721.7 Student Grievance Procedure
Students have recourse through the Student Grievance Procedure, which provides both informal and formal processes, to investigate concerns or complaints arising from conditions, policy, procedures, practices, working relationships, decisions, actions or inactions of Umpqua Community College and/or its students and employees.
The informal procedure attempts to resolve the grievance through cooperative meetings with the parties involved. The formal procedure resolves issues through written grievances, investigations and hearings. Students are strongly encouraged to resolve any concern informally. It is not necessary to follow the informal procedure prior to filing a formal grievance.
If the informal procedure fails to resolve the issue, the student has the option of filing a formal complaint and/or pursuing outside legal advice. However, the student may not be represented by an attorney during the formal complaint process.
Students with complaints of possible unlawful harassment or unlawful discrimination may seek immediate assistance through the Office of the Vice President for Student Development or the Office of Human Resources.
Processes are student initiated and designed to facilitate the student’s grievance being heard and to outline steps to resolve the complaint. It is important that the student be an active and informed participant in the process.
Any timeline set forth in the procedures may be extended by the Vice President for Student Development upon written application to do so.
No student shall be expelled, suspended, disciplined or in any other way retaliated against for having pursued a grievance in good faith whether or not the charges were substantiated. However, anyone willfully filing a false grievance is subject to discipline.
A. Informal Grievance Process
Students are encouraged to resolve the issue through the informal grievance process. To address complaints in a timely fashion, students should begin the informal process within 30 college business days of the alleged complaint. The steps to follow in the informal process are as follows:
The student should meet with the individual with whom he/she has the grievance.
The student should meet with the supervisor of the individual with whom he/she has the grievance.
B. Formal Grievance Process
If the student is not satisfied with the informal process and any suggested resolution, the student may initiate the formal grievance process. The steps in the formal grievance process are as follows:
Step 1: Conference
The student shall schedule a conference with the Vice President for Student Development (VPSD) within 40 college business days of the incident. The VPSD will advise the student of his/her options and direct the student accordingly. The VPSD may endeavor to determine if the charges can be disposed of by mutual consent of the parties involved on a basis acceptable to the student.
Step 2: Filing of Grievance
The student shall file a written grievance with the Vice President for Student Development (VPSD) within five (5) college business days following the conference with the VPSD. A grievance form will be available at the office of the VPSD.
Upon receipt of the complaint, the VPSD has the option to dismiss the concern as having no grounds for further review if the VPSD concludes that the concern is: untimely; based upon a non-grievable matter; being concurrently reviewed in another forum; previously decided pursuant to this review procedure; frivolous; or filed in bad faith.
Step 3: Notice of Hearing
The parties involved in the grievance shall be notified of in person or by regular US mail return receipt requested by the Vice President for Student Development (VPSD) of a hearing. Written notice will be provided within five (5) college business days after the grievance is filed and at least three (3) college business days prior to the scheduled hearing. Any party who wishes to have representation at the hearing must notify the VPSD in advance.
Step 4: Hearings Panel
The Vice President for Student Development (VPSD) will convene a hearings panel with in ten (10) college business days of receipt of the grievance. The hearings panel will consist of the VPSD, a college employee appointed by the VPSD, a member of the Associated Students of UCC (ASUCC) Executive Council and one of the following:
- the Human Resources Director,
- the Vice President for Administrative Services; or
- the Vice President for Instruction.
Step 5: Conduct of the Hearing
During the hearing, the Vice President for Student Development (VPSD) shall chair the process. It shall be at the discretion of the hearings panel to determine whether to meet with the involved parties separately or in a single meeting. The panel may call witnesses, including those persons identified by the parties, as well as any other persons who may have relevant information. The grievant shall have the opportunity to present witnesses or other evidence and to examine witnesses. The respondent shall have the opportunity to respond to the grievance, examine witnesses and present witnesses or other evidence to rebut the charges or findings. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel will meet in executive session to render its decision.
Step 6: Findings
Following the hearing and within 30 college business days of receiving the formal grievance, the Vice President for Student Development will report, in writing to the involved parties, his/her findings, conclusions and any actions taken by the hearings panel to resolve the grievance.
Step 7: Appeal
See section 721.8