Federal Requirement 4.5

 

The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints. (See also the Commission’s policy “Complaint Procedures for the Commission or its Accredited Institutions.”) (Student Complaints)

 

COMPLIANCE

 

Narrative:

 

Vernon College has an established policy for the resolution of student grievances. The policy is outlined in the Vernon College Student Handbook which is authored by the Dean of Student Services/Athletic Director. Enrollment in Vernon College and a signed application on file is an explicit declaration of acceptance of all Vernon College regulations on the part of the student. Faculty and staff are asked to review this policy regularly so that they are familiar with not only the students’ rights but their own responsibilities for safeguarding these rights. A student or organization with questions regarding these rights or the policies granting these rights may visit directly with the Dean of Student Services/Athletic Director, Dean of Instructional Services, or the College President.

 

Students have the right to be officially heard in matters where they feel they have a grievance against College policy or personnel. All students are encouraged to resolve problems when they first arise and with the parties involved. Only when problems can not be solved informally should the student resort to formal grievance procedures. Formal grievance procedures are published in the student handbook. Grievances are distinguished as either “Academic” or “Non-Academic.” There is a standing Student Appeals Committee appointed annually by the College President. The committee includes faculty and staff as well as current Vernon College students. Committees are appointed for both Vernon as well as Wichita Falls and represent a cross section of programs. The committee is governed by the Hearing Procedures published in the Student Handbook.

 

The Student Grievance Procedure is a multi-tiered process which begins at discussion with a faculty or staff member. If the complaint is unresolved, then the complainant will contact the appropriate division chair or supervisor for resolution. If the complaint is still unresolved, the complainant will complete the Student Grievance and Appeals Form. This form is available in the Student Services Office from a Vernon College Counselor. The form is then submitted to the appropriate dean by the complainant. If still unresolved after the appropriate dean’s decision then a written request for review by the Student Appeals Committee may be submitted to the Dean of Student Services/Athletic Director. After following all levels of appeal within prescribed time frames either party may ultimately submit a written and final request to the College President. Records of all student grievances (example) are kept in secured files in the Dean of Student Services/Athletic Director’s Office.

 

The clearly defined and entire process including time frames is detailed in the Student Handbook, available to all students and College employees in printed form from any Student Services Office or online at the Vernon College website.  Vernon College is committed to responding to all complaints and grievances judiciously, confidentially, and in a timely manner. The Dean of Student Services/Athletic Director and the Vernon College Counselors are available to meet privately with any student, faculty member, or member of the Student Appeals Committee to answer any questions regarding the process.

 

Documentation

 

1 Student Grievance Procedures, Vernon College Student Handbook

2  Student Appeals Committee

3 Hearing Procedures

4 Student Grievance and Appeals Form

5 Student Grievance Example

6 Vernon College Student Handbook