Public Complaint Policy

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACs) requires its Accredited Institutions to have in place student grievance and public complaint policies and procedures that are reasonable, fairly administered, and well-publicized. 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.

Purpose

The institution is required to have adequate procedures for addressing student grievance and public written complaints, and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving complaints. This policy also addresses who is responsible for maintaining the relevant files.

Responsibility

Executive Cabinet, Human Resources and All Affected Managers

Procedure

Students

Students at Georgetown College have the right to be treated fairly and with integrity. Students are expected to treat others fairly and to act with integrity. There are procedures that outline student responsibilities and rights (i.e. The Judicial System, Honor System, Academic Grievance Procedure, etc.). The Provost/Dean of the College is the primary resource for resolving all student complaints on academic issues, and specific procedures for academic grievances are published in the college Catalog. The Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students is the primary resource for resolving all other student complaints. Students are encouraged to write, call or visit the appropriate office to report a concern. Formal complaints should be in writing and titled as “Formal Complaint.” A written response will be provided within 14 days.

Faculty & Staff

Staff employees should refer to Policy GCPP-4-07-01(Dispute Resolution) for the procedures for handling grievances. Faculty should refer to the Faculty Handbook for procedures relating to any grievances they may have.

 

Public Concerns / Complaints

Any written concern and or complaint from the public (e-mails and / or letters) should be directed to the appropriate area of the college for a response. Phone calls will be handled on a case by case basis with the appropriate person responding. The person responding to the call should advise the caller that formal action will require a formal, written complaint. Documentation, including written statements from the individual and any meeting notes, should be gathered and maintained in the appropriate office.

Record Retention

Documentation from grievances (student, faculty, staff, or the public) will be maintained in central locations, depending on the area involved. Staff grievances will be maintained in the Human Resources Office. Faculty grievances and student academic grievances will be located in the Provost’s Office. Documentation for other student grievances will be located in the VP of Student Life / Dean of Student’s Office. Documentation of public complaints will be maintained in the Public Relations Office.

Documentation should include written statements from the parties involved, notes from any meetings that take place and any decisions that were reached to resolve the issue at dispute. Everything should be dated and signed by the parties involved.

These files will be retained for a minimum of six years from the date of the incident for students and will be maintained for faculty and staff for no longer than seven years after the employee has left Georgetown College. Files for public complaints will be maintained for a minimum of five years.



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