Dec 04, 2020  
2019-2020 Student Handbook 
    
2019-2020 Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Complaint and Grievance Procedures



(Statement No. 718; August 13, 2018)

  1. STATEMENT. Students have the right to express their dissatisfaction about action or lack of action relative to a matter either academic or non-academic in nature. Furthermore, students have a right to appeal any college decision that they believe to have an adverse effect on their pursuit of an education or participation in college programs. When possible and as circumstances allow, students should make every effort to resolve dissatisfaction by working informally with the person(s) whose actions or inactions have caused the dissatisfaction, or that person's department supervisor.

    The general student complaint procedure described here will apply to all non-classroom related student complaints. Specific procedures for grievances (student appeals of faculty decisions related to classroom/instructional activities) are also found in this statement, right after the general student complaint procedure.  Regulations governing student discipline are found in the Student Handbook under "Due Process in Student Discipline". Information and documentation pertaining to the investigation and resolution of written complaints and grievances will be entered into the College's Student Complaint Log once an outcome is determined.
     
  2. GENERAL PROCEDURES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
    1. General Student Complaints (non-classroom related):  Issues of dissatisfaction that are typically submitted in an email or College form; or a letter, note, or memo that is typed or handwritten. The College reserves the right to investigate and take action on student complaints submitted via text or social media.
      1. Within thirty days of an incident, the student must provide a written complaint describing the dissatisfaction and the remedy sought. The written complaint must be submitted to the Campus Dean who administers the policy or oversees the area where the complaint arises.
         
      2. Within ten business days, the Campus Dean will arrange a committee to review and investigate the student's complaint. The committee will reserve the right to question the student and/or witnesses (college employees and other students) regarding the matter.
      3. Within five business days, the Campus Dean will make a decision on the merits of the student complaint and will provide a written response to the student.

        In the event that the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Campus Dean, an appeal may be made to the Campus Vice President within five business days. If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Campus Vice President, the student may then appeal to the College President within ten business days of receipt of the decision. College personnel will provide a written response to the student within five business days.

        If, after appealing to the College President, the student is not satisfied with the outcome of this decision, the student may file a complaint with the State Authorization Agency at www.mississippi.edu/mcca

    2. Student Appeals of Faculty Decisions (grievances related to classroom/instructional activities)
      1. The instructor has authority over all matters affecting conduct of classes, including assignment of grades. Student performance may be evaluated based on written work and/or other performance standards as determined by the instructor.
         
      2. If a student has a complaint about classroom activities or grades given by an instructor, the student may appeal the faculty member's decision within 30 working days of the decision. In all cases, the appeal process will assure due process for both the instructor and the student.
         
      3. The student must first discuss the issue with the faculty member involved and explain the basis for his/her appeal.

        If the matter is not resolved with the faculty member, the student may appeal to the Department Chairperson within five working days. This appeal must be in writing and should describe the basis for the student's complaint as well as the outcome of the discussion with the faculty member. The Chairperson may attempt to resolve the problem with the student and instructor, or may call for a departmental review. Within ten working days after the meeting or review, the Chairperson will make a decision on the merits of the student complaint and will provide a written response to the student.
         
      4. If the matter is not resolved with the Department Chairperson, the student may appeal in writing to the appropriate Dean of Instruction within five working days. The Dean may attempt to resolve the problem with the individuals involved or may call a meeting of the Campus Judicial Committee to hear the grievance.

        If necessary to resolve the complaint, an informal hearing will be conducted by the Judicial Committee within 10 working days after the Dean receives the student's grievance. The hearing will provide the student and faculty member an opportunity to present their positions and supporting facts. The student will be required to provide the Committee an advance copy of the major issues, documents to be included and names of persons expected to attend the hearing. Issues or evidence not directly related to the initial appeal will not be considered.

        The Committee is the final judge of what is to be included and excluded in the hearing and has the right to adjourn and reconvene later if this is necessary to complete the hearing. The hearing will be conducted in a manner that is fair and equitable for the student. Within ten (10) working days following the hearing, the Committee will make a recommendation to the Campus Vice President who will notify the student in writing as to the resolution of the grievance.
         
      5. Should the student desire to appeal the decision of the Campus Vice President, a written appeal must be made to the President of the College within 10 working days. The President may rule on the student complaint or may appoint a committee to review the campus decisions to assure that the student and instructor have been afforded due process.
         
