It is the goal of Mountain Gateway Community College to provide an environment for the growth and development of all students where disagreements can be discussed and resolved in a manner befitting an educational institution. Therefore, this policy is presented in three sections. Section I deals with resolving disagreements and complaints. Special policies for grade appeals are included at the end of Section I. Section II involves filing a grievance (which can only be done after a student has completed the process for resolving disagreements and complaints) Section II discusses General Provisions related to formal complaints and grievances.
NOTE: MGCC students may file a written complaint with any college employee. Upon receiving a written complaint, the receiving employee will forward the complaint to the appropriate administrator for response and disposition. Information on the complaint shall be considered confidential and shall be shared only on a “need to know” basis. If the student does not consider the response and disposition concerning the complaint to be adequate, he or she may appeal to the appropriate Vice President and then to the President, whose decision is final.
Section I. Procedures for Resolving Complaints
A. Step One.
If you wish to file a complaint about the actions of a person, with a policy, or with a procedure of the College, you must first discuss your concern with the person with whom you have a complaint. If your complaint involves harassment by another individual, you should file your complaint directly with the Director of Student Services. Since disagreements should be raised and settled promptly, a complaint shall be filed with the person with whom you have a complaint within 20 calendar days either of the event giving rise to the complaint or within 20 calendar days of the time when you reasonably should have gained knowledge of its occurrence. For the time limit for making a complaint about a grade, see below.
B. Step Two
If, after discussing your complaint with the person with whom you have a complaint, you are not satisfied with the disposition of the complaint, you may appeal to the person’s supervisor with a formal complaint. You must make a written statement clearly describing the nature of the complaint. Submit this statement to the Director of Student Services. If the complaint is against the Director of Student Services, submit the form to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. You must do this within 10 calendar days after talking with the person with whom you have a complaint. The following individuals will hear your complaint:
- Academic matters (e.g., grades, course requirements, etc.) will be heard by the Vice President for Instruction. The Vice President for Workforce Solutions and Community Education will hear complaints regarding non-credit courses.
- Complaints regarding admissions matters, such as enrollment and transfer of credits, financial aid matters, and other student services will be heard by the Director of Student Services.
- Complaints in other areas should be submitted to the Director of Student Services, who will forward the complaint to the appropriate person.
It is the responsibility of the appropriate administrator to hear your complaint within 10 calendar days of your appeal. The administrator must notify you, in writing, of the disposition of your appeal within 10 calendar days of hearing your appeal.
Grade Appeal Policy and Procedure
The faculty of Mountain Gateway Community College is unequivocally committed to the principle that evaluation of student work and assignment of grades is a responsibility and a prerogative to be exercised solely by the faculty. Therefore, at no point may an administrator change a grade assigned by an instructor. When a student believes that a final grade has been determined incorrectly, the student must file a written report with the instructor, (with a copy to the Vice President of Academic Affairs) identifying specifically the reason(s) for the appeal and including any supporting documentation. Grounds for the appeal are limited to the following:
- A computational error in the grade.
- Grade computation in a manner other than that listed in the course of study or as amended with advance notice.
- Computation of grade in a manner other than that used for other students in the class.
This written report must be filed with the instructor as soon as possible and no later than 10 calendar days after the first day of class of the next subsequent term. If the matter is not mutually resolved at this level, the student may appeal to the Program Head (where appropriate) and finally to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
At each level of appeal, each response to the appeal and subsequent appeal must be made in writing within 10 calendar days. No new matter may be appealed at any higher level which was not identified by the student in the original written appeal to the instructor. If appropriate, at the sole discretion of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Vice President may appoint a faculty committee to review the case. If the Vice President does not appoint a committee, the grade assigned by the faculty member will remain unchanged. The decision of the Vice President as to whether or not to appoint a committee cannot be appealed by either party. Should a committee be appointed by the Vice President it will consist of three (3) instructional faculty from a variety of disciplines.
Students dually enrolled through MGCC shall follow their local school district grade appeal policies unless the course is taught by a MGCC faculty member. In this case, the procedures described in this policy will apply.
The student should be aware that the committee review process may result in the grade being raised, lowered, or unchanged. The committee will meet and report its findings within 15 calendar days from its appointment by the Vice President. The decision of the committee is final and binding and will be reported to the Vice President of Academic Affairs with copies to the Director of Student Services and the MGCC Registrar, who will record the grade. A copy of the finding of the committee will be placed in the student’s file in the Registrar’s Office.
Section II. Procedures for Filing a Grievance
In rare instances, a situation may arise in which you are not satisfied with the response that you have received to your complaint. In such an instance, after you have completed the complaint procedure, you have the right to file a grievance. The following are the procedures for filing a grievance.
