Students’ Rights and Grievance Procedures

Students’ Rights and Grievance Procedures

Procedures for Student Appeals

When a student is expelled or suspended by action of the Judiciary Committee, such student shall have the right to appeal in accordance with the following procedures.

  1. The person expelled or suspended shall appeal in a typewritten letter to the president of the institution, with a copy to the Vice President for Students Affairs within five days after the receipt of the decision rendered. The President of the institution, within five days, appoints a committee composed of three members of the faculty of the institution or utilizes the service of an appropriate existing committee. This committee shall review all facts and circumstances connected with the case and shall within five days make its findings and report thereon to the President. After consideration of the committee’s report, the President shall within five days make a decision which shall be final so far as the institution is concerned.
  2. A student may appeal on grounds that the evidence was not sufficient to find him or her in violation of the Student Code of Conduct or other specified relevant grounds. In either case, he or she shall clearly state his ground for appeal in his or her typewritten statement.
  3. The President shall be given a tape recording and/or a written summary of the proceedings in the original hearing of the Judiciary Committee. If a verbatim transcript has been made, it should be made available to the President for his or her consideration.
  4. Should the expelled or suspended person be dissatisfied with the decision of the President, he shall have the right to apply in writing to the Board of Regents for a review. An application to the Board of Regents shall be submitted in writing to the Executive Secretary of the Board within a period of five days after the President’s decision and shall cite all reasons for dissatisfaction with the previous decision.

Disciplinary Actions

  1. Disciplinary Procedures

All acts of misconduct on the part of students shall be reported in writing to the Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management, who is designated the principal administrator to enforce university disciplinary measure as they pertain to student misconduct. Each complaint shall contain a statement or facts outlining each alleged act of misconduct, and shall state each regulation which the student is alleged to have violated.

  1. The Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management shall cause to be investigated alleged acts of student misconduct reported to him or her. He or she may appoint a staff member(s) to conduct an inquiry into alleged acts of misconduct and the appointed member(s) shall recommend to the Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management what further action is indicated. The Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management shall notify the accused student in writing.
  2. When written notification is made by the Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management to the student for alleged violations, it shall contain a statement of the nature of the alleged or suspected misconduct, and state the section(s) of the conduct code the student(s) is/are alleged to have violated.
  3. The Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management will normally confer with the accused student(s), and at this conference, the student(s) may admit or deny the alleged violations. The student(s) may waive further hearing and appeals in writing and request that the Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management or his/her designee take appropriate action, or she/he may request a hearing as specified in Section VIIIE and VIIIF below.
  4. Cases of misconduct which may result in suspension or expulsion will normally be referred to the Judiciary Committee, which shall hear and try these cases. (This does not preclude possible legal actions by appropriate civil or criminal law enforcement agencies in those cases in violation of federal, state or local laws.)
  5. Cases of misconduct of a less serious nature that do not result in suspension or expulsion will normally be referred to the Student Court, which shall hear and try cases on the part of any student.

Disruptive Behaviors

The following is the policy of the Board of Regents regarding disruptive behavior in any institution of the University System.

“Any student, faculty member, administrator, or employee, acting individually or in concert with others, who clearly obstructs or disrupts, or attempts to obstruct or disrupt any teaching, research, administrative, disciplinary, or public service activity, or any other activity authorized to be discharged or held on any campus of the University System is considered by the Board to have committed an act of gross irresponsibility and shall be subject to disciplinary procedures, possibly resulting in dismissal or termination of employment. (BR Minutes, 1968-69, pp. 166-168; 1970-71, p. 98)”

Student Grievance against Instructor
The University strongly promotes the fair exercise of due process for the student. Committees for Student Grievances are established annually at the University to hear cases related to academic and other student grievances resulting from actions of faculty and administrative staff members. It is the student’s responsibility to understand these rights and procedures.

Purpose
The purpose of the following procedures is to resolve grievances pertaining to academic matters or other such matters resulting from actions of faculty and administrative staff members. Procedures set forth in this document relate to two types of grievances: (1) academic grievances, (2) other student grievances. Examples of grievances contained within these two categories are listed in this publication and are located in the Office of the Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management. Resolution should be achieved at the lowest administrative level and in the most equitable way possible. The burden of proof rests with the complainant.


