STUDENT GRIEVANCE POLICY
Should any student have a compliant or dispute with any Sisseton Wahpeton College employee, he/she has the right to have his/her objection heard and addressed. Complaints may be filed after an alleged improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory action. This could include disputes over academic decisions, or if the student believes he/she was subject to unfair or unprofessional treatment by another party. The right of a student to file a grievance also applies to any circumstance where the student believes that he/she was the victim of harassment or discrimination because of race, color, religion, age, national origin, or sex.
If a student believes that he/she was unfairly treated and/or has a justifiable complaint over an academic or policy issue, then that student should first discuss the matter with the party involved. The issue may simply be a misunderstanding or honest mistake that can be settled through a fair and frank discussion.
If this action does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, or if the student is uncomfortable approaching the individual, then within ten (10) working days of the event(s) that led to the complaint, the student should contact the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), Student Services Director, Department Head, or a member of the Student Senate. At this point the student must complete a Complaint Form. When meeting with the student the contacted official will provide consultation regarding conflict resolutions, student’s rights, obligations, and procedural options related to filing a grievance. The contacted official shall submit the form to Vice President for Academic Affairs within two (2) working days, if the student contacted someone other than the VPAA.
Issues that may be considered to pose a significant threat, or may involve a violation of law or federal regulations can be referred to the appropriate official agencies.
If the President determines the circumstances warrant it, the accused may be suspended pending review of the case. Such suspensions will not exceed a reasonable time frame, and will only be imposed when the safety or ability to learn of other students is threatened.
The student may pursue one of the following options to address their grievance:
- Mediation, which should be a preferred initial step in addressing a student grievance; or
- Grievance Committee Hearing, for all situations where mediation is inappropriate or where it has failed to satisfactorily resolve the grievance.
Sisseton Wahpeton College is required to share information about formal written complaints with its accreditor. This information will include the following:
1. The date the complaint was first formally submitted to an appropriate officer;
2. The nature of the complaint;
3. The steps taken by the institution to resolve the complaint;
4. The institution’s final decision regarding the complaint, including referral to outside agencies;
5. Any other external actions initiated by the student to resolve the complaint if known to the institution.
STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
- The VPAA* will review the summary of the student’s claim(s) and schedule a preliminary mediation session to occur no later than four (4) working days after receiving the Complaint Form.
- The student filing the grievance and the employee(s) identified in the grievance will be provided the summary of the claim, along with a notification of the time and location of the mediation session no later than two (2) days prior to the scheduled date.
- The mediator(s) will be selected by the VPAA* dependent on the nature of the grievance. In cases where the implementation of policy or procedural issues is at the center of the grievance the VPAA may participate as a mediator. The mediator(s) will be provided the summary of the claim, along with a notification of the time and location of the mediation session no later than two (2) days prior to the scheduled date.
- Upon the conclusion of a successful resolution the lead mediator will draft a summary of the agreement, which must be signed by all parties, and submit it to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- Any party may decide to end the process of mediation by submitting a request for a formal hearing. The mediator will provide the VPAA* with a written notice that mediation failed to resolve the issue and with a copy of the request.
- The student may end mediation without filing a formal hearing request. In this case the mediator will provide the VPAA* with a written notice that mediation ceased on the student’s initiative.
- Any grievance that involves the VPAA directly will be handled by Office of the President, which may be delegated to a representative.
Grievance Committee Hearing
The Formal Grievance Procedure will be followed as outlined in the Employee Handbook.