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Student Affairs’ Grievance Procedure

Columbus Technical College Counseling and Assessment Services will receive and respond to complaints categorized as Student Affairs’ complaints. Student Affairs’ complaints pertain to admissions, counseling and assessment, financial aid, disability services, and registration. Students having complaints in those areas should follow these procedures:

  1. Secure a grievance form from either a counselor or instructor.
  2. Complete a grievance statement.
  3. Submit the grievance form to the Counseling and Assessment Administrative Assistant.
  4. In response to the complaint, a counselor will
    1. schedule an informal conference with the student filing the complaint;
    2. investigate the area of grievance;
    3. provide the student with an opportunity to acknowledge the results of the inquiry/investigation.

In instances where the results of the inquiry/investigation are not acceptable, students may make an appeal as referenced in the "Students’ Rights and Responsibilities" section of this catalog and student handbook.

Students having complaints in areas other than those listed above (i.e., academic affairs, etc.) should follow these procedures:

  1. Secure a grievance form from an instructor or appropriate Academic Dean.
  2. Complete a grievance statement.
  3. Submit the grievance form to the instructor or appropriate Academic Dean.
  4. In response to the complaint, the instructor/Academic Dean will
    1. schedule an informal conference with the student filing the complaint;
    2. investigate the area of grievance;
    3. provide the student with an opportunity to acknowledge the results of the inquiry/investigation.

In instances where the results of the inquiry/investigation are not acceptable, students may make an appeal to the Vice President of Academic Affairs as referenced in the "Students’ Rights and Responsibilities" section of this catalog and student handbook.

Procedure: Student Grievances

I. Policy:

It is the policy of the Technical College System of Georgia to maintain a grievance process available to all students that provides an open and meaningful forum for their complaints, the resolution of these complaints, and is subject to clear guidelines. This procedure does not address complaints related to the unlawful harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation for reporting harassment/discrimination against students. Those complaints are handled by the Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students Procedure.

II. Applicability:

All technical colleges associated with the Technical College System of Georgia.

III. Related Authority:

Procedure: Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students

IV. Definitions:

  1. Grievable issues: Issues arising from the application of a policy/procedure to the student’s specific case is always grievable. Specifically grievable are issues related to student advisement, improper disclosure of grades, unfair testing procedures and poor treatment of students; this is a representative list and is not meant to be exhaustive.
  2. Non-grievable issues: Issues which have a separate process for resolution (i.e. disciplinary sanctions, FERPA, financial aid, academic grades, etc.) are not grievable and a student must take advantage of the process in place.
  3. Business days: Weekdays that the college administrative offices are open.
  4. Vice President of Student Services (VPSS): The staff member in charge of the student services division at the college.
  5. Retaliation: Unfavorable action taken, condition created, or other action taken by a student/employee for the purpose of intimidation directed toward a student because the student initiated a grievance or participated in an investigation of a grievance.
  6. Grievant: the student who is making the complaint.

V. Attachments:

None

VI. Procedure:

  1. Informal Complaint Procedure: Student complaints should be resolved on an informal basis without the filing of a formal grievance.
    1. A student has 10 business days from the date of the incident being grieved to resolve their complaint informally by approaching their instructor, department chair or any other staff or faculty member directly involved in the grieved incident.
    2. Where this process does not result in a resolution of the grievance, the student may proceed to the formal grievance procedure.
  2. Formal Complaint Procedure: where a student cannot resolve their complaint informally, they may use the formal grievance procedure.
    1. Within 15 business days of the incident being grieved, the student must file a formal grievance in the office of the Vice President of Student Services (VPSS) with the following information:
      • Name,
      • Date,
      • Brief description of incident being grieved,
      • Remedy requested
      • Signed, and
      • Informal remedy attempted by student and outcome
    2. If the grievance is against the VPSS, the student shall file the grievance in the Office of the President.
    3. The VPSS, or his designee, will investigate the matter and supply a written response to the student within 15 business days.
    4. If the grieved incident involves possible unlawful harassment, discrimination or retaliation for reporting unlawful harassment/discrimination, the investigation will be handled pursuant to the Procedure: Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students.
    5. If the grieved incident is closely related to an incident being processed through the disciplinary procedure, the disciplinary procedure will take precedence and the grievance will not be processed until after the disciplinary procedure has run its course.
    6. The VPSS, or his designee, shall be granted an additional 15 business days to investigate the grievance upon notice to the grieving student.
  3. Appeal of Staff Response: If a student is unsatisfied with the response from the VPSS, the student may appeal the decision to the President of the college. The college staff has no right to appeal.
    1. A student shall file a written appeal to the President within 5 business days of receiving the response referenced in VI.B.3.
    2. The appeal will be decided based entirely on documents provided by the student and the administration, therefore the student must ensure that he has provided all relevant documents with his appeal.
    3. At the President of the college’s sole discretion, grievance appeals at their institution may be held in one of the following two ways:
      • The President may review the information provided by the student and administration and make the final decision; or
      • The President may appoint a cross-functional committee comprised of 5 members, including one chair, to make the final decision.
      • The decision of either the President or the cross-functional committee shall be made within 10 business days of receipt by the President of the appeal.
    4. Whichever process is chosen by the President, the decision of the grievance appeal is final.
    5. Retaliation against a student for filing a grievance is strictly prohibited.

VII. Record Retention:

Documents relating to formal grievances including investigations, dispositions and the grievance itself shall be held for 5 years after the graduation of the student or the date of the student’s last attendance.

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