Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences recognizes the importance of providing a prompt and efficient procedure for fair and equitable resolutions of a grievance or appeal. The primary purpose of the Grievance Policy and Procedures is to ensure that students have the opportunity to present grievances to the appropriate College faculty and/or administration regarding certain action(s) or inaction(s) by a member of the College community and that the College has a consistent way of resolving those grievances in a fair and timely manner. Accordingly, students are encouraged to use the grievance or appeal process without fear, prejudice, or reprisal for initiating the process or participating in its resolution.
The Grievance Policy and Procedures are only available to a student when no other specific policy or procedure is available. For example, procedures for appealing grades are found in the “Appeal of a Grade” section and procedures for addressing sex discrimination and sexual harassment are published along with the College’s Title IX: Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy. Further, the Grievance Policy and Procedures cannot be used as an additional avenue for appealing an issue that has already been resolved pursuant to a different set of College procedures.
An academic grievance is defined as any situation affecting the status of a student in which the student believes his/her rights have been compromised or denied because of one of the following: a) an arbitrary and/or capricious action on the part of a faculty member, including dismissal from a program in accordance with college policy, b) application of standards different from those that were applied to other students in the same course or program c) other issues that are not concerning a grade. For grade concerns please adhere to the Appeal of a Course Grade Policy.
A non-academic grievance or appeal is an allegation by a student concerning
a) a college employee,
b) administrative policies, procedures, regulations or requirements of the college,
c) actions impeding a campus climate of intellectual diversity,
d) student employment,
e) student misconduct,
f) financial issues or
g) a college program, service or activity.
Students should make every attempt to informally resolve grievances, and should attempt to resolve any disputes regarding any matters with the College representative involved. If a situation cannot be informally resolved, formal student grievances follow the formal grievance procedure listed below.
Student Appeals, Conduct and Grievance Committee
The Program Director or the Dean of Students will request that a Student Appeals, Conduct, and Grievance Committee be formed when deemed necessary following the review of a student incident. This committee will function as a standalone committee when necessary.
- Chair of the Student Appeals, Conduct and Grievance Committee (Facilitator)-In the event that the Chair is involved in the incident, the Academic Dean will appoint a chair.
- Dean of Students
- Two faculty members who are not involved in the incident will be selected by the Chair of the committee.
- The student will make a good faith effort to resolve the conflict with the involved party within five (5) academic days of the incident. The student is to meet with or make an appointment with the involved party to discuss the incident. The faculty or staff member must respond back to the student within five (5) days.
- The goal of this meeting is to agree on a resolution to the incident, and the results of this meeting will be documented by the involved faculty/staff member. If the student feels that is not an option they may meet directly with the Dean of Students who will communicate with the Program Directors as needed. A joint investigate of the incident including documenting the findings, and saving them on the college S drive in a password-protected file.
- After the Dean of Students and/or the Program Director finish their investigation they will meet with the student to propose a resolution to the situation or recommend that the Student Appeals, Conduct, and Grievance Committee be convened. This will be documented and housed on the college S drive in a password-protected file.
- In the event that no resolution is found, the Chair of the Student Appeals, Conduct, and Grievance Committee will be informed by the Dean of Students or the Program Director with instructions to call a committee together within 3 academic days.
- The student then will have the opportunity for a hearing before the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee, and the results of this meeting will be documented by the Chair of the Student Appeals, Conduct, and Grievance Committee and housed on the college S drive in a password protected file.
Throughout the entire Grievance process, both involved parties have procedural guarantees as outlined. It is required that all steps be carried out within the prescribed time limits. Failure to do so on the part of the student may negate the grievance. The four-step process is described below:
The student will submit a typed statement of the Grievance complaint to the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee within five working days. Upon receipt of this statement, the Chair of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee will:
- Notify the student(s) of the right to select a faculty/staff advocate though selecting one is not required. In the instance of a grievance filed by a student group, the student group may be represented at the meeting referenced below by no more than two currently enrolled Saint Luke’s College students, and these students may be accompanied by a faculty/staff advocate. Faculty advocates will have no vote in the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee decision. The role of the faculty advocate is to support the student(s) in regard to procedural and/or substantive (relating directly to the allegation) areas. It is the student’s responsibilities to contact the advocate and obtain his/her consent to serve as an advocate.
- Appoint college representatives to the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee.
- Forward a copy of the Grievance complaint to members of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee. If the involved party is the Chair, the Academic Dean will appoint a replacement Chair for the hearing; and forward a copy of the Grievance complaint to the involved party/parties.
The Chair of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee will schedule a meeting of the Committee and all involved individuals to hear the grievance. The Dean of Students or administrative designee from the College will join the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee. If a Grievance complaint is filed against a member of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee, that faculty member will not participate as a member of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee. Every effort will be made to use a variety of members to serve on the committee.
A student may also raise the issue of a potential conflict of interest by filing a written declaration of such with the Chair of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee. Members of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee are also expected to discuss recusal with the Chair if they have a conflict of interest that could reasonably lead to bias or the perception thereof. The Chair has the final say on all potential conflicts of interest that are raised. All members of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee are expected to participate in a grievance hearing unless recused due to a conflict of interest or for some other extenuating circumstance (with the absence being discussed and approved by the Chair in advance).
