(SCU Policy 6.7)
In pursuit of it principles of openness, accountability and responsiveness to student rights, the University has established the Student Appeals Board to hear student concerns which have remained unresolved after attempts to do so at lower levels of discourse and mediation. The Student Appeals Board shall hear and seek resolution of student grievances concerning individual students, members of the faculty, administration, or staff and, when appropriate, make recommendations concerning disciplinary actions.
A grievance is a complaint arising out of any alleged unauthorized or unjustified act or decision by a student, faculty member, administrator or staff member, which in any way adversely affects the status, rights, or privilege of a member of the student body. The burden of proof shall rest with the complainant.
An action or decision is grievable only if it involves a misapplication or misinterpretation of SCUHS policy, regulation, or rule, or a violation of state or federal law. Grievances may not be used to challenge policies or procedures of general applicability.
In addition, this procedure may not be used to grieve:
- Claims based on purchases or contracts;
- Claims against an SCUHS employee on matters that are unrelated to the employee’s job or role at the University;
- Claims where another SCUHS policy or procedure could have been used for the matter being grieved (i.e., academic grievances, FERPA appeals, etc.). Academic grievances are managed by the Student Academic Grievance procedure outlined in Volume V of this Policy Manual.
The procedures set forth below may be used by grievants who are enrolled as SCUHS students or who are participating in a University-sponsored event at the time of the incident being grieved. The person filing the grievance must be the alleged victim of unfair treatment; a grievance cannot be filed on behalf of another person. The existence of this procedure does not bar grievants from also filing claims in other forums to the extent permitted by state or federal law or applicable accrediting agencies.
The formal resolution process described below must be initiated within 60 business days of the decision, action, or events giving rise to the grievance. The Executive Director of Student Affairs may extend this time limit if the grievant makes the request for extension within the 60-day period, for good cause shown (e.g., an active effort at informal resolution at the departmental level).
(SCU Policy 6.7.1)
The first step is to determine whether or not the grievance includes the application of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. If so, the grievance process for Title IX cases shall be handled by the Title IX policy located in Appendix 2.1.6.
For other grievances, steps towards redress shall begin with informal discussions and shall be resolved at the lowest possible level. If a satisfactory solution cannot be reached, the grievance shall be taken to the Student Appeals Board for hearing and appropriate action.
Informal discussion between persons directly involved in a grievance is essential in the early stages of the dispute and shall be encouraged at all stages. An equitable solution should be sought to the problem before the respective parties directly involved in the case have assumed official positions which might render a solution more difficult. At no time shall any of the persons directly involved in the case, or any other persons, use the fact of such informal discussion, the fact that a grievance has been filed, or the character of the informal discussions for the purpose of strengthening the case for or against persons directly involved in the dispute or for any purpose other than the settlement of the grievance.
(SCU Policy 6.7.2)
Grievances which cannot be resolved through informal processes will be reviewed by the Student Appeals Board in accordance with the procedures set forth below.
Composition of the Student Appeals Board
(SCU Policy 126.96.36.199)
The Student Appeals Board shall consist of a Chair, two faculty members, one SCUHS official and three students. The Chair of the Student Appeals Board and a member from the Office of Student Affairs shall determine who is in the pool for faculty and staff. The students will come from the Educational Advancement Committee.
Conflict of Interest
(SCU Policy 188.8.131.52)
In the event of a conflict of interest, which will be identified through self-declaration by any panel members regarding a particular potential appeal, the individual will recuse himself or herself from the Student Appeals Board on that matter. The Chair will rule on any challenges regarding conflict of interest.
Maintenance of Records and Logistical Support
(SCU Policy 184.108.40.206)
The Office of Student Affairs shall be responsible for maintaining all records of the Student Appeals Board as well as providing logistical support for the board. The records for each appeal will be maintained for a period of five years in the Office of Student Affairs after the final recommendation has been rendered.
Formal Filing of the Grievance
(SCU Policy 220.127.116.11)
If informal resolution was not successful, the student may file a grievance by sending a request for a hearing along with the following information to the Executive Director of Student Affairs.
The grievance must:
- Be in writing;
- State how the decision or action is unfair and harmful to the grievant and list the SCUHS policy or state or federal laws that have been violated, if known;
- Name the respondent parties (the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed);
- State how the respondents are responsible for the action or decision;
- State the requested remedy; and
- State whether the grievant will bring a support person to the hearing.
