STUDENT RIGHTS AND GRIEVANCES
Experience has shown that most concerns which students have regarding academic affairs or College policies, regulations, and procedures are relatively easy to resolve through informal discussion with the involved faculty or staff. If a matter remains unresolved after such discussion, the student is free to pursue it through appropriate administrative channels - either by bringing it to the attention of the immediate supervisor or utilizing the committee structures provided for this purpose.
Student complaints that deal with State regulation, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972, or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 shall be handled by the District's Director of Human Resources.
Student grievances involving the interpretation, application, or alleged violation of the College's rules, regulations, policies, and procedures shall be addressed in accordance with the College's Student Grievance and Due Process Policy and Procedures, BP 543/AP 534.1. For further information, contact the Dean of Student Services, Room 1000 MacMillan Hall or (707) 468-3105.
- Definition: A grievance is a complaint by a student involving the interpretation, application, or alleged violation of College policies and procedures. A grievance action may be initiated by a student against another student, an instructor, an administrator, or a member of the classified staff.
- Party - The student or respondent(s) together with their representatives, which may include the Student Rights Advocate. "Party" shall not include the Grievance Hearing Committee or the Grievance Officer.
- Superintendent/President - The Superintendent/President or a designated representative of the Superintendent/President.
- Student –A currently enrolled student, a person who has filed an application for admission to the College, or a former student. A grievance by an applicant shall be limited to a complaint regarding denial of admission. Former students shall be limited to grievances relating to course grades to the extent permitted by Education Code Section 76224(a).
- Grievant - A student who has filed a grievance.
- Respondent - Any person claimed by a grievant to be responsible for the alleged wrongdoing.
- Day - Unless otherwise provided, “day” shall mean a day during which the College is in session and regular classes are held, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays.
- Grievance Officer – Human Resources Director. Serves as an assistant to students in seeking resolution.
- Student Rights Advocate – ASMC elected position. i.
- Grounds for Grievances. The following are grounds for grievances:
- Interpretation, application, or violation of College rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.
- Arbitrary administrative action.
- Arbitrary or capricious decision in the academic evaluation of a student’s performance.
Before filing a formal written grievance, the student shall attempt to resolve the matter by means of an informal conference individually and in sequence with the following (Note: This is the process for student grievances, NOT student discipline):
- Step 1: Initial Level—Any student with a grievance (the grievant) should discuss the problem directly with the person with whom the student has a grievance (the respondent). This discussion must take place within ten (10) days of the alleged incident or ten (10) days after the student learns of the alleged incident, whichever is later.
- Step 2: If the grievance is not resolved in Step l, the grievant must complete the Student Grievance Form, Section A and submit to the immediate supervisor of the respondent. The immediate supervisor will meet with the grievant and make every effort to resolve the problem with the grievant and the respondent. This discussion shall take place within 10 days of completion of Step 1. The supervisor has ten (10) days to respond to the grievance.
If the grievant feels the matter has not been resolved by the informal conferences in Steps 1-2 the grievant may submit a signed Student Grievance Form within three (3) days after Step 2 to the appropriate supervising Vice President.
The Vice President may render a final decision or refer grievances to the Grievance Hearing Committee. If the Vice President refers the grievance to the Grievance Hearing Committee, the student has three (3) days to submit the Grievance Hearing Form to the Grievance Officer. The committee will conduct a formal hearing within ten (10) days (except where the grievant specifically agrees in writing to a longer period). No person who was involved in any prior step should participate in the committee deliberations. The committee will render a final decision and send it to the Vice President who will inform the grievant.
Grievance Hearing Committee
The Superintendent/President or designee shall appoint a Grievance Hearing Committee as needed which shall be constituted in accordance with the following:
- It shall include one student, one faculty member, one member of the classified staff and one College administrator.
- No person shall serve as a member of a Grievance Hearing Committee if that person has been personally involved in any matter giving rise to the grievance, has made any statement on the matters at issue, or could otherwise not act in a neutral manner. Any party to the grievance may challenge for cause any member of the hearing committee prior to the beginning of the hearing by addressing a challenge to the Superintendent/President or designee who shall determine whether cause for disqualification has been shown. If the Superintendent/President or designee feels that sufficient ground for removal of a member of the committee has been presented, the Superintendent/President or designee shall remove the challenged member or members and substitute a member or members from the panel described above. This determination is subject to appeal as defined below.
- The Grievance Officer shall sit with the Grievance Hearing Committee but shall not serve as a member nor vote. The Grievance Officer shall coordinate all scheduling of hearings, shall serve to assist all parties and the Grievance Hearing Committee to facilitate a full, fair and efficient resolution of the grievance, and shall avoid an adversary role.
- Education Code Section 76224 subdivision (a);
- Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972;
- 34 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 106.1 et seq.; ACCJC Accreditation Eligibility Requirement 20; ACCJC Accreditation Standard IV.D