Student Grievances
Ogeechee Technical College

Academic Appeals

Ogeechee Technical College faculty and administrative staff have the right and responsibility to exercise professional judgment in making decisions about student performance and progress. The College is accountable for setting and maintaining standards of academic performance and is committed to ensuring students are treated fairly in regard to all matters that relate to academic performance and progress. A student will be provided with a fair opportunity to have decisions that are believed by the student to negatively impact academic performance and progress reviewed in accordance with policies and procedures established by the College.

Informal

If a student believes that a basis exists for appealing an academic decision regarding a grade which prevents progression in a program of study, that student should first attempt to resolve the matter informally through discussion with the instructor who made the decision.

A student has five (5) working days to discuss the academic decision. If no resolution can be reached within these five (5) working days, then the student will have another five (5) working days to discuss the concern with the Dean for Academic Affairs. The expectation is that the difference of opinion is to be resolved as closely as possible to the level at which it originated, and as quickly as is possible with careful review. It is only when a disagreement cannot be resolved through this informal process that a formal appeal of the academic decision should be made.

A student may seek advice from a counselor for support and direction.

Formal

Once a decision has been made that the informal process has not resulted in resolution, formal procedures will begin. Written notification to the Dean for Academic Affairs must be made regarding the decision under question. The Dean for Academic Affairs, upon completion of his/her review (course outline, documentation related to the student’s progress, transcript, summary of events, etc.) may uphold, modify, or reverse the academic decision. The Dean for Academic Affairs will notify the student, the instructor, and the Registrar (if necessary) in writing of his/her decision with a rationale for the decision.

If any party believes that the decision is not fair or reasonable, the decision may be appealed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. This gives the opportunity to ensure that all necessary and relevant information, documentation, opinion, and argument are fairly presented. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.


Student Grievance Procedures

I. POLICY:

It is the policy of Ogeechee Technical College to maintain a grievance process available to all students that provides an open and meaningful forum for their grievances, the resolution of these grievances, and is subject to clear guidelines. This procedure does not address grievances related to the unlawful harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation for reporting harassment/discrimination against students. Those complaints are handled by the Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students Procedure.  

II. APPLICABILITY:

    All technical colleges associated with the Technical College System of Georgia.  

III.  RELATED AUTHORITY:

    Procedure:   Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students

IV. DEFINITIONS:

A.   Grievable issues: Issues arising from the application of a policy/procedure to the student’s specific case is always grievable. Specifically grievable are issues related to student advisement, improper disclosure of grades, unfair testing procedures and poor treatment of students; this is a representative list and is not meant to be exhaustive.

 

B.   Non-grievable issues: Issues which have a separate process for resolution (i.e. disciplinary sanctions, FERPA, financial aid, academic grades, discrimination, harassment etc.) are not grievable and a student must take advantage of the process in place.

 

C.   Business days: Weekdays that the college administrative offices are open.

 

D.   Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA): The staff member in charge of the student services division at the college.

 

E.   Retaliation: Unfavorable action taken, condition created, or other action taken by a student/employee for the purpose of intimidation directed toward a student because the student initiated a grievance or participated in an investigation of a grievance.

 

F.   Grievant: the student who is making the complaint.

V.ATTACHMENTS:
None

VI.PROCEDURE:

  1. For all timelines established herein, if a student will need additional time, an extension may be granted at the Vice President for Student Affairs’ discretion.
  2. Informal Grievance Procedure:   Students with grievable issues should resolve those issues, if possible, on an informal basis without the filing of a formal grievance.  

1.             A student has 10 business days from the date of the incident being grieved to resolve the matter informally by approaching their instructor, department chair or any other staff or faculty member directly involved in the grieved incident.

2.             Where this process does not result in a resolution of the grievable issue, the student may proceed to the formal grievance procedure below.

3.             Formal Grievance Procedure:   where a student cannot resolve their grievance informally, he or she may use this formal grievance procedure.