- Compose a written statement clearly describing the nature of the grievance. Submit this statement to the Director of Student Services. If the grievance is against the Director of Student Services, submit the form to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
- Grievable Action - a complaint of unfair treatment may be determined to be grievable if you are able to demonstrate reasonable evidence that a College policy or procedure was applied to you unfairly, in a different manner than application to others, and that you have experienced some damages or injury as a result. Determination of grievability will be made, in order, by the Director of Student Services or, if you are not satisfied, by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or, if you are still not satisfied, by the President.
- If it is determined that you have a grievable complaint, your grievance will be heard by a Grievance Panel. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will, within 10 calendar days of the determination of grievability, appoint a Grievance Panel with the following membership:
- One academic administrator, who will serve as a chair of the panel. This may be an administrator who works in an academic division or in an academic support area.
- One teaching faculty member.
- One member of the Student Senate, to be selected by the President of the Student Senate.
Within 10 calendar days after the Grievance Panel has been designated by the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the chair of the Grievance Panel shall set a time and place for the hearing and notify you in writing. The hearing shall be held within 14 calendar days after the Grievance Panel has been designated. The Grievance Panel shall make its decision by simple majority vote and will notify the Vice President of Academic Affairs of its decision within 10 calendar days after the hearing is completed. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will notify you, in writing, of the decision of the Grievance Panel within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the Panel’s recommendation.
The decision of the Grievance Panel may be appealed, in writing, by you to the Vice President of Academic Affairs within 10 calendar days of the postmark of the panel’s decision that is sent to you by the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Either party in the grievance procedure has the right to appeal. If you appeal the decision of the Grievance Panel to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, a decision will be made within 10 calendar days of the postmark of the appeal. The decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs may be appealed, in writing, by you to the President within 10 calendar days of the postmark of the decision.
- If you appeal the decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs to the President, the President’s decision will be made within 10 calendar days of the postmark of the appeal and this decision will be final.
Section III. General Provisions
- In no case may an individual involved in an earlier level of the grievance serve on the Grievance Panel.
- When filing a grievance, you may have an advisor present at the hearing; however, you must so inform the chair of the Grievance Panel five calendar days prior to the hearing. You may receive advice, but this person may not speak for you. In like manner, the person with whom you have a grievance may have an advisor present at the hearing.
- If the person with whom you have a grievance chooses not to attend the hearing, the person’s written statements shall be reviewed in her/his absence.
- All parties shall have the opportunity to present to the panel any written and/or oral information relevant to the grievance. The panel may also request information from other sources. Signed written statements may, when necessary, be submitted by individuals and witnesses who are unable to attend.
- The Grievance Panel will have the responsibility of interpreting the grievance in light of College policies and procedures. The panel will determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support the grievance. The Grievance Panel cannot formulate or change College policies or procedures nor commit state resources.
- The Grievance Panel shall make its decision by simple majority vote. All members must be present. The chair of the panel is a voting member. All decisions of the panel must be supported by the weight of the evidence. The panel’s decision will be communicated in the form of a recommendation to the Vice President for Instruction.
- Copies of the Grievance Panel’s recommendation, if approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs will be forwarded to the complainant and the other administrative offices that have been involved in the grievance.
- Any new information pertaining to the grievance may be presented by you through the grievance process, but where an official of the College was the subject of the grievance, the person shall have the right to receive copies of all information that you present.
- The Vice President of Academic Affairs shall have the authority to accept and implement or modify the recommendation of the panel. If a grievance alleges arbitrary and capricious grading and the panel finds in favor of the grievant, the Vice President of Academic Affairs may exercise her/his authority to alter the grade.
- An audio recording of the meeting with the Grievance Panel will be made by the College. You shall be entitled to a copy of the tape of the meeting at your expense.
- All hearings are closed to the public.
- Calendar day periods for responses will not include official College holidays or when the College is closed for inclement weather or other emergencies.
- During the procedure, if there are additional grievances directly related to the original grievance, they will be noted but usually will not be acted upon until the original disagreement has been resolved.
- Revision of deadlines should be mutually agreed upon at the appropriate level; however, the Vice President of Academic Affairs reserves the right to extend deadlines because of mitigating circumstances. Agreements must be made in writing. If the person against whom the grievance is filed does not respond within the deadline, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will ensure that a response is issued. If the grievant does not respond within the deadline, the grievance is ended. In the case of injury, illness or other mitigating circumstance on either part, a deadline revision will be considered appropriate.