Student Grievance Policy

Purpose of the Student Grievance Policy

The purpose of the student grievance policy is to provide due process for resolving student complaints against faculty, staff, or other College employees. RCC has established three grievance procedures depending on the nature of the grievance. The procedures follow:

  1. Standard Grievance  – discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, or other conditions or preferences; unfair treatment that is in violation of students’ basic rights, as set forth in the College Catalog.
  2. Academic Grievance – academic matters where students have a grievance. Areas for appeal include, but are not limited to, classroom procedures, charges of unfair treatment by an instructor, charges of unfair grades given by an instructor, absence and tardiness practices, course requirements that differ substantially from those set forth in the syllabus, and the right to participate in College sponsored activities.
  3. Harassment Grievance (Title IX) – harassment and intimidation, whether in the form of words, actions, or both, that may be inherently personal such as gender, sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Sexual harassment may be Quid Pro Quo (e.g., benefits promised in exchange for sexual activity) or hostile environment (e.g., unwanted comments/touches, unreasonable expectations, stalking, dating violence, etc.).    

Notes: If any of the above are committed against a student by another student instead of a College employee, the offended student should report the matter immediately to a College official, who will report it to the vice president for student services. The incident will be investigated and action taken if a violation of the Student Code of Conduct occurred. Under no circumstances will retaliation be tolerated. Students requesting due process will not be harassed, intimidated, discouraged, or denied access to the Grievance Procedures (Due Process). When the situation warrants it, the president or the vice president serving in any of the grievance procedures may make an interim decision concerning the student’s status during the appeal process by determining the feasibility of allowing the student to continue to attend class or removing the student from class/campus until the due process is completed.

Standard Grievance Procedure

The following procedure is to be used to resolve a grievance. Once this procedure of due process has begun, students who want to continue to pursue due process must follow the procedure and may not circumvent steps in the procedure and go prematurely to a higher authority.

  1. The Offending Person—The student must first make contact with the offending person to resolve their differences within five school days. The exception to this requirement is harassment complaints, which may be taken directly to the Student Services counselor serving as the Title IX coordinator, as described below.
  2. The Vice President for Student Services—If the complaint is not resolved in the informal conference with the offending person, the student may then appeal in writing to the vice president for student services (Formal Tracking Initiated), who will schedule a conference with the student and the other involved parties. If the grievance is academic in nature the student will be directed to follow the Procedure for Resolving an Academic Grievance as listed below.
  3. The Appeals Committee—If the grievance is not resolved by the appropriate vice president, the student may request a hearing in writing before the Appeals Committee.
    1. The student must present his/her case in writing to the vice president for student services who will appoint a chair of the Appeals Committee within five days after the meeting with the appropriate vice president.
    2. The Appeals Committee is comprised of two faculty members, a student services director, the vice president for administrative services or his/her designee, an instructional administrator, a SGA officer, and any additional members appointed by the president of the College.
    3. After receiving the student’s letter of grievance, the Appeals Committee must grant a hearing at the earliest convenient opportunity, but no later than five working days after receiving the request.
    4. The Appeals Committee will send to the student an outline of the procedures to be followed in the hearing. These may include, but are not limited to, who may attend the hearing, who may speak before the committee, and any documentation that is requested.
    5. The Appeals Committee must render a decision and respond to the student in writing within five working days following the hearing.
  4. The President—If the grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction by the Appeals Committee, the student may request a hearing in writing before the president of the College. The student must present his/her grievance in a signed and dated document to the office of the president within five working days of receiving the decision of the Appeals Committee. The president will outline for the student any guidelines to be followed in the hearing and will then grant a hearing at the earliest convenient time, but no later than five working days after receiving the request. The president's decision is final.
  5. The Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees—The president’s decision regarding the original grievance may not be appealed. The student may appeal to the Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees in writing only if there has been a violation of policy in the process of the College grievance procedure or because of actions that are prohibited by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008. The student must make this request to the president in writing, signed and dated, within five working days of receiving the decision of the president. The Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees will hear the student’s grievance at the first convenient opportunity and will communicate its decision to the student within 10 working days. The student shall have the burden of showing how a College policy or the student’s constitutional rights have been specifically violated in the conduct of the grievance procedure. The Personnel Committee will not render a separate decision on the original grievance itself, but will determine whether the grievant has received a fair hearing from the College in accordance with the Student Grievance Policy and whether there has been a violation of the student’s rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.
  6. The Board of Trustees—If the Personnel Committee rules against the student, the student may appeal in writing to the ruling to the full Board of Trustees only if the student can provide evidence of discrimination (based on a violation of College policy or the student’s constitutional rights) by the Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees, but may not appeal to the full Board of Trustees merely because the grievant disagrees with the decision of the Personnel Committee. The student must present this request to the president in writing, signed and dated, within five working days of receiving the decision of the Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will hear the student’s grievance at the first convenient opportunity and will communicate its decision to the student within 10 working days. The Board of Trustees will not render a separate decision on the original grievance itself, but will determine whether the grievant has received a fair hearing from the College and the Personnel Committee in accordance with the Student Grievance Policy and whether there has been a violation of the student’s rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.

Academic Grievance Procedure

An Academic Grievance must be initiated within one semester of the completion of the curriculum course in question and within three months of the completion of the continuing education or the adult basic education course in question. If the grievance is regarding an academic matter, the following steps must be followed:

  1. The Instructor—The student must go first to the instructor with whom he/she has the grievance. A conference with the instructor will be held to resolve the grievance informally.
  2. Supervisory Chain – If the informal conference with the instructor does not resolve the grievance, the student may appeal through the supervisory chain. Each appeal must be in writing within five working days from the date the student is notified of the decision.
    1. For curriculum courses, the supervisory chain (Formal Tracking Initiated) is the program head, division chair, dean of curriculum programs, and vice president for instructional services.
    2. For continuing education and adult basic education courses, the supervisory chain is coordinator (when applicable), director, and vice president for workforce development and continuing education.
  3. Standard Grievance Procedure – If the grievance is not resolved by the supervisory chain, then the student has access to the standard grievance procedure beginning with the Appeals Committee, which must be initiated within five working days of notification of the vice president’s decision.

Harassment (Title IX) Grievance Procedure

The following procedure is used to investigate allegations of harassment (Title IX).

  1. Title IX Coordinator – If the student grievance pertains to an allegation of harassment by either another student or an employee, the student may go directly to the Student Services counselor serving as the Title IX coordinator rather than to the offending person (Formal Tracking Initiated). Any person who receives knowledge of a student allegedly being harassed must report it to the Student Services counselor serving as the Title IX coordinator who will conduct an investigation. The Title IX coordinator may be able to remedy the situation and implement programming to prevent its re-occurrence. Both the accused and the accuser will be informed in writing of the investigation’s results. Students may choose to or decline to report allegations to law enforcement such as the School Resource Officer (SRO). Harassment grievances involving Randolph Early College High School (RECHS) students must be reported to RECHS teacher/staff. The employee harassment grievance procedures are in Employment Matters, Harassment and Discrimination, VI B 9. Note: The Title IX coordinator will inform the vice president for student services of investigations who may make recommendations for both remedies of the situation and program/policy changes that are beyond the scope of the Title IX coordinator’s responsibilities.
  2. Standard Grievance Procedure – If the grievance is not resolved by the Title IX coordinator, then either the accused or the accuser have access to the standard grievance procedure beginning with the Appeals Committee.

Distance Education Complaint Process for Out of State Students