Student Grievance Policy & Procedure
Document Number: 2.004
Title: Student Grievance Policy & Procedure
Effective Date: 12/20/2021
Revised Dated: 12/20/2021
THE GRIEVANCE POLICY
The purpose of this grievance process is to provide an orderly and efficient method by which students may air and resolve their complaints about the conditions and policies at RPCC. The College defines a legitimate grievance as a circumstance that can be substantiated and is regarded by the student as a just cause for complaint. A grievance can be relevant to any incident involving another student, classroom instructor, faculty advisor, internship supervisor, administrator, or faculty member in the College. A grievance may deal with academic issues or other circumstances involving alleged unfair or irresponsible behavior including violations of department or college policies.
Step 1: Informal Processes –
Within Five (5) Working Days of Occurrence The College encourages students to make every effort to resolve their problems and concerns directly and informally with the faculty or other involved parties. Discussions among the parties involved (including the Division Dean when appropriate) constitute the first step in the informal process. In some cases, the students may wish to discuss the problem initially with the Campus Director, and/or the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services.
Step 2: Formal Procedures – Appeal to Grievance Committee
If, after utilizing the procedures outlined in Step 1, the students’ problems are not resolved, they have a right to appeal within 10 working days following the decision rendered by the Division Dean. If a Grievance Committee is not established, the Campus Director and Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services or Designee will appoint an ad hoc panel to conduct a hearing. The ad hoc panel will consist of five members, two of whom are students, along with faculty, and staff. The chair of the ad hoc panel will be appointed by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services or Designee and will conduct the hearing according to the Guidelines for the Conduct of Student Grievance Hearings. After the hearing, the ad hoc panel will meet in a closed session to determine its recommendations. The recommendations of the ad hoc panel or the Grievance Committee will be forwarded to the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services and the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. The ad hoc committee chair will inform the student of the decision by email.
Step 3: Student – Appeal to the Chancellor
If the grievant or the party or parties against whom the grievance is addressed desire to appeal a decision of a Grievance Committee or ad hoc panel, he or she must deliver a written request for such appeal to the Chancellor within three (3) working days of receipt of the Committee’s decision. A request should describe in detail all reasons or bases upon which the grievant or the party contends the decision of the Grievance Committee or ad hoc panel is erroneous. The Chancellor shall have the authority to affirm, remand, modify, or reverse the decision or the findings of the Committee. Within approximately ten (10) working days of receiving the written request, the Chancellor shall send the grievant and the party or parties against whom the grievance has been filed his decision by certified mail, return receipt requested. The decision of the Chancellor is final as to all student appeals, except those in which the grievant is alleging discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, national origin, religion, or disability. In the event the grievant is alleging discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, national origin, religion, or disability, the full Board of Supervisors will serve as the College’s final appellate authority
Step 4: Student – Appeal to the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors
To initiate this final step of the grievance process, a grievant or the party or parties against whom the grievance has been filed who is not satisfied with the determination made by the Chancellor may appeal the ruling to the full Board of Supervisors. To be considered, the appeal must be made in writing within fifteen (15) working days after the date the Chancellor’s determination is mailed to the grievant or the party or parties against whom the grievance has been filed and be addressed via certified mail to:
Executive Assistant to the President Board of Supervisors
265 South Foster Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70806-4104
The Board of Supervisors shall render a written disposition of the grievance appeal within twenty (20) school days from the date of the appeal hearing unless all parties agree to an extension.
GUIDELINES FOR CONDUCTING FORMAL STUDENT GRIEVANCE HEARINGS AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL:
• A copy of the Student Grievance Form filed by the student will be forwarded to the department(s)/school(s) and parties involved by the Campus Director or Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services.
• Within five days of receipt of the student’s grievance form, the department(s)/school(s) will submit any prior responses to the student’s complaint, a list of any witnesses it anticipates involving in the hearing, and copies of any documents to be used at the hearing. Similarly, within 10 class days of filing the grievance form, the student will submit a list of any witnesses and copies of any documents the student anticipates involving in the hearing. Each party will receive a copy of the materials and list of witnesses submitted by the other party.
• If a standing Grievance Committee is not established, an ad hoc panel will be appointed by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services. The panel members will consist of five members, two of which will be students, faculty, and staff. Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services or designee will appoint the chair. The department(s)/school(s) and the student will be notified of the panel members within five working days of receipt of the student’s grievance form. Either party has five class days to request that panel member(s) be disqualified for bias. The Campus Director and/or Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services will consider such requests and make a final decision regarding membership of the panel.
• The Campus Director and/or the Division Dean will forward all materials to the hearing panel and will schedule an evidentiary hearing within 10 working days of receipt of all written information. All parties involved will be notified as to date, time, and location of the hearing.
• The Committee chair will serve as the Grievance Officer and conduct the hearing utilizing the following format: 1. The petitioner and the respondent will each provide a brief opening statement. 2. Each party will make a presentation of position and evidence, beginning with the petitioner. Witnesses may be called at this time. Questioning will be restricted to members of the hearing panel and the Grievance Officer. Questions by the involved parties to the witnesses will be addressed through the hearing officer. 3. Each party will have the opportunity for rebuttal during which additional evidence may be introduced to refute points made by the other party. 4. Each party will make a brief summary statement.
• Attendance at evidentiary hearings is limited to the hearing officer, panel members, the petitioner, the respondent, and their respective witnesses. Witnesses may be present only during their own testimony.
• After the hearing the panel will meet in closed session to determine recommendations that will be forwarded to the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services and Division Dean. The written recommendations will include a finding of facts regarding the incident and application of College procedure. The Campus Director, Division Dean, or designee will inform all parties of a decision within five (5) class days after the hearing.
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