Policy Regarding Student Complaints
In seeking to do what is right, Union College values student complaints as evidence of potential difficulties to be addressed. Most complaints are addressed informally, orally or electronically, with the division chair, residence hall dean, work supervisor, or other responsible campus employee. However, if a student seeks further resolution of the problem, and discussion with the appropriate vice president likewise fails to satisfy the student, a formal complaint should be filed with the appropriate vice president.
Formal complaints are defined as non-trivial complaints submitted in writing, dated, signed by the student, and submitted to the vice president with the responsibility to handle the complaint. Formal complaints are kept on file, and each vice president maintains a record of each complaint filed and its resolution.
Union College attempts to follow biblical principles when wrong is perceived by a student or employee. A student who feels treated unfairly or unjustly has the right to appeal according to approved procedures.
Informal Complaint Procedure
Most misunderstandings and difficulties are settled to mutual satisfaction when the student perceiving a wrong discusses the issue with the employee involved, whether course instructor, residence hall dean or staff member. A student who is not satisfied by discussion at this direct level should appeal to the instructor’s program director or division chair, head residence hall dean, or staff member’s supervisor.
Formal Complaint Procedure
If not satisfied at the supervisory level, the student should contact the appropriate vice president, and may provide a written summary of the complaint and a proposed resolution. If not satisfied with the decision of the appropriate vice president, within seven working days the student should file a formal written complaint with the President of Union College requesting a grievance hearing. Filing a formal grievance is a serious matter and should be done thoughtfully. The recommendation of the Grievance Committee will provide the underlying context of the president’s decision which constitutes the final action by the college.
Selected by the president, the Grievance Committee shall be composed of two students and three faculty or staff members, as appropriate. Either party may suggest one member of the committee. The chair and secretary of the committee shall be elected by the committee members at the first meeting. Both the student and the college employees involved in the case are invited to appear before the committee and to present a written statement of the case. At the student’s request, one advocate (a parent, spouse, student, or college employee) may accompany the student to the meeting. The advocate’s role is to be moral support for the student and to be an observer of the process. The advocate may answer questions if asked. Because this is an internal process, the presence of legal counsel is not appropriate for either party. The student and the student’s advocate may attend the committee presentation of all evidence and any related matter reviewed by the Grievance Committee. They also have the right to rebut all evidence and reasoning. However, they may not attend the committee’s final deliberation and vote. The Grievance Committee may recommend either that the action taken should stand, that the matter should be reconsidered by the original deciding body, or a new action is warranted. The recommendations of the Grievance Committee shall be presented in writing to the President of Union College, who will notify the student of the decision.
Withdrawal of Grievance
At any time during the grievance procedure, the student may withdraw the complaint in writing to the President. In addition, a failure by the student to appear for a requested hearing, without prior notification or evidence of extenuating circumstances, shall constitute withdrawal of the grievance or appeal.