If it is clear on the face of the written grievance that the grievance has not been filed within the time limit, or pertains to a matter not grievable under this procedure, or is from a person without grievance rights under this grievance, the Executive Director of Student Affairs shall so indicate in a letter to the grievant and the grievance shall be dismissed. If the grievance does appear to have some validity, the case will proceed to a formal hearing of the Student Appeals Board.
Procedures for Student Appeals Board Hearings
(SCU Policy 18.104.22.168)
- Four of the six members and the Chair must be present for the hearing to proceed. The hearing will be informal in nature and conducted in the spirit of mediation and conciliation. Witnesses are to be present only during the time in which they give their statement and will remain outside the hearing room until called. The principles in action will be provided with dates and times of all meetings. A copy of all materials in the appeal folder will be made available to the appealer by a member from the Office of Student Affairs. An advisor may accompany either party to the dispute, with prior notification to the Chair and the opposing party, provided that the advisor is a member of the campus community. A member of the campus community is defined as faculty or staff currently employed or a student currently enrolled in the University.
- Either party to the grievance may bring witnesses to the hearing. The names of the witnesses will be provided to all parties prior to their appearance. Written statements may be permitted from witnesses unable to attend the hearing if the Chair of the committee so rules. Members of the committee will have the opportunity to question any witness(es).
- The hearing shall be conducted according to the established format. The hearing shall not be conducted according to technical rules of evidence and witnesses. The Chair shall admit the sort of evidence on which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs and shall exclude evidence that is irrelevant, unduly repetitious or cumulative. Evidence relating to past actions shall be admitted if shown to be relevant.
- The Chair and a staff member from the Office of Student Affairs shall ensure each hearing is adequately memorialized. The cost of the memorialization shall be borne by the University. A copy of the memorialization shall be supplied to the grievant upon request. The Chair shall record the date, place and time of the hearing and all participants of the hearing. The memorialization will become a part of the official record maintained by the Office of Student Affairs. Audio or video recorders may be utilized for this purpose.
- If the student appealing does not appear within one half hour of the time agreed upon for the hearing, the hearing will be cancelled and the appeal dismissed, unless a valid excuse, as judged by the Student Appeals Board, is presented within 48 hours. If the accused does not appear, the hearing will proceed without them. Failure of an advisor to appear for either party shall not constitute grounds for postponing or delaying the hearing.
- Members of the Student Appeals Board shall meet in executive session (with all other person excluded) following the conclusion of the hearing. In this session the committee shall consider the evidence and reach its recommended decision, basing that recommended decision only on the evidence and exhibits received at the hearing. The Student Appeals Board will determine by majority vote whether a preponderance of the evidence presented demonstrated that an appeasable action was committed and if so will recommend remedies.
- The Student Appeals Board will then prepare a written report which will consist of the Board’s detailed findings of fact, any conclusions resulting from those findings, a finding for or against the student filing the appeal, and its recommendation for resolving or terminating the matter. A minority position may be expressed either as a section in the Board’s report or as a separate report. Within five (5) business days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Chair will ensure that the report is completed and shall send copies to the persons involved in the appeal, including the Executive Director of Student Affairs, and return the grievance file to the Executive Director of Student Affairs.
(SCU Policy 22.214.171.124)
If the resolution provided by the Student Appeals Board is not satisfactory to the student filing the complaint, the student may file a request for reconsideration via a final appeal. Such a request must be submitted in writing within a 5-day period from the date of the initial grievance decision. A request for reconsideration shall be submitted to the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. If the respondent is the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, the President will appoint another University administrator to issue a decision.
The Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs shall review the information provided concerning the grievance, the request for reconsideration, and details regarding the grievant’s desired remedy and issue a final decision with 14 calendar days of receiving the request for reconsideration. The Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs’ decision may include one of the following options:
- To support the initial grievance resolution provided by the Student Appeals Board, designating that resolution to be fair and appropriate, based on the information reviewed; or
- To determine that an alternate decision is appropriate based on his/her review of the grievance case information. This shall supersede any previously made decisions.
The Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs shall provide the decision in writing and document his/her final decision for the University record. The decision of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs shall be considered final.