      6. The following guidelines apply to student appeals regarding faculty decisions.
        1. For appeals of decisions other than final grades, the student will be permitted to remain in class for the term in which the appeal is initiated until the appeal is settled.
        2. The appeal of a final grade in a class must be made within 30 working days of the posting of the course grade.
    3. Student Appeals of Faculty Decisions in the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Program (grievances related to classroom/instructional activities)
      1. The instructor has authority over all matters affecting conduct of classes, including assignment of grades. Student performance may be evaluated based on written work and/or other performance standards as determined by the instructor.
         
      2. If a student has a complaint about classroom activities or grades given by an instructor, the student may appeal the faculty member's decision within 10 working days of the decision. In all cases, the appeal process will assure due process for both the instructor and the student.
         
      3. The student must first discuss the issue with the faculty member involved and explain the basis for his/her appeal.

        If the matter is not resolved with the faculty member, the student may appeal to the Course Faculty Team within five working days. This appeal must be in writing and should describe the basis for the student's complaint as well as the outcome of the discussion with the faculty member. Within five working days after the hearing, the Course Faculty Team will make a decision on the merits of the student complaint and will provide a written response to the student.

        If the matter is not resolved with the Course Faculty Team, the student may appeal to the Campus Nursing Department Chairperson within five working days. This appeal must be in writing and should describe the basis for the student's complaint as well as the outcome of the discussion with the Course Faculty Team. The Campus Nursing Department Chairperson may attempt to resolve the problem with the student and Course Faculty Team, or may call for a department review. Within five working days after the hearing, the Campus Nursing Department Chairperson will make a decision on the merits of the student complaint and will provide a written response to the student.
         
      4. If the matter is not resolved at this level, the student may appeal in writing to the Associate Vice President for Nursing and Allied Health within five working days. The Associate Vice President for Nursing and Allied Health may attempt to resolve the problem with the individuals involved or may call a meeting of the College-wide ADN Judicial Committee to hear the grievance.

        If necessary to resolve the complaint, an informal hearing will be conducted by the appropriate College-wide ADN Judicial Committee within 10 working days after the Associate Vice President for Nursing and Allied Health receives the student's grievance. The hearing will provide the student and faculty member an opportunity to present their positions and supporting facts. The student will be required to provide the Committee an advance copy of the major issues, documents to be included and names of persons expected to attend the hearing. Issues or evidence not directly related to the initial appeal will not be considered.

        The Committee is the final judge of what is to be included and excluded in the hearing and has the right to adjourn and reconvene at a later time if this is necessary to complete the hearing. The hearing will be conducted in a manner that is fair and equitable for the student. Within 10 working days following the hearing, the Committee will make a recommendation to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services who will notify the student in writing as to the resolution of the grievance.
         
      5. Should the student desire to appeal the decision of the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services, a written appeal must be made to the President of the College within 10 working days. The President may rule on the student complaint or may appoint a committee to review the decisions to assure that the student and instructor have been afforded due process.
         
      6. The following guidelines apply to student appeals regarding faculty decisions:
        1. For appeals of decisions other than final grades, unsafe clinical performance, and/or clinical dismissal, the student will be permitted to remain in class for the term in which the appeal is initiated until the appeal is settled.
        2. The appeal of a final grade in a class must be made within 30 working days of the posting of the course grade.

Clearance Process for Behaviorally at Risk Students

("As Approved by the Executive Council on November 17, 2010")

A Student who is presumed to be at risk for harm to self or others must complete each step of the clearance Process outlined below, unless the Counseling Center (or other appropriate official within the Dean of Student Services Office) concludes at any point in the Clearance Process that the student is no longer at risk for harm to self or others. This process is to ensure the safety and well-being of MGCCC students, staff, and visitors. If you have any questions about the Clearance Process, you should contact the Dean of Students Office during working hours.