The meeting will be scheduled no later than 15 academic days following the Chair’s receipt of the Grievance. The Chair may extend this time period for extenuating circumstances only. The Chair will initiate communications with the student and involved party/parties within five academic days of the time that the Grievance is filed with the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee to set the hearing date. The Chair may seek advice on procedural matters about the grievance from the Academic Dean or College attorney.
The purpose of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee is to gather pertinent information in a fair and impartial manner. Within three (3) academic days of receipt of the meeting notification from the Chair of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee, all involved individuals in the grievance will provide the committee:
- A copy of any and/or all documentation regarding the issue that the student identified in the Grievance statement;
- Information regarding a declared documented disability if it is relevant to the issue identified by the student in his/her grievance statement;
- The names of witnesses to the conflict. The student and the involved party/parties will be responsible for notifying their witnesses of the date, time and place of the meeting in which they, are to testify. Prior to the meeting of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee, the student and the involved party/parties will be provided a list of the members of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee, and the opportunity to review all of the documentation and the list of witnesses submitted to the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee by all involved parties. In the event that the documentary evidence or the names of witnesses are not available by the deadline, both parties will be given time at the beginning of the proceeding to review the material submitted. All parties will be invited to be present during the meeting in which the student’s grievance is addressed. Witnesses may be present only during the time that their testimony is required. However, the individual against whom the grievance is filed is not required to give evidence and will be so informed at the beginning of the proceeding. The role of the faculty advocate during the hearing process is to support the student(s). This faculty advocate may not question any witnesses or hearing members.
The process of the hearing will progress as follows:
1. Opening Remarks by Chair: Purpose of convening is to hear grievance brought by the student Official record of proceedings will be collected via documentation that will be stored on the College S drive in a password-protected file.
2. Introductions: State name, role (grievant, faculty advocate, involved party/parties, members of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee), and level of students represented (junior, senior).
3. Due Process (Chair to explain the steps leading to the hearing phase).
4. Procedure (Chair to explain items): Role of the Chair, May consult with legal counsel, Witnesses present only during testimony, Involved faculty/staff and party/parties not required to give testimony or evidence
5. Confirmation of no conflict of interest to be presented.
6. Statement of confidentiality to be read to each new party to the hearing.
7. Chair to ask if there are any questions before hearing the grievance.
8. Presentation of the grievance and testimony by grievant student.
9. Questioning of grievant by Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee (involved party faculty or staff member] may request that the Chair ask specific questions of the grievant on his/her behalf; Chair will ask questions that are deemed appropriate).
10. Testimony of witnesses for the grievant.
11. Questioning of witnesses for the grievant by the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee.
12. Chair dismisses each witness and calls for the next during this procedure.
13. Presentation of testimony by the involved party if party desires (optional).
14. Questioning of involved party/parties by Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee (grievant may request that the Chair ask specific questions of the involved party on his/her behalf; Chair will ask questions that are deemed appropriate in the Chair’s discretion).
15. Testimony of witnesses for the involved party.
16. Questioning of witnesses for the involved party by the grievant.
17. Questioning of witnesses for the involved party by Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee.
18. Presentation of counter evidence by grievant (optional).
19. Presentation of counter evidence by involved party (optional).
20. Any hearing panel member may ask final questions (if any) of either party if desired.
21. Summary by the grievant to be presented.
22. Summary by the involved party to be presented.
Closure of hearing by the Chair
Minutes of the proceeding will be documented. All participants will maintain strict confidentiality of the proceedings and outcome of the entire Grievance process. All records related to the proceedings will be collected by the Chair of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee and secured in the Office of Registrar for 8 years. All photocopied material (other than that required for archiving) will be shredded immediately after the hearing. Deliberations of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee, and its final decision will be made in closed session. The vote for the final decision will consist of a simple majority of the voting members and will be anonymous. The Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee will base its decision upon all of the evidence provided at the hearing. Upon reaching a decision, the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee will prepare a written summary of the hearing, including the final decision on the grievance and the recommendation. The Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee will forward the written summary and recommendation(s) to the appropriate Program Director within three (3) academic days after completing deliberations. The written summary and recommendations of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee are advisory in nature and will not be provided to the student who filed the grievance or the involved party.
The appropriate Program Director/Dean of Students will notify the involved party and the student who filed the grievance in writing of the committee’s decision by email. This should normally take place within five academic days from the time the Program Director/Dean of students is notified by the committee. The student has a final appeal option with the Academic Dean for academic grievances and then the President of the College for all grievances. The Academic Dean or President may accept, modify or reject the recommendations of the Student Appeals, Conduct & Grievances Committee. The decision of the President shall be final and not subject to further appeal. The student has the right to continue class as scheduled until such time as the notification of the final decision is received. At that point, the President’s decision and any disciplinary or remedial measures described in the decision letter will take effect.
Filing Grievances with Outside Agencies
In some circumstances, aggrieved students may also file grievances with the Missouri Department of Higher Education or the College’s accrediting agencies.
- The Higher Learning Commission’s complaints webpage is located at https://www.ncahlc.org/HLC-Institutions/complaints.html
- Complaints filed with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) can be directed to the “CCNE Complaints Administrator” and send to the CCNE office at One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036. Additional information is available on CCNE’s website, available at http://www.aacn.nche.edu/
- The Missouri Department of Higher Education’s complaint procedures is available at http://dhe.mo.gov/documents/POLICYONCOMPLAINTRESOLUTION-reviseddraft.pdf
Saint Luke’s College Policy AP-041