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Student Complaint and Grievance Procedures

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) is committed to providing an educational and work climate that is conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual. To further that commitment, the university has developed procedures for students to pursue complaints and grievances within the university community. Each complaint and grievance will be considered carefully and individually and every effort will be made to resolve issues to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.

Definitions

Complaint – is defined as informal complaint regarding an academic or non-academic issue that a student has with a faculty/instructor, staff member, administrator, or department or program of the University.  It is a way to raise voice to address a concern through an informal method to bring awareness and possible change, when applicable.   

Grievance – formal written communication of dissatisfaction or belief that he/she has been dealt with arbitrarily, unfairly or in ways which violate established laws, rules, policies or procedures, or past practices by the University as a whole or any unit or agency or function thereof and in a manner that has caused actual harm to the student. 

Contact

Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Travis Crafter
Coordinator of Student Rights and Responsibilities

229-931-2676
travis.crafter@gsw.edu

Assistance with Student Complaints and Grievances

To ensure that students understand how to appropriately pursue a complaint or grievance at GSW, students are encouraged to seek clarification and advice regarding procedures before initiating a complaint or grievance. Although a student may seek such advice from any faculty or staff member, Student Rights and Responsibilities (229.931.2676) has staff members trained to help students who have grievances. Students are encouraged to seek assistance from this office in pursuing any type of grievance.

Submit Complaint or Grievance

Any member of the GSW community may file a complaint or grievance. It is encouraged to submit information within thirty (30) calendar days after becoming aware of or experiencing a situation that warrants review and possible corrective action.  The written grievance may be submitted online or via email to the Student Rights and Responsibilities Coordinator, travis.crafter@gsw.edu,  with the following information:

  • Date, time, and place
  • Names of any witnesses
  • The facts of the complaint

The decision as to which procedure to utilize for a grievance filed by a student shall be made solely by the university and shall be based on the fact pattern of each particular case. Each grievance shall be directed to a specific procedure and shall be accorded only one opportunity to be adjudicated unless the appeal body remands for further review.

 

Steps for resolution of a complaint will likely include

  1. Address the concern directly with the person or office with whom you have a complaint. If you do not know which person or office is responsible, the Coordinator of Student Rights and Responsibilities can assist you with identification.
  2. Address the concern with the supervisor of the person or office with whom you have a complaint. If you do not know which person or offices is responsible, Coordinator of Student Rights and Responsibilities can assist you with identification.
  3. After making every effort to resolve your complaint, please submit a Student Complaint and Grievance form which will be directed to the appropriate vice president. In this complaint, please explain the details of your situation, including the names of those involved. Please indicate the steps you have taken to remedy the situation yourself.
  4. The appropriate vice president, or designee, will investigate the complaint, seek a resolution, and inform you of the outcome.

Types of Grievances:

GSW has procedures for undergraduate and graduate students to pursue a grievance for any of the following problems, issues, or concerns:

Type

Description

Department

Academic Integrity

Report of possible violation(s) connected with dishonesty in coursework such as cheating, plagiarizing, and falsifying information.

Academic College

 

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Academic Suspension

Exemption from academic grade point average requirements.

Academic Affairs

Discrimination

Report of possible discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, disability and sex.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Disability Accommodations in Academic Programs

Appeal accommodations decision.

Accommodations and Access

Employment

Concerns regarding university employees and/or employment matters.

Human Resources

Financial Aid

Appeal Financial Aid suspension.

Financial Aid

Grade Disputes

Appeal final course grade.

Academic College

Housing Contract

Appeal residency requirement.

Residential and Campus Life

Parking Citations

Appeal parking citation.

Campus Safety

Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Related Retaliation (SSDDSR)

Also known as Title IX, report sexual misconduct, harassment, violence, and other related actions that impedes learning environment.

Title IX Coordinator

 

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Student Conduct

Report a concerning behavior that may be in violation of Student Conduct Code or needs university intervention.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Unknown

Need assistance determining type of complaint or grievance.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Appeal Process

In the case where the appeal process is not outlined in a specific grievance procedure, the appeal of a decision made by a vice president should be made in writing to the Student Grievance Review Committee through the Executive Vice President of Student Engagement and Success.  The Student Grievance Review Committee will consist of the Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement and Success, or designee, and two (2) members of the Faculty Committee on Student Affairs.  The Student Grievance Review Committee will review appeals using the following criteria:

  • Reasonable decision made with the information at the time of review.
  • Articulated grievance process followed.

The Student Grievance Review Committee will determine one of the following:

  • Outcome stands as is.
  • Return for further review by department or appropriate personnel.
  • Recommended change of action to the appropriate vice president.

The Student Grievance Review Committee decision is final.