The Fifth-Year Interim Report

Part III: The Fifth-Year Compliance Certification


4.5 Student Complaints

The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints.

Judgment of Compliance

Compliance

Narrative

Alcorn State University (ASU) has a grievance/complaint process that encourages students to file the grievance/complaint in the area where the matter occurred.  The student grievance/complaint is remanded to the relevant office if the complainant does not follow the outlined grievance procedures. Students may file a grievance/complaint in writing or enter the complaint into Go.alcorn.edu in the student complaint portal. Introduced in the summer of 2015, Go.alcorn.edu is a comprehensive, web-based self-serve resource that allows students to track grievance/complaints from point of origination to final disposition. If the student utilizes Go.alcorn.edu, the grievance/complaint is routed to the appropriate individual for the appropriate resolution. A grievance/sample complaint log documents how complaints are received in the portal. Policies and procedures for student complaints are published in the ASU Student Handbook and on the Academic Affairs website. Additionally, all freshman students are required to take the University Life course. In this course, students are advised on how to appropriately file grievances/complaints and appeals. It is the policy of ASU to retain student grievances five years after the final decision on the grievance.

Grievances/complaints originate at the department or non-academic unit. If complaints are not settled at the departmental level, then they go to dean, provost, and finally the president. A sample of departmental complaint logs is attached. ASU has a general grievance/complaint policy that must be followed by all department/units and individual departments/units may have more specific requirements and forms for particular complaint appeals (also considered complaints). The sections that follow provide all relevant policies and procedures beginning with the university level grievance policy and complaints procedure, followed by the specific complaints and appeals processes. Each section includes a description of the process with a link, where/how it is published, the responsible office where records are kept, and an example of the complaint that have been filed.

Alcorn State University Grievance Policy

The ASU grievance policy states, “A student grievance should be reported within fifteen days to the department chairperson or director responsible for the unit where the grievance originates. The department chairperson has five days to respond to the grievance. If the student wants to appeal the decision of the department chairperson, the student must appeal within five days to the dean of the school or the administrative official who oversees the unit. If the student desires to make a further appeal, the student may appeal to the provost for academic issues or the appropriate vice president exercising jurisdiction over where the incident occurred.

For non-academic complaints, the student may appeal to the vice president for student affairs. The vice president of student affairs shall confer with the student and if the grievance is not resolved, a standing committee or appointed three to five member committee will hear the official matter. The student may represent himself/herself or request the assistance of another student. The hearing will be held within ten days of receipt of the grievance by the vice president of student affairs or a designee. The vice president of student affairs will inform the student of the committee’s decision. The student may appeal to the university president and the president’s decision is final.

Procedures for Addressing Written Complaints

All complaints made by students shall be investigated by an appropriate university official. If the complaint is of an academic nature, the Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for appointing one or more appropriate persons to conduct the investigation. If the complaint is of a non-academic nature, the Vice President for Student Affairs is responsible for appointing one or more appropriate persons to conduct the investigation.

The student (complainant) shall be notified in writing as to the status of the complaint. Any complaint that is made directly to the university president shall be transmitted to the proper university official for investigation. The student shall be informed in writing of the final finding/decision regarding the complaint. If a student is not satisfied with the result decision regarding the complaint, the student may appeal to the university president. The decision of the university president is final.

ADA Section 504 Grievance Policy

The ADA Section 504 Grievance Policy is published on the Health and Disability Office’s website and describes the procedures to file a complaint based on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). There have been no complaints filed within the last five years.

Residence Life Complaint
The Office of Residence Life is responsible for handling all residence life complaints. Students may initiate a complaint by going to the website to fill out an initial complaint form . After the complaint is received, the student may be asked to complete a student statement and report to the area coordinator. In most cases, a “Living Learning Agreement” is completed by all of the parties in effort to resolve the matter. If the matter is not resolved after the Living Learning Agreement is in place, then the matter will follow the general university grievance policy.