4.             Within 15 business days of the incident being grieved, the student must file a formal grievance in the office of the Vice President for Student   Affairs (VPSA) or the technical college president’s designee with the following information:

a)                         Name,

b)                         Date,

c)                         Brief description of incident being grieved,

d)                         Remedy requested

e)                         Signed, and

f)                           Informal remedy attempted by student and outcome

5.             If the grievance is against the VPSA, the student shall file the grievance with the technical college president.

6.             The VPSA, or the technical college president’s designee, will investigate the matter and supply a written response to the student within 15 business days.

7.             If the grieved incident involves possible unlawful harassment, discrimination or retaliation for reporting unlawful harassment/discrimination, the investigation will be handled pursuant to the Procedure: Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students.

8.             If the grieved incident is closely related to an incident being processed through the harassment/discrimination or disciplinary procedures, the proceedings under the Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Student’s procedure will take precedence, then the disciplinary procedure and then the student’s grievance will be addressed.   The grievance will not be processed until after the other procedures have run their course.

9.             The VPSA, or the technical college president’s designee, shall be granted an additional 15 business days to investigate the grievance upon notice to the grieving student.

C.           Appeal:   The student may appeal the decision from the VPSA or the technical college president’s designee to the technical college president.   Only the student has the right to appeal.

1.                         A student shall file a written appeal to the technical college president within 5 business days of receiving the response referenced in VI.B.3. above.

2.                         The appeal will be decided based entirely on documents provided by the student and the administration, therefore the student must ensure that he or she has provided all relevant documents with his or her appeal.

3.                         At the sole discretion of the technical college president, grievance appeals at their institution may be held in one of the following two ways:

a)                         The technical college president may review the information provided by the student and administration and make the final decision; or

b)                         The technical college president may appoint a cross-functional committee to make the final decision.

c)                         The decision of either the technical college president or the cross-functional committee shall be made within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal.

4.                         Whichever process is chosen by the technical college president, the decision of the grievance appeal is final.

D.   Retaliation against a student for filing a grievance is strictly prohibited.

VII.RECORD RETENTION:

Documents relating to formal grievances including investigations, dispositions and the grievance itself shall be held for 5 years after the graduation of the student or the date of the student’s last attendance.


Student Grievances-- Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students

I.   POLICY

It is the policy of Ogeechee Technical College to provide a learning environment that is free from unlawful harassment (including sexual harassment), discrimination, retaliation, and intimidation.   In accordance with its Statement of Equal Opportunity, Ogeechee Technical College prohibits sexual harassment and harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, or citizenship status.  

Ogeechee Technical College assures it will act to promptly investigate all reported complaints, verbal or written, of unlawful harassment or unlawful discrimination; to promptly take appropriate action to protect students from further unlawful harassment or discrimination; and to take other appropriate action reasonably calculated to the unlawful harassment or discrimination.  

In an instance of perceived violation of Ogeechee Technical College’s policies, standards of professional conduct or state or federal law, a member of the Technical College community may file a complaint, which shall be resolved as set forth in this policy and procedures.

Prohibition Against Retaliation

Retaliation in any form against individuals bringing grievances is prohibited and will subject the offender to disciplinary action. In many instances, it is also a violation of state and federal law. An individual who initiates a fraudulent or bad faith claim or charge shall also be subject to disciplinary action.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality and privacy of those involved will be respected during all complaint procedures to the degree possible. If an individual wishes to bring a complaint accusing another of misconduct and remain anonymous, the Technical College's ability to respond will be limited. Consultations will be confidential to the full extent permitted by law.

This policy provides for policy advising and two avenues of pursuing a complaint, an Informal Resolution Procedure and a Formal Resolution Procedure. An individual may utilize either or both of these avenues.

Any member of the Ogeechee Technical College community may submit a complaint alleging a violation of Technical College policy to the appropriate grievance coordinator listed in the Formal Procedure section.   All persons are encouraged to file their complaints as promptly as possible because of the ability of the Technical College to effectively respond may be compromised by the passage of time.

