Student Complaints - Academic and Non-Academic Grievances
If a student has an academic or non-academic grievance, i.e., other than one related to the College’s policy prohibiting academic dishonesty and the Student Code of Conduct, the student should attempt to resolve their concern with the member of the college community having direct responsibility for their concern. The student should discuss his/her concern with the student, faculty member, or College employee(s) involved and try to reach a mutually agreeable solution as soon as possible after the event takes place or when it is reasonably discovered but no later than the first ten class days of the academic term immediately following the term in which the alleged event occurred.
If the student’s concern relates to a course of study, course, grade, faculty member or College employee(s), the faculty member or College employee(s) should meet with the student to discuss the concern within ten class days. In the event a faculty member or College employee(s) is unable or declines to meet with the student, the student may meet with the appropriate department head.
Every reasonable attempt should be made to resolve informally any dispute between students and the college at the level at which the dispute arises. Recognizing that such matters cannot always be resolved informally, ECC provides a formal process through which students can appeal the application of certain college rules and regulations and the assignment of a grade. In all cases, it is the intent of the College to assure the fair and equitable treatment of all students in the college community.
If the student is not satisfied with the response provided by the student, faculty member, or College employee(s) involved, the student may submit a complaint, in writing, to the appropriate Dean. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Dean reviews the facts of the complaint and may conduct further inquiry.
The Dean will notify the student of his/her decision in writing within ten class days after receipt of the student’s complaint. If the Dean does not render a decision satisfactory to the student, the student may initiate a Formal Appeal by submitting a written appeal within ten class days of the Dean’s decision to the Vice President of Instruction if it relates to an academic grievance or the Vice President of Student Services if it relates to a non-academic grievance.
Formal Appeal Procedure for Student Academic Dishonesty, Student Code of Conduct, and Student Complaints
- The appropriate Vice President submits the Student’s appeal to the Campus Appeals Committee Chair, within ten class days of his/her receipt, for consideration. If the Vice President receiving the Appeal is implicated in it, that Vice President will forward it to the other Vice President for submission to the Campus Appeals Committee and final decision.
- The Campus Appeals Committee Chair schedules the hearing within ten class days from the date of his/her receipt of the Student’s appeal from the Vice President. The hearing will be held not more than fifteen class days nor less than five class days after the Accused Student or Complainant has been notified of the hearing date unless the Chair extends the date for the hearing for good cause. If the appeal involves more than one Accused Student, the Chair may permit the hearing to be conducted jointly or separately in his/her sole discretion.
- The Campus Appeals Committee Chair notifies the Accused Student or Complainant of the date, time, and place of the hearing. In addition, the Chair notifies the Accused Student or Complainant that he/she may submit any statements or documents that he/she wishes for the Chair to distribute to the members of the Campus Appeals Committee prior to the hearing, to arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information at the hearing, and may be accompanied at the hearing by an advisor. The Accused Student and/or Complainant may be assisted by any advisor they choose, at their own expense. The advisor must be a Student or College employee and may not be an attorney. The Accused Student and/or Complainant must notify the Campus Appeals Committee Chair of the name and contact information of any witnesses and advisor not less than two class days before the scheduled hearing.
- The Campus Appeals Committee Chair may notify the Complainant, Dean, and other witnesses identified by the Accused Student, Complainant, or Committee of the date, time and place of the hearing and ask them to appear and/or provide relevant documents to be distributed to the Accused Student and/or Complainant and members of the Campus Appeals Committee prior to the hearing. The Committee will accommodate concerns for personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the Accused Student and/or Complainant or witnesses by using a visual screen, electronic communication, and/or written statement as determined appropriate in the sole discretion of the Chair.
- The Campus Appeals Committee convenes the hearing.
- The hearing is conducted by the Committee in private and in an informal and expeditious manner.
- Only members of the Campus Appeals Committee, Accused Student and/or Complainant and their advisors, if any, and witnesses testifying before the Committee are permitted to attend the hearing. Admission of any other person to the hearing will be at the sole discretion of the Committee Chair. Only the Accused Student and/or Complainant and their advisors are permitted to attend the entire portion of the hearing (excluding the Committee’s deliberations). If the Accused Student and/or Complainant does not appear at the hearing, the hearing will proceed, evidence considered, and decision made by the Committee.
- At the hearing, the Accused Student and/or Complainant and witnesses may testify. The Accused Student and/or Complainant’s advisor is not permitted to speak or participate directly in the hearing. The Accused Student and/or Complainant and witnesses may be questioned only by members of the Campus Appeals Committee. The Accused Student and/or Complainant may suggest questions to be asked of witnesses to the Committee Chair and he/she will decide whether the questions are appropriate to be asked of the witness.
- The Dean will present the information he or she received during the investigation.
- The Committee Chair is empowered to rule on procedural matters and the relevance of witnesses and/or evidence.
- After the portion of the hearing concludes in which all pertinent information has been received and the Accused Student and/or Complainant and advisors have been dismissed, the Campus Appeals Committee will determine (by majority vote) whether the Accused Student committed academic dishonesty or violated the Student Code of Conduct or its decision regarding the Student complaint.
- A tape recording or other record of the hearing (excluding deliberations) is made and preserved for reference and review until the appeal is decided by the appropriate Vice President.
- The Campus Appeals Committee Chair communicates the Committee’s decision, in writing, to the appropriate Vice President. The Vice President reviews the decision of the Committee and sanction(s) and may accept, repeal, or amend the decision and/or sanction according to his/her best judgment. The Vice President will render a decision and notify the Accused Student or Complainant within ten class days of his or her receipt of the written decision by the Campus Appeals Committee. The decision of the Vice President is final and cannot be appealed.
Composition of the Campus Appeals Committee
- A chairperson appointed by the college President
- Two full-time faculty members nominated by the Vice President of Instruction
- Two Student Services staff members nominated by the Vice President of Student Services
- One student nominated by the campus Student Government Association
- One Dean/Administrator nominated by the college President
The college President has the authority to accept or reject the nominated members and alternates to the Campus Appeals Committee. The Campus Appeals Committee serves for a period of one academic year. Two alternative faculty and Student Services staff members and one alternative student and Dean/Administrator will be nominated to serve on the committee in times when conflicts of interest are present.
At least one representative from each group (student, faculty, staff/administrator) must be present at the hearing.