What Is A Complaint?
A complaint is a criticism, grievance, or protest. A complaint may be academic (in content) or related to another area or service of the university.
Academic complaints include the following: Academic conduct and discipline, academic standing (probation, suspension, and/or dismissal), and grade appeals.
Non-academic complaints include the following: Admission appeals and petitions for readmission, bursar appeals, discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, financial aid and scholarships appeals, parking and traffic appeals, residency appeals, student conduct and judicial appeals, student housing appeals, and university police department appeals.
General complaints are used when a student cannot determine if the complaint is academic or nonacademic.
Complaint Submissions By Students
Students have the right to file complaints about the conduct or behavior performed on the part of the institution or by any of its agents. The Office of Academic Affairs maintains the process for the review of, response, and attempted resolution of academic, non-academic or general complaints for students. The complaint process encourages the use of an informal resolution process to resolve complaints. It also provides a formal resolution process and protocol that may be utilized by students when a complaint is not resolved through the informal process.
How Do You File A Complaint
Students have the right to complain, whether verbally or in writing, regarding any area of academic or student life without fear of coercion, harassment, intimidation, or reprisal from Alcorn State University or its employees. Students also have the right to expect a timely response to any complaint. Defamatory or baseless charges may cause a student to be held responsible for violations of Alcorn State University policies or for action through the courts.
Student concerns should be resolved at the lowest possible unit that has the authority to act as quickly as practicable.
General Complaint Procedures For Students
Students may use the following procedures to formally question the application of any Alcorn State University regulation, rule, policy, requirement or procedure.
Students should meet with the faculty/staff that is associated with the issue to discuss the complaint and attempt to arrive at a solution. This meeting should occur no later than 30 calendar days after the action, which resulted in the complaint.
If the student’s complaint is not resolved at Step One, that student must, within 14 calendar days of the Step One meeting, submit a written complaint to the next level in the administrative structure (department chair, director or his/her designee in the administrative unit within which the complaint originated). The complaint must be signed and dated by the student. The name and title of the person to whom the request should be addressed can be obtained from the employee in Step One.
If the student’s issue cannot be resolved by the Step Two administrator by telephone call or email correspondence, he or she shall make a reasonable effort to arrange for a meeting with the student and the employee within 14 calendar days from the date that the request is received. If this timeframe cannot be met, the Step Two administrator will notify all parties in writing and determine a mutually agreeable time. The meeting should be informal, with a candid discussion of the problem in an attempt to find a solution. The Step Two administrator may give an oral decision at the close of the meeting, or he or she may choose to take the matter under advisement. Typically, the Step Two administrator will render a final decision within 14 calendar days, informing all parties of the decision in writing.
If the student wishes to appeal the Step Two decision, he or she may appeal to the dean (or Provost if the issue lies with a Dean) within 14 calendar days from the date of the Step Two written decision. The student may obtain from the employee in Step One or Step Two the name and title of the person to whom the request should be addressed.
The appeal must be in writing, signed and dated. Upon receiving this written appeal, the Step Three administrator will review all information concerning the complaint and appeal and render a written decision within 14 days from the date of receipt of the appeal. The Step Three administrator’s decision is final.
The following describes additional steps for students enrolled in Alcorn State University supported distance education programs under the auspices of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement also referred to as SARA.
Students who have complaints related to academic or administration actions at Alcorn State University who have exhausted the avenues described in the process included in this policy and who have resolved that the complaint cannot be resolved internally may file a formal complaint with the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation (http://www.mississippi.edu/mcca/) using the MCCA Student Complaint Form http://www.mississippi.edu/mcca/downloads/mccastudentcomplaintform.pdf) within two years of the incident. Note: this process is not applicable for matters related to student grades or discipline/conduct matters.