Maintaining a Record of Complaints – SACS-COC 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 Commission policy “Complaint Procedures against the Commission or its Accredited Institutions.”)
The Commission’s “Complaint Procedures against the Commission or its Accredited Institutions” states: Each institution is required to have in place student complaint policies and procedures that are reasonable, fairly administered, and well-publicized. (See FR 4.5). The Commission also requires, in accord with federal regulations, that each institution maintains a record of complaints received by the institution. This record is made available to the Commission upon request. This record will be reviewed and evaluated by the Commission as part of the institution’s decennial evaluation.
Procedure for Maintaining Records of Written Student Complaints
St. Mary’s University is committed to the fair and impartial resolution of written student complaints and grievances. Current policies outline for students the procedures to be followed for all categories of student complaints: academic, non-academic code of conduct, discrimination and harassment, financial, disability-related issues, residence life, and parking and safety. Generally, student complaints are referred to the Dean of Students office to assure concerned students receive accurate and consistent guidance, and are informed of the University Grievance process. However, to assure policies are followed, records of all written student complaints, including the disposition of all written complaints, are to be maintained by the following offices*:
- Academic Complaints: academic deans with annual reports to the Provost’s Office
- Non-academic Complaints/Student Code of Conduct: dean of students with annual report to the Vice President for Student Development
- Residence Life: dean of students with annual report to the Vice President for Student Development
- Discrimination/Harassment: for student complaints against non-faculty – director of human resources for student complaints against faculty – the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs with annual report to the Vice President for Student Development.
- Finance-related Issues: director of the business office with annual report to Vice President for Administration and Finance
- Disability-related Issues: coordinator of disability services with annual report to Vice President for Student Development
- Parking and Safety-related Issues: chief of police with annual report to Vice President for Administration and Finance
- Facility and Environmental safety issues: executive director of risk management with annual reports to Vice President for Administration and Finance.
- Athletics issues: director of athletics with annual report to the President
- Admission and Financial Assistance issues: directors of admission and financial assistance with annual report to Vice President for Enrollment Management.
At the end of each fiscal year, a summary report of all written student complaints and their disposition will be presented to the Executive Council, which will consider evidence of recurring problems requiring University action, and provide appropriate direction to address and resolve such problems. After consideration by Executive Council, summary reports of written student complaints and their disposition will be submitted to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, which will maintain a permanent record of all written student complaints and their disposition.