Steps toward Redress

A student who feels that he/she has a grievance should first seek to resolve this by discussion with the faculty or administrative staff member involved. When the informal means fail to resolve the problem, the student may file a grievance. The two procedures to follow are outlined below, depending on the nature of the grievance.

A. Academic Grievance (a problem which occurs in the classroom or which is related to a student’s program of study.)

  1. Consult with the instructor, if a classroom situation, and submit a written statement or complaint within 30 days of the end of the quarter in which the grievance occurs.
  2. Students should address their concerns about particular courses and situations directly to and only to the specific and appropriate faculty member of that course.
  3. Only after all avenues of problem solving activities have been exhausted with the faculty member, should the student request a meeting with the program coordinator or Department Chair.
  4. If agreement on or compromise of the problem is not achieved, direct the grievance in writing to the Department Chair (within ten days of the instructor’s decision). If there is no Department Chair or Program Coordinator, then one seeks resolution from the Dean of the School.
  5. If, at the level of the Department Chair, agreement on or compromise of the problem is not achieved; direct the grievance to the Dean of the College (within ten days of the Department decision).
  6. If still not satisfied that a fair and equitable solution has been found, direct the written grievance to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (within ten days of the Dean of the college’s decision).
  7. As a last resort and only after steps 1-4 above have been carried out, or have been conscientiously attempted; direct the grievance in writing to the President of the University (within ten days of the Vice President for Academic Affairs’ decision), who will refer it to the Student Academic Grievance Committee for its recommendation before rendering a decision.

B. Other Student Grievances (Any problem which occurs outside of the classroom or is not related to a student’s program of study. Please refer to Section XV for the procedure to be followed for sexual harassment complaints.)

  1. Within 10 days of the occurrence, the student will initiate a conference with the administrative staff member involved. The grievance should be in the form of a written statement indicating what the student believed is wrong and what remedy is expected of the administrator. Following the conference, the administrative staff member will complete a written summation of the conference, and reply to the grievance. This reply will be given to the student and a copy forwarded to the administrator’s immediate supervisor.
  2. If agreement on, or compromise of the problem is not achieved, the student may direct the grievance in writing to the immediate supervisor of the administrator within five (5) days after receiving the reply from the initial conference, stating why the original reply is not satisfactory. The supervisor will follow the same procedure outlined in Step 1 in writing a summation and will forward it the administrator to the President of the University.
  3. The President of the University will refer the grievance to the Student Grievance Committee. The committee will review the case and make a recommendation to the President, who will inform the student of his decision.

C. Grievance Committees

Guidelines for membership of the Student Academic Grievance and Student Grievance Committees are located in the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Students Affairs.  Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedures for Students/Employees Fort Valley State University


A. Policy on Discrimination and Harassment
The University is committed to creating and maintaining a learning and working environment free from all forms of discrimination and harassment on the grounds of disability, age, sex, race, national origin, or color and the University’s own related policies. Staff and students are responsible for ensuring that their own behavior contributes to the maintenance of learning and work environment free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment. The University also expects management to provide a harassment free environment and a commitment to the procedures for dealing with complaints of discrimination and harassment.

B. Accommodations
Title II of the ADA addresses the right of access to public services by individuals with disabilities. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Handbook (U.S. Department of Justice, 1991), the purpose of Title II is to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of handicap in all services, programs, and activities provided or made available by local or state governments and their affiliate agencies,” regardless of whether they receive federal funding. Although   many public services are covered under ADA Title II, so, too, is the right of equal access to postsecondary education settings.

Therefore the Academic Counseling & Disability Services Center was created and functions to increase retention for students with learning disorders by ensuring equal treatment, opportunity, and access for persons with impairments and/or disorders. The center provides support services which assist students with learning disorders in the attainment of their academic as well as personal potential. Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act define a disabled person as someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Such a person must have a record of the impairment or regarded as having such impairment. Fort Valley State University will grant reasonable accommodations and provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to ensure all qualified students achieve access to its programs and services

C. Definitions
Discrimination and harassment cover a range of verbal and physical behavior which is unwelcome and unsolicited.

