Students may encounter a variety of conflicts during their courses of study at Rock Valley College that may require review by appropriate administrative or academic personnel. The purpose of the following procedure is to provide an equitable system for resolving conflicts between students and faculty or staff members when a review of the issue is not otherwise available under established college policies and procedures.
Types of Complaints and Appeals
Questions regarding these procedures or guidance on the applicability of any RVC policy or procedure to a student’s specific problem should be directed to the Dean of Students, or their designee.
This complaint procedure applies to all registered RVC students (full-time, part-time, special programs, Community Education/Continuing Education) and is applicable in the review of problems such as the following:
- All aspects of the degree granting process, including grading, evaluation or status (unless established policies are already available).
- Alleged professional misconduct toward a student by a faculty or college staff member while in the scope of college employment.
- Alleged illegal, intimidation, discrimination, and harassment based on sex, race, religion, age, disability, national origin or sexual orientation, and the college specifically prohibits such intimidation, discrimination, and harassment, including sexual harassment (Title IX and 504 complaints are included).
- Allegations concerning the application or propriety of college, regulations, policies, and procedures regarding student rights and behavior.
General Complaint and Conflict Resolution Procedures
No student shall be penalized by the college for filing or participating in the complaint process when the student has acted reasonably and in good faith. All complaints must be initiated within 60 days of the date of the incident or after the student should have become aware of the incident giving rise to the complaint. The college reserves the right to waive the 60-day rule based on the facts and circumstances of the complaint and after giving due consideration to the protection of the rights of both parties.
All students are encouraged to first utilize informal discussion to resolve any problems encountered at the college. Each student, faculty member, administrative and staff member has an obligation to resolve problems fairly and informally through discussion between the aggrieved student(s) and the specific college person immediately involved with the problem. Although students are strongly encouraged to use informal discussion for problem solution, it is not a requirement for the filing of a formal complaint.
Students should always first attempt to resolve issues through an informal process. If a student is unable to resolve the issue informally, they may file a formal written complaint. The formal written complaint process begins with the Dean of Students Office. All questions or concerns regarding both the formal and informal process should be directed to the Dean of Students Office.
- Student must submit a written summary of their complaint to the Dean of Students and schedule a consultation with the Dean of Students to review their written complaint before proceeding with the process. The written complaint must be signed and dated by the student and must clearly state the nature and basis for the complaint, including names of person/s for which the complaint is being made against, and any known witnesses. The written complaint must also include specifics of the incident/s.
Where a previously established grievance procedure already exists, the Dean of Students will refer the complainant to the appropriate process.
In cases of alleged illegal discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age, marital status, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or any other protected class, the Dean of Students will contact the Provost prior to advising the student about a course of action and resolution.
In all other cases, the written compliant will be referred to the immediate supervisor of the specific college employee involved.
- After student consults with the Dean of Students to review the written complaint, and review the formal complaint process, the student will acknowledge they understand the process and agree to follow the college procedures before the complaint moves to the next step. Upon acknowledgement by the student, the Dean of Students will forward the students complaint to the appropriate Supervisor or Academic Dean for investigation.
- The immediate supervisor or Academic Dean will conduct an investigation and respond, in writing, to the student, within 30 business days of receipt of complaint. An extension for additional review and response time may be granted by the Dean of Students. A copy of the complaint response will be provided to the Dean of Students Office.
- If the student feels that the decision of the Supervisor or Academic Dean is arbitrary or capricious, or if the student has new evidence to present, they may appeal the decision in writing within 10 business days of receiving the compliant response, to the next level of supervision or an individual designated by the Dean of Students.
- The written appeal must be submitted to the Dean of Students within 10 business days.
- The Dean of Students will forward the written appeal to the appropriate individuals and will communicate the results to the student, in writing, within 30 business days from the submission of the student’s written appeal.
- The Dean of Students may designate different persons to review complaints or may consolidate complaints. When consolidation is important for the efficiency of fair resolution, the Dean of Students will notify all parties involved. If the Dean of Students deems a complaint to be frivolous, harassing in nature, or does not provide enough specifics, the Dean may ask the student to rewrite the complaint, or refuse to forward the complaint to the next steps. If this determination is made, the Dean of Students will communicate this decision to the student/s.
- The decision of the Dean of Students, or their designee, regarding the complaint appeal shall be final.