The steps in the Clearance Process are as follows:

  1. Evaluation by a licensed mental health professional

    You must have a comprehensive, in-depth assessment conducted by a licensed mental health professional that includes assessment of the precipitating incident, prior attempts and threats, and current intent. Students must participate only in an assessment of their past and current actions and are not required to engage in therapy of counseling. Instead, the purpose of professional assessment is to provide the student with resources to help that student maintain a reasonable concern for his/her own welfare and the welfare of others, and to monitor the student's willingness and ability to adhere to this standard. Costs for this assessment will be your responsibility. Local emergency room physicians will treat any medical emergencies and may contact a mental health professional for your assessment.

    Unless you are currently under the care or treatment of a licensed mental health professional, you may receive this assessment at MGCCC Counseling Center. If you receive an evaluation/assessment at the Counseling Center, up to four visits will be required. The Counseling Center may refer you to another provider if deemed necessary. Any costs associated with evaluation and/or assessment and/or treatment will be your responsibility.
     
  2. The licensed mental health professional conducting the evaluation/assessment must communicate the results.

    Following an evaluation/assessment by a licensed mental health professional, you should have this individual contact the Dean of Students. Because your contact with the professional who evaluated you is confidential, he/she will request that you sign a release form and/or a HIPAA-valid authorization allowing the information below to be forwarded.
     
  3. The report of the mental health professional must include certain information.

    The licensed mental health professional will be asked to communicate his/her opinion on two issues:
    1. Your present readiness to return to campus and adhere to the College's requirement that you maintain a reasonable concern for your own self-welfare and the welfare of others; including reports of instances in which you threatened or attempted harm to self or others, engaged in efforts to prepare to commit harm to self or others or expressed a preoccupation with harm to self or others AND
       
    2. Any recommendations about conditions that may be in your best interest (i.e. a reduction in course load, further therapy or a change in room assignment).

      This information may be communicated verbally at first for the sake of expedience, but must be followed promptly in writing within one business day.

      If you currently reside in campus housing, the College may also require that such a letter from the licensed mental health professional be received as a condition for you to remain in housing. It will be the student's responsibility to make alternative accommodations at his/her own expense.
       
  4. The student must complete an interview with the Dean of Students.

    After the licensed mental health professional has evaluated and released the student, the student must schedule an appointment with the Dean of Students or designee(s). This interview will, to the extent reasonably practicable, take place on the next regularly scheduled class day between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm. The purpose of this interview is to review information from the licensed mental health professional. Based on this information, the Dean of Students or designee may require the student to sign a student success agreement as a condition of continued enrollment and/or residency in housing.

Failure to Comply with the Clearance Process

A student's failure to fulfill the requirements of the Clearance Process or to cooperate with officials involved in the Clearance Process constitutes failure to comply with College policy and follow the directions of College officials. This violates the Code of Student Conduct and is grounds for the Dean of Students or designee to file a complaint with the Conduct Board.

In addition, if the student resides in College housing and fails to fulfill the requirements of the Clearance Process or to cooperate with officials involved in the Clearance Process, the Housing officials may take steps to remove the student from housing.

A student's failure to fulfill the requirements of the Clearance Process or to cooperate with officials involved in the Clearance Process may also be determined to be grounds to refer the student for an involuntary medical withdrawal (detailed in a separate document).

Appeals Process

Appeal of Determination of Presumption of Risk or of Student Success Agreement

A student may appeal either the terms and conditions of the student success agreement or the threshold determination that the student is presumed to be at risk for harm to self or others. The appeal must be requested, in writing, by the end of the next business day after which the College advised the student of the need to go through the Clearance Process because of the presumed risk. The appeal form can be obtained from the Dean of Student's office or the Vice President's office on the campus of choice.

Appeals should be sent to the Vice President's Office. If an appeal is received in the designated period, then the Vice President or designee will review the information presented and make a final decision. If the appeal is not granted, the Dean of Student's decision to invoke the Clearance Process and/or to impose terms and conditions in the Clearance Process is final.

The appeals process for actions taken by the Conduct Board due to Code of Conduct violations is set forth in the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook.

Checklist Summary

The clearance process is summarized as follows:

  1. The student must complete an evaluation by a licensed mental health professional.
  2. The mental health professional must forward an opinion and recommendations to the Dean of Students.
  3. The student must complete an interview with the Dean of Students after the licensed mental health professional's assessment.
  4. Should an appeal be necessary, it will be processed through the Vice President's Office. The request for an appeal must be made within one day of meeting with the Dean of Students.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Dean of Student's office.