Sexual Harassment/Misconduct Complaint

The Director of Educational Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Coordinator is responsible for receiving and processing all educational equity, inclusion, harassment, and Title IX complaints. Students can go to the Educational Equity and Inclusion/Title IX website and complete the Confidential Contact Form or campus police to file a grievance/complaint concerning any educational equity, inclusion, harassment, or Title IX violations. Students can also go to either office and file an in-person complaint.

Disciplinary Appeals
The Office of Judicial Affairs handles all disciplinary appeals and students may go to the ASU Student Handbook where all policy and due process procedures for student conduct appeals are outlined. The appeals process is verbally relayed to the student at the close of the conduct hearing and outlined in the letter of finding sent to the student.

Financial Aid Appeals
The Office of Financial Aid oversees the appeal policy related to failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). The procedure is publicized in the Office of Financial Aid website, ASU Undergraduate Catalog, and Student Handbook. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee, composed of faculty and staff of the university, will hear and make a ruling on the appeal.

Grade Appeals
The student has fourteen calendar days from the first day of the semester following the term in which the grade was earned to consult with the faculty member to review the final grade assigned and thereby initiate the appeal. Students should note the following statement: Course grades assigned by School faculty, as a general, are final. Thus, barring substantial evidence that the grade was influenced by consideration of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, disability or national origin, arbitrary or capricious action, or other reasons unrelated to student academic performance, the instructor’s grade will stand. In all cases, the student bears the burden of proof with respect to the allegation(s).  The grade appeal form is on the Academic Affairs website. Attached is a sample grade appeal form.

Parking Appeals
Parking citations may be appealed following the process outlined on the Department of Parking Operations and in the ASU Student Handbook (p115). To file a parking appeal, students must log into their Banner account to view outstanding citations and select the appeals option. Notification of the appeals date and time is sent by email to the student. The appeals committee is comprised of faculty, staff, and students from Alcorn State University.

Student Records Appeals
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a student who believes information to be inaccurate, incomplete, inappropriate, or misleading may challenge the data contained in his/her education record. The Office of the Registrar publishes the FERPA policy on its page of the university webpage and reproduces the same in the ASU Student Handbook and in the ASU Undergraduate Catalog and ASU Graduate catalog.  A student may challenge information in person at the Office of the Registrar, during normal business hours or by mail with proper identification. The Registrar reviews the complaint and investigates the complaint.  The procedural steps are outlined in the annual notification (Click here).  There have been no such complaints within the past five years.


TextTitle 
Go.alcorn.edu go.alcorn.edu Screenshot
sample complaint log Student Complaint Log
ASU Student Handbook Student Handbook pages112-113
Academic Affairs website University Grieviencee Policy - Academic Affairs
course UL 101 University Life Course Syllabus
policy of ASU Document Retention Grievances - alcorn.edu
sample of departmental complaint logs Complaint Log Education and English
ASU grievance policy states ASU grievance policy states
ADA Section 504 Grievance Policy ADA Section 504 Grievance Policy
initial complaint form Student Complaint Form - Residence Life - alcorn.edu
complaint Residence Life Complaint Form
Educational Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Educational Equity and Inclusion/Title IX
harassment, Harassment Complaint
Confidential Contact Form Confidential Contact Form
campus police Confidential Crime Reporting Form - Campus Police
disciplinary appeals disciplinary appeals
ASU Student Handbook Student Handbook pages 106-108
satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards - Financial Aid - alcorn.edu
Office of Financial Aid website SAPAppeal Process
ASU Undergraduate Catalog Undergraduate Catalog page 70
Student Handbook Student Handbook pages 22-25
Financial Aid Appeals Committee SAP Appeal
grade appeal form Grade Appeal Form - alcorn.edu
grade appeal form Student Grade Appeal Form
Department of Parking Operations Parking Services - alcorn.edu
ASU Student Handbook (p115) Student Handbook page 115 116
Notification of the appeals Parking Appeal Hearing Notification
appeals committee Parking Appeal Hearing Detail Report
FERPA policy FERPA - Registrar webpage
ASU Student Handbook Student Handbook pages 10-11
ASU Undergraduate Catalog ASU Undergraduate Catalog
ASU Graduate catalog Graduate Catalog pages 53-55
Click here Registrar's complaint procedure