  1. Discrimination includes both direct and indirect discrimination that disadvantages and individual and/or groups in employment and/or education. Direct discrimination refers to individual actions or behavior usually resulting from prejudiced or stereotypical thinking; indirect discrimination involves instances where certain people are unreasonably excluded or otherwise disadvantaged by apparently neutral policies, practices, procedures or decisions which are unfair or unequal in their effect.
  2. Harassment occurs when behavior and/or language is found to be offensive: it does not apply to reciprocal behavior or banter of a private nature which neither party finds offensive.
  3. Any behavior which is personally offensive debilitates morale or interferes with employee or student work effectiveness in making reference to gender, marital status, pregnancy, homosexuality, race, national origin, physical and intellectual disability, religious belief, political opinion or age may constitute discrimination and/or harassment.

D. Steps toward Resolution
The University has a special procedure for dealing with complaints that are about discrimination or harassment between students and between staff and students. These are called Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedures for Students/Employees. They are different from student and academic grievance procedures.

  1. Jurisdiction: If a University student/employee believes he or she has been discriminated against or harassed because of his or her sex, race, national origin, religion, disability, or age by any University personnel or student, he or she has the right to seek a review of such concerns. The Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Officer will deal with complaints or discrimination or harassment made by students against staff, while the Judiciary Committee will handle student complaints or discrimination or harassment against other students. The Grievance Hearing Committee will handle employee complaints of discrimination or harassment.  Both offices shall have the authority to conduct inquiries into student/employee grievances related to discrimination and harassment, to attempt resolution of those grievances, and to present to the appropriate Vice President its recommendations for a suitable response to the grievance it has considered.
  1. Informal Procedure: Prior to submitting a formal complaint, an aggrieved student/employee may attempt through informal means to resolve the grievance satisfactorily. The student/employee should first attempt to resolve the grievance or complaint informally with the employee or student involved in the dispute and/or his/her supervisor or the student committee/body involved in the dispute. If the attempt to resolve the matter informally is unsuccessful, the aggrieved student/employee is encouraged to consult, as appropriate, with the advisor of the student, or the Unit/Department Head. The student/employee may request mediation, by contacting the Student Judicial Affairs Office, as an alternative form of dispute resolution before submitting a formal written complaint.
  2. Formal Procedure: A student/employee who wishes to file a formal grievance may do so by submitting a signed letter in writing to the Coordinator and Director of Equal Opportunity Program within 180 day of the alleged offense. Complaints must be filed in writing, on the form below, and must contain the name, address, and telephone number of the person(s) filing the grievance and a description of the alleged violation. The AA/EEO Officer will promptly undertake an investigation. He or she will provide a written finding to the student/employee, the Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management, and any other appropriate Vice President within 60 days.
  3. Retaliation: A student/employee who makes use of the grievance procedure shall not be retaliated against for doing so. A student/employee may choose another student or faculty/staff persons to accompany him/her through the steps of the procedure.
  4. Appeal: A student/employee who believes that a grievance has not been resolved satisfactorily after a formal review is conducted may appeal the outcome to the President of the University. Such an appeal shall be in writing and signed by the student/employee within five days after receipt of the decision rendered. The President shall make a determination on the appeal and promptly inform the student/employee in writing of that determination.

E. Notice of Non-Discrimination
Fort Valley State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies. All complaints, excluding those filled against the Coordinator, should be addressed to:

Ms. Denise Eady
Title IX/ADA/Section 504/Title II
Coordinator and Director of Equal Opportunity Programs
C.V. Troup Building, Room 106
Fort Valley State University
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Telephone: (478) 825-6333
All complaints filed against the Coordinator should be addressed to:
President
Fort Valley State University
C.V. Troup Administration Building, Suite 349
Fort Valley State University
Fort Valley, Georgia 31030
Telephone: (478) 825-6315

****To obtain a Grievance Form, please go to Room 106 in the C.V. Troup Administrative Building or send a request to graduatestudies@fvsu.edu .  

Please return to the Title IX/ADA/Section 504/Title II Coordinator, Room 106 of Troup Administration Building, for all grievances.  For all grievances filed against the Coordinator, return this form to the Office of the President, C.V. Troup Administration Building, (478) 825-6315.  Persons with disabilities may request assistance in completing this form. Contact the Office of Academic Counseling & Disability Services in Room 127, Peabody Hall, and (478) 825-6744.