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The purpose of the student grievance procedure is to provide an equitable and orderly process to resolve grievances at Virginia Highlands Community College. This grievance procedure includes, but is not limited to, concerns and disputes involving application of a policy or procedure; grades/academic record; and discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability or sexual harassment. The Vice President of Instruction and Student Services is ultimately responsible for overseeing the execution of student grievance procedures.

Recognizing that grievances should be raised and settled promptly, a grievance shall be raised within twenty (20) calendar days following either the event giving rise to the grievance or within twenty (20) calendar days of the time when the student reasonably should have gained knowledge of its occurrence.

Step 1: A student who is experiencing dissatisfaction with any academic or administrative official, faculty member, or student concerning application of the provisions of the rules, policies, procedures, and regulations of the College must first attempt to resolve the issue informally by discussing the complaint with the person with whom the problem exists.

Step 2: If the issue cannot be resolved informally, the student may initiate a formal written grievance with the immediate supervisor of the person causing the grievance. The immediate supervisor may make a preliminary investigation to determine if the concerns can be resolved by mutual consent. If the issue cannot be resolved, the immediate supervisor will conduct an investigation and render a written decision within ten (10) calendar days.

Step 3: If the decision of the immediate supervisor is not satisfactory, the student may file a written appeal within ten (10) calendar days with the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services. The Vice President will render a written decision within ten (10) calendar days.

Step 4: If the decision of the Vice President is not satisfactory, the student may file a written request for appeal to the Student Affairs Committee within ten (10) calendar days.

Step 5: The Vice President of Instruction and Student Services will schedule a hearing of the Student Affairs Committee to occur not less than seven (7) calendar days nor more than fourteen (14) calendar days following the request for appeal.

Both parties shall have the right to have present, at their own expense, legal counsel or others who may advise.

A transcript of the hearing shall be prepared by the College; both parties shall have a right to a copy of the transcript of the proceedings at their own expense.

Written decisions will be given by the Student Affairs Committee no later than ten (10) calendar days following such hearings. Either party may appeal in writing the decision of the Student Affairs Committee to the President within ten (10) calendar days of the decision.

The President of the College will review the case and make the final decision. This procedure will apply to student grievances.

Student Complaints Under State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)

Virginia Highlands Community College is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). A SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance-education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses in a state other than where they reside.

In order to ensure that students enrolled under the agreement have equal opportunity to submit student complaints, Virginia Highlands Community College accepts oversight from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for higher education, in resolving complaints from students taking distance education under the aegis of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).

All student complaints will be addressed through the VHCC Student Grievance Procedure. Subsequently, if the complaint has not been resolved internally, the student may submit the Student Complaint form to SCHEV. More details on the formal SCHEV student complaints procedure may be found on the SCHEV agency page at www.schev.edu. Students may also seek resolution through the Office for Civil Rights of the United Stated Department of Education (“OCR”). A complaint filed with OCR must be filed within 180 calendar days of the alleged discrimination. Or, if the college complaint procedure was utilized by the student, the OCR complaint must be filed within 60 calendar days from the date of the final decision, unless the time for filing is extended by the OCR for good cause shown. Information on how to proceed may be accessed on OCR’s website at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html.

Last updated: 2/5/2016 3:58:47 PM