Scope and Purpose
The purpose of this procedure is to provide currently enrolled Huntingdon College students with an opportunity to resolve complaints alleging inappropriate application to a student of any rules or policies of the Huntingdon College campus, except as related to academic grade appeals and Title IX disciplinary incidents.
Student Grievance Committee
The Student Grievance Committee consists of a Chair, two faculty members appointed by the Chief Academic Officer (Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Dr. Tom Perrin), and two students appointed by the Student Government Association President.
Informal mediation is an option for the complainant to pursue before deciding whether or not to file a formal complaint under the Student Grievance Policy.
The Senior Vice President for Planning and Administration serves as the Student Grievance Complaint Resolution Officer.
In the event that informal mediation is desired, the complainant must contact the Student Grievance Complaint Resolution Officer to act as mediator between both parties. In the event that the Student Grievance Committee Complaint Resolution Officer is the focus of the student complaint, then the complainant may contact the Chief Academic Officer who will appoint an alternate Complaint Resolution Officer.
Attempts to resolve complaints through the Informal Mediation process should be completed within thirty (30) business days from the time at which the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action being grieved.
Formal Student Grievance Process
If a student is not satisfied with the outcome of the Informal Mediation process, the student may file a formal student grievance within twenty (20) business days from the time of the completion of the informal grievance process. Student Grievances must be in writing and signed by the student. Grievances must contain the student’s address and phone number to the extent available, a detailed statement of the specific action being grieved, the approximate date when the action took place, the resulting injury or harm, the specific law, policy, or rule alleged to have been violated (if known), a description of the evidence supporting the grievance, whether Informal Mediation was available and completed, and the remedy or relief requested. It is the responsibility of the complainant to update the Complaint Resolution Officer (CRO) as to the appropriate address to use throughout the grievance process.
The student complainant may be assisted by a parent or legal guardian during the grievance process. If the student is to be assisted by an adviser, the student must submit the name of the designated adviser, and indicate whether the adviser is a parent or legal guardian. The student also must submit a signed statement authorizing the adviser to receive copies of relevant student records and correspondence regarding the grievance and to accompany the student to any meetings.
Upon receipt of a formal student grievance, the Complaint Resolution Officer shall review the grievance and make an initial determination regarding whether the grievance is complete, timely, within the jurisdiction of the Student Grievance Procedure, and alleges facts which, if true, would constitute a violation of law or College policy. The CRO shall complete initial review of the grievance and notify the complainant of the determination in writing within twenty (20) business days of the receipt of the complaint.
If the CRO determines that the grievance is incomplete, the student will have ten (10) business days from the date of the written notice to make the grievance complete. If the student fails to make the grievance complete, the grievance will be dismissed. If the CRO determines that the grievance is untimely, outside the jurisdiction, or factually insufficient, the grievance will be dismissed. If the grievance raises multiple issues, the CRO will make a determination described above with regard to each issue. The CRO may investigate some issues and dismiss others pursuant to this review process.
If a complaint is dismissed, the CRO will provide the student with a written explanation of the basis for the dismissal. The student will have ten (10) business days from the date of the written notice of dismissal to request an appeal of the dismissal from the Chief Academic Officer. The request for appeal must be a signed, written document articulating why the decision by the CRO to dismiss the case was in error. The Chief Academic Officer will respond in writing within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the appeal. If the decision to dismiss is upheld, that decision is final. If the decision to dismiss is overturned on appeal, the case shall be sent back to the CRO for investigation in accordance with the procedures outlined below.
If the CRO determines that a complaint is complete, timely, and has potential merit, copies of the complaint, along with any relevant documentation, will be provided to the members of the Student Grievance Committee, and will arrange for the date and time for a hearing. Hearings will be scheduled no later than twenty (20) business days following the submission of the complaint. The refusal of any party to attend the scheduled hearing date shall not result in a delay of the hearing.
The Student Grievance Committee shall interview all parties together so that there is an opportunity to discuss all allegations. The hearing will be recorded. The Student Grievance Committee shall decide, call for, and study what further evidence or witnesses may be necessary before reaching a final determination. All parties shall have an opportunity to hear all witnesses and review all further evidence received and considered by the Committee.
Subsequent to the hearing process, the Student Grievance Committee shall retire to an executive session (unrecorded) to reach its determination as to the responsibility of the person, persons, or entity against whom the complaint is lodged. For a finding of defendant(s) responsibility, four of the six voting members of the Student Grievance must agree.
The Grievance Committee will present its findings in writing within ten (10) business days of the conclusion of the hearing process to each of the parties involved, and to the CRO, along with a recommended remedy, sanction, or range of remedies and/or sanctions. The CRO will evaluate the suggested remedy(s) and/or sanction(s), and inform the complainant, and the accused (if applicable) in writing.
Decisions, remedies and/or sanctions may be appealed by the complainant or the accused to the Chief Academic Officer within ten (10) business days of written notification of final grievance procedure outcome from the CRO. The request for appeal must be a signed, written document articulating why the decision of the Committee was in error, or why the remedies and/or sanctions levied were not appropriate. The Chief Academic Officer will respond in writing within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the written appeal. All decisions of the Chief Academic Officer are final.