Section 11 of the Chesapeake College Student Code of Conduct: Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure Policy
Goal: Conflict Resolution
Before invoking the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure, a reasonable effort shall be made by those involved in a dispute to resolve it amicably. A dispute is most effectively handled and resolved by those closest to the problem, having the best understanding of the issues, and having the ability to formulate a mutually acceptable resolution. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the student, the potential subject of a Grievance, and the College to resolve disputes through open and cooperative dialogue. Only when such efforts are unsuccessful should the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure be invoked. Throughout all phases of the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure, all reasonable efforts shall be made to maintain confidentiality in accordance with applicable law.
COMPLAINT: the informal, unwritten stage of an allegation of mistreatment.
DAY: as used in this policy, shall mean a calendar day.
GRIEVANCE: a written grievance filed by a student with the person designated by the President as the Student Grievance Officer specifically alleging an abridgment of his or her rights as a student.
GRIEVANT: the student filing the Grievance. The Grievant must have been a registered student of the College at the time of the alleged mistreatment.
INSTRUCTIONAL PERIOD: the academic semester, summer session or intersession when a grievable act or omission occurs. The Instructional Period shall end on the last day of final exams.
RESPONDING PARTY: the person against whom a complaint or Grievance is directed.
SENIOR OFFICER: senior level employee who reports to the President for the Responding Party’s work area.
STUDENT GRIEVANCE OFFICER: a College employee assigned responsibility for administering the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure, including the maintenance of specified records. The Student Grievance Officer shall ordinarily be the Dean of Students. If this individual is the person against whom the Grievance is filed, the President shall designate another College official to act as the Student Grievance Officer.
TIME: the number of days indicated at each level shall be considered as a maximum. All reasonable efforts shall be made to expedite the process, but the President or their designee may extend the time limits in extenuating circumstances with notice to both parties in writing, or by mutual written agreement between the Grievant and the Responding Party.
Utilizing the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure
The Student Grievance Procedure may be used by a student to address alleged abridgment of the student’s rights, as stated in the College’s Student Code of Conduct and/or Policy Guide. The student Grievant or the Responding Party may consult with the Student Grievance Officer at any time. The College’s Nonacademic Student Grievance Officer is the Dean of Students, except for complaints or grievances related to academic misconduct, grades, grading procedures, use of class time, etc. Academic grievances are directed to the respective supervising Academic Dean to be handled under the College’s academic grievance process.
The Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure may not be used to address allegations of discrimination, including sexual harassment. When a student believes that he/she/they have been discriminated against due to their race, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or national origin, the College’s Workplace Harassment/Discrimination Complaints policy is a mechanism for resolution. To file a complaint or get additional information, contact the Office of Human Resources (HR@chesapeake.edu) to obtain the complete Workplace Harassment/Discrimination Complaints policy. If a Grievance involves a grade dispute, a student shall process the Grievance in accordance with the Academic Grievance Procedure. However, if a grade dispute raises issues of discrimination or sexual harassment, the Grievance should be processed in accordance with the College’s Workplace Harassment/Discrimination Complaints policy and the Office of Human Resources shall conduct the process in collaboration with the Vice President of Workforce and Academic Programs or designee.
Claims of physical or sexual assault shall not proceed under the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure. A claim of physical assault alleged against a student shall be reported to the Code of Conduct Officer. A claim of physical assault alleged against an employee shall be reported to the Human Resources Office. A claim of sexual assault shall be reported to the College’s Title IX Coordinator and shall proceed under the College’s Title IX Policy. In matters involving physical or sexual assault, alleged victims are strongly encouraged to independently report the incident to the law enforcement authorities. The College’s Public Safety Department can assist with the reporting process.
At any level of the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure, either party may request mediation by contacting the Student Grievance Officer. Mediation shall be mutually agreed upon, and not unreasonably refused by either party. The Student Grievance Officer shall select an impartial mediator who shall be mutually agreed upon and not unreasonably refused by either party, make the arrangements, determine the timetable for the mediation process, and inform the parties of the timetable in writing. Where practicable, a mediation session shall be conducted no later than thirty (30) days after requested and agreed to by the parties. The purpose of mediation is to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of both parties. If a mediated resolution cannot be achieved, the Grievant may proceed with the Grievance Process. The Grievant has the right to be accompanied by any advisor of their own choosing and at their own expense throughout the grievance process. The advisor may be an attorney. An advisor’s role is limited to personally advising the Grievant only. An advisor is not permitted to participate directly in any aspect of the grievance process.
Except for under extenuating circumstances, as determined by the President or their designee, failure by a party to comply with the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure during the course of a Grievance may result in the waiving of the noncompliant party’s rights under the Procedure.
Level One - Informal Procedure
This is the informal stage where most complaints are resolved. The Grievant and the Responding Party should consult with the Student Grievance Officer at this time. A Grievant initiates the informal phase of the Grievance process. The Grievant shall first present their complaint orally and informally to the Responding Party. This shall be done in a reasonable period of time, not exceeding thirty (30) calendar days following the instructional period when a grievable act or omission occurs. The Responding Party must respond to the Grievant’s complaint within ten (10) days. Though this phase of the process is informal, the parties may present their positions in writing. If the matter is not resolved informally within ten (10) calendar days from the date a response to the complaint was due, the Grievant may proceed to Level Two.
