Online Student Complaint Process
Tri-C's entire 2017-2018 Student Handbook, which includes the process outlined below, can be viewed and downloaded here
Procedure on Student Complaints and Grade Disputes
- The College strives to provide every student with a successful and positive educational experience. As part of an effort to continuously improve the College while also resolving legitimate student concerns, the College maintains this student complaints and grade disputes procedure. This procedure does not apply to issues covered by the College policy on affirmative action, equal opportunity, discrimination and harassment (rule 3354:1-42-01 of the administrative code) or that policy’s associated procedures. It also does not apply to issues covered by the Student Conduct Code or student judicial system.
- In this procedure, “days” means weekdays other than College holidays, winter leave days, or days the College is closed due to weather, emergency or other reason.
- The student complaint and grade dispute processes are distinct and separate. A student who wishes to make a complaint and also to dispute a grade must follow both processes described in sections (B) and (C) below.
(B) Student Complaints
- The student complaints process does not apply to grade disputes, which are addressed in section (C) below.
- Any student who is dissatisfied with an aspect of his/her collegiate experience involving a faculty member or other employee may seek resolution of the matter with the College, as follows:
- The student must initiate the matter orally with the faculty member or other employee who is the focus of the complaint within a reasonable time frame.
- That individual will meet with the student, listen to the facts and circumstances surrounding the complaint, and provide a response to the student.
- In the event the student is not satisfied, he or she may appeal by explaining the complaint fully in writing to the associate dean of the faculty member or supervisor of the individual who is the focus of the complaint.
- The campus academic affairs designee will meet jointly or independently with the student and faculty member (or the appropriate supervisor will meet jointly or independently with the student and individual who is the focus of the complaint) within 15 days following receipt of the complaint. The academic affairs associate dean or supervisor will review the facts and circumstances and provide the student with a written response. This decision will be final. The campus academic affairs dean or designee shall send a copy of the decision to the campus president.
- Any student who is dissatisfied about an issue that does not involve a faculty member or other employee, or that involves an employee whose office or normal work location is not at a campus or Corporate College location, may seek resolution of the matter as follows:
- The student must address these non-academic complaints in writing to the dean of student affairs. The dean of student affairs or his/her designee shall receive the complaint and shall communicate the College’s decision regarding the complaint to the student within 15 days of receiving the written complaint.
- The decision communicated in prior paragraph (B)(3)(a) will not be subject to student appeal.
(C) Grade Disputes
- Grade disputes are challenges to recorded grades.
- In most circumstances other than as described in this procedure, responsibility for academic evaluation rests with the faculty member.
- Students are responsible for achieving academic performance standards established for each course in which they are enrolled.
- The grade dispute process is composed of three levels (Levels 1-3).
- If a student fails to take the required steps in the process within the time frames established for each step as stated below, the right to dispute the grade is automatically and permanently waived.
- Level 1 grade disputes: Instructor
- All Level 1 grade disputes must be filed by a student to the campus academic affairs office no later than 60 days after the disputed grade is recorded.
- The student must notify the instructor of the grade dispute and request a discussion. The instructor must schedule the discussion for a mutually agreeable date no later than 10 days after receiving the notice. Notification and discussion can take place in person, by email or by phone. If resolution satisfactory to the student is not achieved or the instructor does not respond to the student within the time frame allotted, the student may proceed to Level 2.
- Level 2 grade disputes: Peer review panel
- If the student wishes to pursue the grade dispute at Level 2, the student shall file a written notice of the grade dispute with the instructor’s academic dean or designee within 10 days of the last meeting with the instructor. If the instructor fails to respond to the student’s request for a discussion, the 10-day period would begin starting with the date on which the original request for a discussion was made. The notice must state the student’s reasons for dissatisfaction with the outcome of Level 1, must provide some evidence to support the grade dispute, and must clearly and completely state any changes the student requests.
- A copy of the written notice shall be provided by the academic dean or designee to the instructor within 10 days after receipt. The academic dean or designee shall request a written response from the instructor. The instructor shall provide a written response within 10 days of receiving the request.
- The academic dean or designee will appoint and convene, within 20 days of receiving the student’s written notice, a peer review panel composed of three tenured faculty members, preferably from the field of the disputed class. In the case where there are no tenured faculty members in the field, tenure track faculty members will be chosen. At least one faculty member will be from another campus. Faculty members who may have had responsibility for the grade in dispute should not be appointed to the peer panel. The panel will select its chairperson, who may remove or replace panel members. All members must be present at each panel meeting, or the meeting must be rescheduled.
- The peer review panel must offer the student and the instructor the opportunity to meet with the panel and deliver oral testimony. The panel may meet with both the student and the instructor present or may meet with them separately. The chairperson of the peer review panel will provide a minimum of seven days’ written notice to the student and instructor of any meeting they are required to attend. The student, instructor or any panel member may request that the chairperson postpone a panel meeting if the requester is unable to attend due to causes beyond the requester’s control.
- The panel shall have sole discretion to approve or deny the request(s) made. It may meet with other parties as deemed necessary by the panel. It may independently investigate and gather evidence as it deems appropriate.
- When possible, the chairperson will report the panel’s decision in writing to the academic dean or designee within 15 days of the panel’s receipt of the charge to review the Level 2 grade dispute. In reporting its decision, the review panel will address each main point that the student has raised, state a rationale for the decision, and provide copies of all documents reviewed and considered to the academic dean or designee.
- The academic dean or designee shall notify the student and instructor in writing of the official decision and the action taken or to be taken in the matter within 10 days of receiving the written report of the peer review panel. The academic dean or designee shall provide copies of the decision and all documents reviewed and considered to the campus president (or his/her designee).
- The panel’s decision will end the matter unless it is appealed to Level 3.
- Level 3 grade disputes: College-wide academic appeals board
- If the student or instructor wishes to appeal the decision to Level 3, he or she must file a written notice of the appeal with the campus president (or his/her designee). This notice must be filed within 10 days of the date the written Level 2 official decision is sent. The notice will explain the reasons for the appellant’s dissatisfaction with the decision. The campus president (or his/her designee) shall provide a copy of the written notice of appeal to the chairperson of the peer review panel and the student or instructor. The chairperson of the peer review panel and/or the instructor may choose to respond in writing to the appeal notice.
- The campus president (or his/her designee) will request that the executive vice president of Access, Learning and Success convene, within 10 days of receipt of notice of appeal, a College-wide academic appeals board. The board will comprise three tenured faculty members, one academic administrator and one student affairs administrator. The appeals board membership will be selected annually by the executive vice president of Access, Learning and Success from faculty members nominated by the Joint Faculty Senate Council (JFSC) who are acceptable to the executive vice president of Access, Learning and Success, and academic and student affairs administrative nominees who are acceptable to the JFSC. The academic administrator will chair the College-wide academic appeals board.
- The academic appeals board will review the Level 2 decision but will not consider any new issues.
- If it does not conclude its review within 30 days of its first meeting on the case, the academic appeals board will issue a status report to all parties involved in the case.
- The academic appeals board will report its decision to the campus president (or his/her designee) and the executive vice president of Access, Learning and Success no later than 60 days after having been convened. The academic appeals board’s decision may deny or affirm the appeal. If the appeal is denied, the decision of the board is final. If the appeal is affirmed, the board will refer the matter for a new peer review panel.
- The campus president (or his/her designee) will notify relevant parties of
the decision of the academic appeals board within 10 days of receiving the decision. Relevant parties are the student, the instructor, the peer review panel, the academic dean or designee, the dean of student affairs and the executive vice president of Access, Learning and Success.