Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commision on Colleges – Fifth Year Interim Report

12. Student complaints

Standard 12: The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints. (Federal Requirement 4.5)

Status: In Compliance

The Berea College Catalog and Student Handbook publishes policies and procedures for receipt of and response to student complaints, grievances, and appeals in the following areas:  convocations, charges of academic dishonesty, academic suspension, grades, administrative withdrawal, vehicle fines and penalties, fees and charges, records access and content, discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, disability accommodation, and judicial actions and procedures.  Labor complaint, appeal, and grievance procedures are published in the Labor Program Tools Handbook.  Both documents are distributed annually in electronic form accessible by direct link from the Berea College website.  Catalog/Handbook content is available in pdf format for download and/or printing.  A dedicated search engine for the Catalog/Handbook facilitates direct links to other locations on the website.

Students are instructed to address complaints in other areas to the director of the office, service, or program with which the complaint is concerned.  Institutional Compliance Officers are designated for complaints related to sexual harassment, discrimination, and disability accommodation.  In addition, complaints that do not easily fit into one of the prescribed procedures may be directed to a designated Student Ombudsman who will assist the student to resolve the complaint or will, serving as liaison, refer him or her to the appropriate policy or person.

Formal complaints, grievances, and appeals follow prescribed procedures as outlined by policy.  Records are maintained by the appropriate offices or designated individuals.  As a small, residential institution, Berea College affords its students many avenues for resolving concerns quickly and in a direct fashion.  Frequently such meetings are facilitated by the Student Ombudsman, a member of the Residential Life Collegium, a labor supervisor, faculty member, or student peer.  As a result, formal written complaints are few.  We include these examples:

Supporting Documents and Evidence

  1. Berea College 2011-2012 Catalog and Student Handbook (Website)
    1. Home Page, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/default.asp>
    2. Complaints from Students Policies and Procedures, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/srr/complaints.asp>
    3. Appeal Process, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/srr/appeals.asp>
    4. Convocation Program, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/academics/academicprogram/convocations.asp>
    5. Academic Honesty/Dishonesty, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/srr/academichonesty.asp>
    6. Appeals of Academic Suspension, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/academics/aps/ad/asappeals.asp>
    7. Appeals of Grades, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/academics/aps/grades/appealsofgrades.asp>
    8. Administrative Withdrawal, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/enrollmentreg/er/typeswithdrawal.asp>
    9. Vehicle Fines and Penalties, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/srr/motorvehiclepolicy.asp>
    10. Fees and Charges, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/admissionsfinaid/fasa/satbpp.asp>
    11. Records Access and Content, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/srr/recordsretentionaccess.asp>
    12. Non-Discrimination Policy, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/srr/nondiscrimination.asp>
    13. Harassment Policy, <http://www.berea.edu/policies/harassment-policy.asp>
    14. Sexual Assault Reporting Guidelines and Information, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/srr/sexualassault.asp>
    15. Disability Services, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/college/services/disabilityservices.asp>
    16. Community Judicial Code, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/default.asp>
  2. Labor Program Tools Handbook, (Website) <http://www.berea.edu/laborprogramoffice/tools/default.asp>
  3. Berea College Web site, (Website) <http://www.berea.edu/>
  4. Berea College 2011-2012 Catalog and Student Handbook (Website)
    1. Download and Printing, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/downloads/default.asp>
    2. Institutional Compliance Officers and Student Ombudsman, <http://www.berea.edu/cataloghandbook/sturegs/srr/complaints.asp>
  5. Residential Life Collegium, (Website) <http://www.berea.edu/residentiallifecollegium/>
  6. Written Complaint Examples
    1. Appeal of judicial decision regarding alleged violation of Student Conduct Regulations
    2. Appeal of Labor suspension
    3. Appeal of academic dismissal
    4. Appeal of parking citation
    5. Complaint leading to Judicial Hearing
    6. Complaint related to residential accommodation
    7. Complaint related to approved disability accommodation
    8. Complaint of error in Student Payroll deposit

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