Level Two - Formal Procedure
Prior to filing a written Grievance at Level Two, a Grievant must consult with the Student Grievance Officer. The Responding Party should also consult with the Student Grievance Officer at this phase of the process.
Level 2 - Step One
The Student Grievance Officer shall notify the parties in writing when a complaint is not resolved informally at Level One. The Grievant may, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the Student Grievance Officer’s written notice, file with the Student Grievance Officer a Grievance. The Grievance shall contain the following information: the name and title of the person(s) against whom the Grievance is directed, a statement of all known facts, documents and materials supporting the grievance, a list of individuals who have information pertinent to the grievance, and the relief sought by the Grievant. All supporting documents, if any, shall be attached to the grievance as part of the Grievance. The Grievance shall also state the date it is filed and that it is being filed at “Level Two, Step One.” The Grievance may be filed with the Student Grievance Officer by email, regular mail, certified mail, or in hand. Thereafter, the Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the Grievance, and all supporting documents, if any, to the Responding Party within five (5) calendar days. If the Responding Party is unavailable at the time the Grievance is filed, the Student Grievance Officer shall use reasonable means to deliver the Grievance within a reasonable period of time.
The Responding Party shall forward a written Level Two - Step One response to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days of their receipt of the Grievance. The Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the written response to the Grievant within five (5) calendar days of receipt.
Level 2 - Step Two (Supervisor Level)
If the Grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Grievant within ten (10) calendar days after their receipt of the Step One response, or if no written response is submitted, the Grievant may within ten (10) calendar days after the written response was received or due, request the Student Grievance Officer to forward the Grievance and response, if any, to the supervisor of the Responding Party, with a copy to the Senior Officer of the work area of the Responding Party.
The supervisor shall investigate the Grievance and confer with the Senior Officer. The supervisor shall forward their written decision to the Student Grievance Officer, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the Step Two Grievance. Thereafter, the Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the decision to the Grievant and the Responding Party within five (5) calendar days.
At any time before the issuance of the Supervisor’s Step Two decision, the Senior Officer may request that the parties meet to discuss the issue and attempt to resolve it.
No new issues or allegations may be raised by either party after Step Two.
Level 2 - Step Three (Student Grievance Committee Level)
If the Grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Grievant within the period allowed at Level Two - Step Two, the Grievant may request a hearing before a Student Grievance Committee. Such a request must be in writing and presented to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days from the issuance of the Supervisor’s Level Two - Step Two decision.
Within ten (10) calendar days of the Student Grievance Officer’s receipt of the Grievant’s request for a hearing, the Student Grievance Officer shall arrange a hearing before a Student Grievance Committee. The Student Grievance Officer shall use reasonable efforts to schedule the hearing at a time mutually convenient to the parties. At least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing, the Student Grievance Officer shall provide each member of the Committee and all parties to the Grievance with copies of the Grievance, responses to the Grievance, decisions issued, and all relevant supporting documentation and materials. The Committee’s make-up and hearing rules are discussed later in this policy.
The Committee shall deliver its findings and recommendations to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days following the hearing. A copy of the Committee’s findings and recommendations shall be delivered to the President or their designee, within five (5) calendar days of receipt. Within ten (10) calendar days of the President’s receipt of the Committee’s findings and recommendations, the President or their designee shall issue a written statement accepting, modifying or rejecting the Committee’s recommendations.
The decision of the President, or their designee, shall be final and binding on all parties.
Membership of the Student Grievance Committee
The composition of the College’s Student Grievance Committee shall consist of five members: one student, one faculty member, and college staff. The President or their designee shall appoint each member from among the recommendations submitted by the Student Grievance Officer. Service on the Committee shall be voluntary, provided that a member who has a personal interest in a particular Grievance shall be ineligible to serve on the Grievance Committee.
All Student Grievance Committee members, as well as all others in attendance at a student Grievance proceeding, shall maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings. The Student Grievance Officer shall attend all Committee hearings but shall not vote.
Student Grievance Committee Hearing and Decision Guidelines
The following guidelines provide the framework for conducting a Student Grievance Committee Hearing:
A student may withdraw their complaint or Grievance at any time. Withdrawal must be accomplished in writing or by oral agreement confirmed in writing.
No member of the College community shall retaliate or threaten to retaliate against, interfere with, restrain, or coerce any student in the exercise of their rights under the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure or their participation in any Grievance proceedings.
Collateral Rights of Person Grieved By Student
If the recommendations made at any level of the Grievance procedure result in sanctions against a college employee, the sanctions shall be regarded as administrative actions subject to all conditions of applicable College policies.
Filing a Grievance in accordance with the Nonacademic Student Grievance Procedure in no way abrogates a student’s right to file a complaint with an appropriate state or federal agency or in another forum.
Interpretation and Revision
The CCA or designee will develop procedural rules for the administration of hearings that are consistent with provisions of the Student Code of Conduct. Material deviation from these rules will, generally, only be made as necessary and will include reasonable advance notice to the parties involved, either by posting online and/or in the form of written communication. The CCA or designee may vary procedures with notice upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this Code. The CCA or designee may recommend minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Any question of interpretation of the Student Code of Conduct will be referred to the CCA or designee, whose interpretation is final. The Student Code of Conduct will be reviewed annually, with a comprehensive revision process being conducted every 5 years or as deemed appropriate by the Chief Student Affairs Officer.