Grievance Process

Southeastern Community College (SCC) has established the following process for resolving student disputes with other students, employees, or visitors, regardless of status (full-time, part-time, temporary, contractual, and work-study students) or role (administrators, faculty, and staff).

The student grievance procedure applies to all student issues, except for the following:

  • Grade appeals are addressed through the Curriculum Grade Appeal Process which is available in the Student Handbook.
  • Grievances involving Title IX (sexual misconduct) should be reported to the Vice President of Student Services.
  • Grievances involving anti-harassment, or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should be reported to the Director of Student Services.
  • Conduct appeals are addressed through Conduct Appeals process which is available in the Student Handbook.

Students who need accommodations at any time during this procedure should contact Disability Services.

The student grievance procedure may be used by individuals who were SCC students at the time the incident occurred. The individual filing the grievance must be the subject of the alleged unfair treatment that is related to their status as a student. A grievance cannot be filed on behalf of another individual.

Grievance Process

Step 1. The student contacts the employee with whom he/she has the concern within ten (10) working days of the incident and expresses concern. This conversation should be an informal attempt on the part of the student to resolve the issue. Both parties should document the facts and possible outcome for their own records. If the student is not satisfied that the concern has been addressed, or if the student has documentation of having attempted to contact the employee without getting a response, the student may move to Step 2.

Throughout the grievance process, the student is responsible for presenting evidence to support the claim. Students are advised to keep written notes and maintain documentation to provide evidence of compliance with each step of the procedure. All allegations arising from a single incident must be presented in one grievance.

Step 2. The student meets with the employee’s supervisor to discuss the grievance within ten (10) working days of the meeting with the employee. Following this additional informal conversation, all parties should document the facts and possible outcome for their own records. If the student communicates to the supervisor that the issue is still not resolved, the supervisor provides the student with information about the formal grievance procedure, which begins with Step 3.

Step 3. The student submits the formal Student Grievance Form within ten (10) working days of the meeting with the supervisor. If the student feels that the conversation with the employee and their supervisor did not resolve the issue, the student should initiate the formal grievance procedure. The student must complete the following tasks:

Complete the Student Grievance Form;

  1. The student completes the grievance form documenting the dates of any meetings and prior discussions held to resolve the grievance.
  2. Within ten (10) working days from the meeting with the supervisor, the student submits the form and any accompanying documentation. The form is routed directly to the director of student services (or, in their absence, their designee).
  3. Within ten (10) working days of receipt of the form, the director of student services (or, in his/her absence, his/her designee) logs the formal grievance and determines whether the student has met the criteria outlined in this procedure. If the criteria have been met, the director of student services creates the official case and assigns it to an appropriate college official and notifies the appropriate vice president. If the criteria have not been met, the grievance is denied and an explanation of the rationale for the denial is communicated in writing to the student. If the issue raised by the student is not a grievance concern, the director of student services may refer the student to other procedures.

Step 4. Within ten (10) working days of receiving a grievance, the college official investigates the case. The college official notifies the employee and supervisor that a grievance has been filed, requests a written response, and monitors the process through the subsequent steps. The college official interviewing all relevant individuals.

Step 5. The employee and supervisor submit a written response to the college official within ten (10) working days of receiving the notification from the college official. The college official adds it to the official case file.

Step 6. The college official creates a report of his/her findings and recommendations and submits it to the director of student services within three (3) working days of the end of the investigation.

Step 7. The director of student services discusses the official grievance case with the student within ten (10) working days of receipt of the written responses and shares the information gathered regarding the case. Both parties should document the conversation and possible outcome for their own records. The director of student services will determine the appropriate resolution within ten (10) working days of the discussion and will communicate the decision to the student, employee, appropriate supervisor, and appropriate vice president. The decision of the director of student services is final, except in the circumstances outlined in the appeals procedure. All records of formal grievances are stored in the college’s secure filing system.

Appeals

A student may appeal the director of student service’s resolution by requesting a hearing by the appeals committee in writing within five (5) working days of notification of the resolution. The vice president of student services will convene the appeals committee.

The only grounds for appeal are the following:

  • A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing.
  • To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and it potential impact must be included;
  • The resolution imposed is substantially disproportionate to the grievance/complaint.

Appeals Committee Membership

The appeals committee is made up of one student from the arts and science division and one student from the technical program divisions appointed by the Student Government Association, one SCC ambassador appointed by the SCC ambassador president, one faculty member appointed by the faculty senate, and one student services staff member appointed by the vice president of student services or his/her designee.  The committee will select one of its members to serve as the chair of the committee.

Procedures for the Appeals Committee

No one can serve on the appeals committee if he/she has any involvement in the grievance. The vice president of student services will schedule a hearing within ten (10) working days of receipt of the hearing request. Following the hearing, the appeals committee will communicate the recommendation to the vice president of student services. The vice president of student services will either accept or deny the committee’s recommendation and inform the student of the finding in writing within ten (10) working days. The decision of the appeals committee and vice president of student services is final. The response will be sent to the student via college email. Copies of the decision will be provided to the college president and all individuals involved in the appeals process.

Exception

All parties will receive written notification of any deviation from specified time frame.

Confidentiality

The college will make every reasonable effort to protect the confidentiality of information received in connection with a student grievance report and its related investigation; information related to a case will be shared on a need-to-know basis only. College administrators will, however, share information, as appropriate and necessary, in order to address and resolve the concerns at issue and prevent the recurrence of similar situations. There may be instances where it is the college’s ethical and legal responsibility to disclose information regarding the circumstances related to a specific grievance, depending on the nature of the allegation. Should this be the case, the student will be notified prior to the information being released.

Advocate

An advocate of the student’s choosing may attend the grievance meetings. The role of the advocate is to support the student. The advocate may only advise the student, not address the responding party or appeals committee members. The advocate may be asked to leave if he/she does not adhere to these conditions. To avoid any conflict of interest, employees of the college cannot serve as an advocate.

Prohibition on Retaliation

Retaliation against any person participating in good faith in connection with a grievance or complaint is strictly prohibited. Violations will be addressed through this process and/or other applicable college disciplinary processes. Any person who feels that they have been subjected to retaliation should make a report to the director of student services.

Prohibition on Providing False Information

SCC places great importance on the integrity of its policies, procedures, and processes. False complaints can cause irreparable harm to the college community, regardless of the outcome of an investigation. Accordingly, any individual who knowingly files a false report or complaint, knowingly provides false information, or intentionally misleads college officials will be subject to disciplinary action.

Approved 06.15.2020

Effective Immediately