Policy Advising

Individuals seeking information regarding the process of complaint resolution may consult with any of the following offices or individuals for advice and assistance: 1) Vice President for Student Affairs, 2) ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, and 3) Title IX Coordinator.

II. APPLICABILITY:

All technical colleges associated with the Technical College System of Georgia.

III. DEFINITIONS:

For purposes of this procedure, the words listed below are defined as follows:

·                Unlawful Harassment (Other Than Sexual Harassment): Verbal or physical conduct that disparages or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of that person’s race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability. Harassment does one or more of the following:

                              1.                 Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic or work environment, or

                              2.                 Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance.

Examples of Unlawfully Harassing Conduct or Behavior (Other Than Sexual Harassment): Harassing conduct or behavior includes, but is not limited to, epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability. This includes jokes or pranks that are hostile or demeaning with regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability. Harassing conduct may also include written or graphic material that disparages or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability, and that is displayed on walls, bulletin boards, computers, or other locations, or circulated in the work place. This is a representative list of harassing conduct or behavior and is not intended to be exhaustive.

·                Sexual Harassment (a form of unlawful harassment): Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal, written, electronic or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a semester or condition of an individual’s education; Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for education decisions affecting such individual; or, Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Examples of Sexually Harassing Conduct or Behavior: Sexually harassing conduct or behavior (regardless of the gender of the persons involved) includes:

Physical touching; sexual comments of a provocative or suggestive nature; suggestive looks or gestures; jokes, printed material or innuendoes intended for and directed to another employee; making acceptance of unwelcome sexual conduct, advances, or requests for sexual favors of any nature a condition for education, education decisions, or continued enrollment (pressure for sexual favors). This is a representative list of harassing conduct or behavior and is not intended to be exhaustive.  

IV. PROCEDURES

The following is designed specifically for the reporting and processing of complaints of unlawful harassment (including sexual harassment), discrimination, retaliation, and intimidation.  

·                Informal Procedure

All students are encouraged to report events of unlawful harassment, discrimination, and/or unlawful retaliation against themselves or others. A student may attempt to resolve any issue arising under this policy informally. This informal procedure is intended to encourage communication between the parties involved, either directly or through an intermediary. If the informal procedure does not result in the resolution of the complaint to the satisfaction of the complainant, the complainant may utilize the formal complaint procedure.  For monitoring purposes, a record of any complaint alleging discrimination or any other violation of law shall be reported to the appropriate grievance coordinator, even when the complainant is using the informal process.

·                Formal Procedure

A formal complaint may initially be expressed in writing, by telephone, or in person; however, the report will ultimately be required to be in writing. The complaint shall contain a brief description of the alleged violation and relief requested.

Allegations or suspicions of unlawful harassment, discrimination, or retaliation shall be reported by the complainant as promptly as possible to:

  • Title IX Coordinator, Brandi Helton, Dean of Students, Office 198C, 912.486.7607
  • Section 504 Coordinator, Sabrina Burns Disability and Student Support Services Coordinator, Office 189, 912-486-7211
  • Or any college employee, the President of the technical college, Legal Services at (404)679-1605, the Commissioner's Office at (404)679-1601, the Deputy Commissioner’s Office at (404)679-1706, or by email at UnlawfulHarass-ment@tcsg.edu.

After an allegation is made to a department employee that employee shall report the allegation to the President, or his designee, as soon as possible, not to exceed 48 hours.

An affected President or their designee may suspend, transfer or reassign personnel or students involved, in order to prevent possible further harassment, discrimination, retaliation or to facilitate the investigation. In emergency situations of a severe nature a President or their designee may take appropriate actions to protect the complainant/alleged victim from any further harassment.   If the alleged harasser is an employee, the affected President shall report all actions of this nature and any subsequent change in status or assignment to the Director of Human Resources.

Unless otherwise authorized by the Commissioner in writing, no disciplinary action shall be taken against the alleged violator until an investigation has been completed, a written report has been issued and action has been taken in accordance with this procedure.

