Policy 130.70

Student Grievance Procedures

Owner:  Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer

  1. Introduction

    1. In accordance with the Board of Regents Policy V–1.00 Policy on Student Affairs, approved on January 11, 1990, these procedures are for students who wish to seek redress for the acts or omissions of individual UMGC faculty or staff members, or UMGC academic departments or administrative units.

    2. Allegations of arbitrary and capricious grading will be processed under UMGC Policy 130.80 – Procedures for Review of Alleged Arbitrary and Capricious Grading. An allegation made by a student against another student will be processed under UMGC Policy 151.00 – Code of Student Conduct. Allegations of plagiarism against students will be processed under UMGC Policy 150.25 – Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism. Allegations of discrimination or harassment will be processed in accordance with UMGC Policy 040.30 – Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, and UMGC Policy 041.00 – Sexual Misconduct.

    3. When filing a student grievance under these Procedures, the burden of proof rests upon the student to provide clear and convincing evidence. See Section III. Procedures.

  2. Definitions

    1. The term "conference" refers to a communication between two or more individuals by telephone, in writing (including but not limited to e–mail, fax, or posted letter), through videoconferencing, or in person.

    2. The "administrator" for complaints against UMGC Stateside undergraduate or graduate programs faculty, staff, academic departments, or administrative units is the Deputy Chief Academic Officer or designee. The administrator for complaints against UMGC Europe or UMGC Asia faculty, staff, academic departments or administrative units is the Vice President and Director, Europe Operations or Vice President and Director, Asia Operations or designee.

    3. The "respondent" refers to the individual UMGC faculty or staff member or UMGC academic departments or administrative units against whom the formal complaint is filed.

  3. Procedures

    1. Students who wish to seek redress for the acts or omissions of a respondent must first request a conference with the respondent and attempt to resolve the complaint informally within 14 calendar days of the alleged act or omission.

    2. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, the student may file a formal complaint in writing to the administrator within 30 calendar days of the alleged act or omission. (If a Student Grievance is filed against the administrator, the formal complaint may be filed with the Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer (SVP/CAO). The written complaint must include:

      1. A concise description of the act or omission,

      2. All facts relevant to the grievance,

      3. The resolution sought,

      4. All arguments in support of the desired solution, and

      5. Relevant supporting documentation.

    3. Upon receipt of the complaint, the administrator will immediately inform the respondent, in writing, of the alleged act or omission. Within 30 calendar days of receipt of the complaint, the administrator will conduct a preliminary administrative inquiry, which can be staffed by the administrator's designee(s). All material reviewed will be considered confidential and shared only with those with a need to know. The administrator or designee(s) may communicate with the respondent and give the respondent the opportunity to present any relevant evidence. The administrator will dismiss the complaint if the student has failed to comply with procedure or if there is no evidence of the alleged act or omission based upon the inquiry.

    4. The student and the respondent will be notified of the decision in writing within 40 calendar days of the administrator's receipt of the complaint. Dismissal of the complaint at this stage by the administrator may be appealed to the SVP/CAO.

  4. Investigation Committee

    1. If the complaint is not dismissed within 40 calendar days of receipt of the formal complaint, the administrator will appoint a three–member ad hoc Investigation Committee within 14 calendar days. The Committee will consist of UMGC employees, with one member appointed chair of the Committee. No member of the Committee may be personally or professionally associated with the allegation. The Investigation Committee may be advised by legal counsel during this process. The administrator or designee(s) will instruct this Committee to review the materials obtained during the inquiry.

    2. Within 30 calendar days after being convened, the Committee will hold a fact–finding conference or conduct an investigation. The Committee will communicate with the respondent and the student and give them the opportunity to present any relevant evidence. The respondent may submit questions in writing for the student regarding the alleged act or omission.

    3. If a fact–finding conference is held, the respondent and the student will be entitled to be present. The respondent and the student may be accompanied by a representative, who may be an attorney, at his or her own expense. Representatives may advise during the course of a fact–finding conference but shall not personally participate. Parties who wish to be accompanied by an attorney must inform the administrator in writing at least 5 calendar days before the scheduled date of the proceeding. Representatives may not appear in lieu of persons accused.

    4. Within 10 calendar days of holding a fact–finding conference or conducting an investigation, the Investigation Committee will deliberate and issue a brief written opinion containing the findings of the Investigation Committee and any recommendations to the administrator. The administrator will review the recommendations and render one of the following decisions:

      1. A ruling in favor of the student and the student's proposed resolution;

      2. A ruling in favor of the student with a new proposed resolution; or

      3. A ruling not in favor of the student.

    5. Within 10 calendar days of receiving the Investigation Committee's recommendation, the administrator or designee will notify the student and the respondent of the decision in writing.

  5. Appeals

    1. If the student or respondent believes that the process and procedures outlined in this Policy were not followed, within 30 calendar days of the date of the administrator's dismissal in Section III.D. or the administrator's decision in Section IV.C., an appeal may be submitted to the SVP/CAO in writing. (If the Student Grievance was filed against the administrator and handled by the SVP/CAO, the appeal may be filed with the President.)

    2. Within 14 calendar days of receipt of the appeal, the SVP/CAO or President or designee(s) may review and communicate with the student, the respondent, the administrator, or the Investigation Committee to determine whether the process and procedures were followed. The SVP/CAO or President or designee(s) may render one of the following decisions:

      1. If the SVP/CAO or President or designee(s) finds evidence of violation of the process and procedures of this Policy, the SVP/CAO or President or designee(s) will direct the administrator to review the case anew.

      2. If the SVP/CAO or President or designee(s) finds no evidence of violation of the process and procedures this Policy, the SVP/CAO or President or designee(s) will uphold the ruling of the administrator.

    3. The SVP/CAO or President or designee(s) will respond, in writing, within 30 calendar days of the appeal.

    4. The decision of the SVP/CAO or President or designee(s) is final and is not appealable.

   
Original Policy Approval Date 3/29/11
Substantive Revision Dates 1/14/16
Technical Amendment Dates 4/17/20