Student Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Procedure

Steward
Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs
Category
Student policies
Effective date
October 24, 2013
Last content update
August 26, 2021

Purpose

The purpose of the Student Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Procedure is to provide students with an avenue to express an informal concern, seek remedy for a complaint or file a grievance.

Definitions

Appeal of a grievance decision

A written request for reconsideration of a grievance decision under the Student Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Policy.

Complaint

A written claim made by a student alleging improper, unfair or arbitrary treatment or action taken by a College employee or student.

Business day

Business days do not include Saturday, Sunday, days when the College is closed and official breaks between semesters and summer session(s).

Informal Concern

An informal concern can be submitted by a student who would like to voice an issue without expectation of the College taking formal action or reporting back to the student.

Student

An individual who is enrolled at the College.

Student Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Form

The form a student uses to file a written complaint, grievance or informal concern to the College. The form is available on the College website at www.minnesota.edu/forms, by contacting the Student Services office on any campus or by calling the Support Center at 877.450.3322.

Procedure

Student Complaint Procedure

Students may bring any complaints forward within 15 business days of the first occurrence of the event giving rise to the complaint, or within 15 days after the student, through the use of reasonable diligence, should have had knowledge of the first occurrence giving rise to the complaint. Information submitted and gathered in a student complaint is subject to the Minnesota Data Government Practices Act.

  1. Students are encouraged to use available informal means to resolve concerns before filing a complaint, but it is not required.
  2. If informal intervention does not result in a resolution, or a student decides not to informally address a concern, a complaint can be submitted within 15 business days using the College’s Student Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Form.
  3. After a student has submitted a complaint, a designated College official shall contact the student to discuss the complaint within 10 business days of the complaint submission. The designated College official shall inform the student of a reasonable date they can expect a written response, and the date will be documented on the complaint form. The student may have an appropriate College representative (e.g., counselor or instructor) in attendance for any such discussion.
  4. The designated College official communicates the complaint decision(s) to the student, informs the student about the grievance option if they are not satisfied with the outcome and directs them to applicable support resources. This communication is done in writing.
Student Grievances Procedure

If a student determines that a complaint is not satisfactorily resolved and the complaint alleges improper, unfair or arbitrary action by a College employee involving the application of a specific provision of a College or Minnesota State system policy or procedure, the student may file a grievance. Information submitted and gathered in a student complaint is subject to the Minnesota Data Government Practices Act.

  1. The grievance must be filed on the College’s Student Complaint, Grievance or Informal Concern Form within 10 business days of receipt of the written response to the complaint. On the form, the student shall state:
    • The reason for the grievance
    • A factual summary of the grievance
    • The specific policy or procedure application that is of concern
    • The requested remedy
  2. The designated College official who receives the grievance shall meet with the student to discuss the grievance within 10 business days. The designated College official shall inform the student of a reasonable date they can expect a written response and the date will be documented on the complaint form. The student may have an appropriate College representative (e.g., counselor or instructor) in attendance for any such discussion.
  3. When applicable, program directors with responsibilities for programmatic accreditation will be notified of the grievance submitted.
  4. The designated College official communicates the grievance decision(s) to the student, informs the student about the grievance appeal option if they are not satisfied with the outcome, and directs them to applicable support resources. This communication is done in writing.
Student Appeal of a Grievance Decision Procedure

If the grievance is not resolved, a student has the following options to submit a written appeal of the grievance decision:

  • Option 1: The student can submit a written grievance appeal to the College’s president within 10 business days after receiving the response to the grievance. The president's decision is final and binding unless the student chooses to file the grievance appeal with the Minnesota State system chancellor (see option 2).
  • Option 2: If the grievance involves a Minnesota State system board policy or the actions of the College president, the student can choose to submit the written grievance appeal to the Minnesota State system chancellor. The decision of the chancellor is final and binding.

When applicable, program directors with responsibilities for programmatic accreditation will be notified of the grievance appeal submitted.

Timeframe

If a complaint or grievance is not presented within the specified time limits, it will be considered waived by the student. If a complaint or grievance is not appealed to the next step within the established time limits, it will be considered settled on the basis of the last decision.

If, after presentation at any step, a college employee does not respond to the complaint or grievance within the specified time limits, the student may treat the complaint or grievance as denied at that step and may appeal the complaint or grievance to the next step.

The time limits for any step may be extended by mutual written agreement of the student and the appropriate college or Minnesota State system personnel.

Retaliation

Retaliation against a student for participating or not participating in a complaint, grievance or informal concern is prohibited.

Procedure for change

Procedures for instituting change at the College are available to students at both local and state levels. Individual students may submit items for consideration to the Student Government Association or the appropriate College committee. Notice of Student Government Association meetings and copies of the minutes are posted, and all meetings are open to visitors.

Other Resources

Students are strongly encouraged to seek resolution at a college or Minnesota State system level. If that is not possible, a student can contact the Minnesota Office of Higher Education or the Higher Learning Commission for more information on their complaint processes. If a student resides out of state, they also have the option to contact the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA).

Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Internal Process

  1. The student submits a complaint, grievance or informal concern on the Student Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Form. The link to the form can be found at www.minnesota.edu/forms.
  2. The dean of students receives notification the form has been submitted and reviews the information provided by the student.
  3. The dean of students forwards the student complaint, grievance or informal concern to the appropriate College official for review.
  4. The College official becomes the main point of contact for the student, reviews details of the submitted incident and contacts other individuals to gather additional information and verify facts.
  5. The College official communicates complaint and/or grievance decision(s) to the student and informs the student of any appeal and/or grievance processes and supportive resources that are available.
  6. Informal concern submissions do not require a formal response, but the College official is encouraged to take appropriate action and communicate back to the student with information on any action taken.
  7. The College official completes the complaint, grievance and informal concern report and closes the case. A final copy of the case is added to the student’s electronic academic file.
  8. The academic and student services supervisors review complaint, grievance and informal concern data on a periodically to identify any trends and/or opportunities for continuous improvement. Data review is completed in accordance with applicable data privacy policies.

Responsibility

Students

Students will complete all required fields on the Student Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Form to submit a written complaint, grievance and/or informal concern within the allotted timeframe. Students will provide further documentation upon request if available and communicate with the designated College official in a timely manner.

Dean of students

The dean of students will review the complaints, grievances and informal concerns submitted by students and assign a designated College official as the main point of contact. The dean will ensure the student receives a written decision from the designated College official and report aggregated data to academic and student services supervisors for review on a semi-annual basis.

Designated College official

The designated College official will review the complaint, grievance or informal concern submitted by a student, substantiate facts, gather further documentation if necessary and submit a written decision to the student making the claim within the reasonably determined timeframe.

College president

If a student opts to submit an appeal of a grievance decision to the president, the president will review the appeal and respond to the student with a written decision.

Minnesota State system chancellor

If a student opts to submit an appeal of a grievance decision to the Minnesota State system chancellor, the chancellor will review the appeal and respond to the student with a written decision.

Academic and student services supervisors

Supervisors will meet semi-annually to review complaints, grievances and informal concerns submitted by students to identify whether any trends emerge and/or continuous improvement actions are needed.

Associated Policies and Procedures

Minnesota State Community and Technical College Student Complaint, Grievance and Informal Concern Policy

 

Policy author
Shawn Anderson