Any allegation of unlawful harassment, discrimination, or retaliation may be referred by the President of a technical college to the Executive Director, Legal Services for investigation by the Compliance Officer. Investigations by the Compliance Officer may be done in conjunction with the local investigator at the President’s request.

The Compliance Officer/local investigator shall notify the affected President or their designee of the complaint and the pending investigation, unless otherwise directed by the Commissioner.

As set forth in its student catalog, Ogeechee Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law). The following persons have been designated to handle in-quires regarding the non-discrimination policies: See above for contact information for the Title IX Coordinator and the Section 504 Coordinator.

Investigations

All complaints of unlawful harassment, discrimination or unlawful retaliation shall be investigated thoroughly. Any President or local investigator is encouraged to consult with the Compliance Officer, Human Resources Director or Executive Director, Legal Services with any questions or concerns.

If a complaint does not specify facts sufficient to allege unlawful harassment or retaliation as prohibited by this procedure, the local investigator may determine that the allegations shall not be investigated. This will be done with joint approval by the local investigator and President, or his/her designee. In the case of an investigation being performed by the Compliance Officer this shall be done with joint approval of the Assistant Commissioner of Technical Education and the Executive Director, Legal Services. This decision will be made within 5 business days of receiving the complaint. Immediately following the decision, notice will be given to the complainant, and the complainant shall have the same rights of appeal as forth in this procedure.

When a complaint is investigated, the investigation shall commence within 5 business days of receipt of the complaint and should take no longer than 60 days from initial complaint. If additional time is needed, the complainant will be informed.

Investigations will be conducted by gathering relevant information and interviewing appropriate witnesses. All witnesses provided by the complainant will be interviewed.

The local investigator/Compliance Officer who conducts the investigation will present facts in a written report to the President and his/her designee. Reports concerning the unlawful harassment, discrimination, or retaliation of students will be processed and handled confidentially to the extent permitted by law.

Review and Disposition

After reviewing the final report, the President or their designee shall make a recommendation, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether the facts support a finding that unlawful harassment, discrimination, or unlawful retaliation has occurred. The President or designee shall make this recommendation within 5 business days of receipt of the completed investigation. If the recommendation is that the facts do support a finding, appropriate sanctions will be recommended and taken pursuant to the applicable disciplinary procedure (either student or employee). If the recommendation is that the facts do not support a finding, and it is determined that no action should be taken, then the matter can be closed.

The investigator will provide written notice to the complaining party subject to completion of the investigation. Notice should be given within 5 business days pending any possible disciplinary action to be served.

Appeal by Complainant

If the complainant wishes to appeal the recommendation by the president that the facts do not support a finding of unlawful harassment and/or discrimination, the complainant may do so in writing within 5 business days of receiving notice of the president’s recommendation.

The complainant must send the appeal by regular mail, facsimile, or email to the following:

Executive Director, Legal Services
1800 Century Place NE, Suite 400
Atlanta, Georgia 30345-4304
(404) 679-1615 (facsimile)
UnlawfulHarassment@tcsg.edu

The Executive Director of Legal Services will convene a diverse committee of at least three persons to review the investigative file to determine whether there are sufficient facts to support a finding of unlawful harassment/retaliation/discrimination. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if there is a violation of this policy; otherwise, the matter will be closed.

The Executive Director of Legal Services will provide written notice to the complaining party and subject of the investigation within 15 business days of the receipt of the appeal by the Executive Director of Legal Services.

V. RECORD RETENTION

Documents relating to formal grievances including investigations, dispositions and the grievance itself shall be held for 5 years after the graduation of the student or the date of the student’s last attendance.

VI. RELATED AUTHORITY

Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972

Age Discrimination Act of 1975

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Procedure: Student Grievances

TCSG Standard Number 03-09-07


 


Contact Information:

Brandi Helton
Dean of Students
Phone: 912.486.7607  |  Email: bhelton@ogeecheetech.edu

 

Live Chat Software