance learning student, the Written Statement of Student Concern or Complaint may be submitted electronically.
    1. The Written Statement of Student Concern or Complaint must document the informal conference or attempts to schedule an informal conference. It should describe the complaint in the clearest possible terms, provide relevant facts upon which the allegation is based and must be signed by the student.
    2. The immediate supervisor(s) shall review the Written Statement of Student Concern or Complaint and may meet with the student or employee individually or together to resolve the issue(s) raised in the written statement. The immediate supervisor(s) will send the student and the employee, against whom the complaint was brought, a written decision about the situation within 5 College working days.
  4. Review by Next-level Supervisor:
    If either party wants further appeal beyond the employee’s immediate supervisor, the aggrieved party may request a hearing with the appropriate next-level supervisor within 5 College working days of the decision of the immediate supervisor. At such time, the Written Statement of Concern or Complaint shall be updated with an account of previous actions taken and sent to the next-level supervisor. Upon receipt of the Written Statement of Concern or Complaint, the next level supervisor will work with the involved parties in an attempt to resolve the conflict within 5 College working days of receipt of the written statement. The next level Supervisor will send a written decision to both parties within 5 College working days of having received the Written Statement.
  5. Review by the Vice President:
    If either party wants further appeal beyond the next-level supervisor, the party may request a hearing with the particular Vice President responsible for the program or employee at issue. The request for a hearing with the Vice President must be made within 10 College working days from when the next level supervisor sent the written decision. The Vice President will review the previous actions, and meet, as appropriate, with the student, employee’s immediate supervisor and next-level supervisor to resolve the issues. The Vice President will send a written finding to both parties within 10 College working days of having received the Written Statement. The determination of the Vice President shall constitute the final disposition of the student concern or complaint. 

Recommended by Executive Team Date 05/2015
Approved: President, E. Ann McGee Date 06/2015

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