Grievance Policy

The College encourages all members of the College community to resolve disputes informally through discussion among those concerned.  In the unusual case when this process fails to bring about a satisfactory resolution, the following internal procedure may be used to address a student’s perceived infringement of rights or a violation of College policies.

The grievance procedure may not be used to protest existing policies or regulations, including grading policies.

STEP I

A. The student must engage in a good faith discussion regarding the grievance with the member or members of the College community against whom the grievance is raised.

B. This discussion must be initiated within ten business days (Monday through Friday, exclusive of weekends, breaks, and holidays) of the date that the student becomes aware of the facts giving rise to the grievance.  If the grievance is not raised within this time frame, the student waives the right to grieve. A response, in writing will be given to the student within ten business days.

C. If the student is not satisfied with the resolution at this level, the student may proceed to Step II.

D. If the student intends to proceed to Step II, he/she must so inform the other party to the grievance in writing within ten business days.

STEP II

Submitted to the Vice President of Academic Affairs (or Vice President of Enrollment Management)

A. The Step II grievance must be submitted by the student in writing and must include: • Date of submission • Name of student submitting the grievance • Names of faculty/staff member(s) directly involved in the matter being grieved • Brief statement describing the matter being grieved. If the grievance is associated with a course in which the grievant was/is enrolled, identify the course name and number, and semester when enrolled. • Date of good faith discussion with party(ies) against whom the grievance is raised • Reason for further appeal • Desired outcome

B. This must be signed, dated and submitted to the Executive Assistant to the President for distribution to the appropriate Vice-President [normally, the Vice President of Academic Affairs] within ten business days of the completion of Step I of the grievance procedure.  Failure to do so will result in termination of the grievance.  (If there is any dispute as to the appropriateness of the Administrator chosen for mediation of the dispute, the President of the College shall determine the appropriate administrator.)

C. At this point in the process, the parties to the grievance may solicit assistance from any member of the College community.  These advisors may assist the parties through the remainder of the grievance process.

D. The Vice President will meet with the student bringing the grievance within ten business days following receipt of the written grievance.  The Vice President will also meet with the other party to the grievance.  No later than ten business days after receiving the written grievance, the Vice President will propose a resolution to the parties in writing, with copy to the student grievant mailed return receipt requested. If either of the parties to the grievance is not satisfied with the Vice-President’s  written decision, he/she may petition the Chair of the Appeals Committee [normally, the Vice President of Enrollment Services /Dean of Students] in writing to convene the Appeals Committee.  This petition must be submitted within ten business days after receiving the Step II decision.  Failure to timely submit the petition will result in termination of the grievance.

STEP III

A. The Appeals Committee process will be convened within ten business days and will consist of the Chair of the Appeals Committee, one student, two faculty members and one staff member.  The President appoints the student, faculty and staff members and an alternate for each at the beginning of each academic year. After two consecutive grievances, committee members may request to be released and replaced by alternates. Appointment of replacements for alternates by the President will then ensue as needed.  The Chair of the Appeals Committee will chair the panel.

B. The written request for the convening of the Appeals Committee must include: • A copy of the original grievance • A copy of the written response to the grievance by the Administrator in Step II • A written statement of why the appealing party disagrees with the decision made in Steps I and II of the process

The Committee can choose to hear oral statements by both parties to the grievance.  The Committee will also review relevant documents and interview any witnesses it deems appropriate, including witnesses presented by the parties. The student raising the grievance and requesting the Appeals Panel may attend the meeting. Students do not have the right to representation by counsel in campus appeal hearings. If the student has selected an advisor from within the College Community, that person may attend the Appeals hearing. The advisor may not address witnesses or members of the Appeals Panel.

C. The Committee shall deliberate in executive session and arrive at a decision to uphold or deny the appeal by a simple majority vote. The Appeals Committee will render its decision in writing to the parties within ten business days of the completion of its proceedings.  Its decision will include a statement of facts as found by the Committee and be mailed to the student who filed the grievance return receipt requested.

D. The decision of the Appeals Committee shall be final and binding.

TIMELINE

While the College will make every reasonable effort to adhere to the timelines listed in the Grievance policy, circumstances such as access to information, availability of personnel and school breaks may justify the extension of time.

CONFIDENTIALITY

In order to maintain confidentiality, documents pertaining to grievances will not be placed in a student’s academic file.  Such documents will be retained in a separate file by the Chair of the Appeals Committee and be accessible only to authorized personnel of the College.

NON-DISCRIMINATION

There will be no discrimination or retaliation as a result of a student’s exercise of his/her rights under this grievance procedure.

N.B. The complainant may call the Connecticut Office of Higher Education at 860.947.1800 to indicate his/her desire to file a complaint after all college administrative processes have been exhausted.

New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., Commission on Higher Education 3 Burlington Woods Drive Suite 100 Burlington, MA 01803-44514 1.855.886.3272 http://cihe.neasc.org

Office of Higher Education 61 Woodland Street Hartford, CT 06105-2326 1.800.842.0229 www.ctohe.org/studentcomplaints.shtml

Endorsed by faculty and professional staff October 19, 1989; revised June 15, 1993; revised March 5,2009;revised,approved by the Faulty Senate April, 2013, revised, approved by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees September 2013