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General Student Grievance Policy

Purpose

Columbia College (the “College”) values feedback from its students and believes students should be able to discuss problems and express concerns to the College and free from duress or retaliation. The College is committed to providing students with an avenue to express concerns and to work with College officials toward amical resolutions. The College believes engaging in this process can also be an inherently valuable educational experience for students and can help prepare students to address issues in a professional productive manner after they leave the College.

Scope

This policy applies to College students.

This policy does not apply to complaints that are covered by other applicable College policies, Specifically,

  • Complaints about sex discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation are handled in accordance with the College’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policy and corresponding procedures.
  • Complaints about discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation, not based on sex, are handled in accordance with the College’s Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy and corresponding procedures.
  • Complaints related to the ADA/Section 504 accommodation process or related to the implementation of approved reasonable accommodations are handled in accordance with the College’s ADA/Section 504 Grievance Policy.

This policy does not displace and is not intended to supplant other policies and procedures applicable to the handling of a student’s complaint. For example, a complaint about a grade should still be handled via the academic grade appeal process, a financial aid related complaint should still be addressed to the Financial Aid Office, etc.

Policy

Student complaints not falling under the categories or other policies identified above should be made to the supervisor or responsible staff member of the area from which the complaint originates or relates for attempted informal resolution of the complaint. Resolution of a majority of complaints can likely be resolved at this informal level.

If an informal resolution of the student’s complaint cannot be accomplished, or if the complaint is about the supervisor or responsible staff member for the area, the student should then submit their grievance formally in writing to the College official responsible for the department from which the grievance originated or relates. The written grievance should include, at a minimum, the student’s name, details, and a written account of the complaint, and a desired outcome.

Upon receipt of a written grievance, the College official will review the complaint and contact the student within ten (10) business days to verify receipt of the grievance, clarify any information provided by the student, and request any additional information that may be needed from the student for the College official to fully evaluate the grievance. This also provides the student with an additional opportunity to provide any and all information he or she would like considered and to request a meeting with the College official if they so desire.

The College official will then undertake efforts to evaluate and investigate the student’s complaint to reach a determination. The College official will endeavor to reach a final determination within thirty (30) days of receipt of the student’s formal written complaint, although circumstances may warrant a lengthier period of time and the student will be notified of the same.

The College official will provide the student with a written notification of the determination and outcome of their grievance. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome, they may file an appeal with the Dean for Student Affairs or designee. The appeal must be filed in writing within three (3) business days of receipt of the outcome notification and include the grounds for the appeal. The Dean for Student Affairs or designee will consider timely appeals, conduct any additional investigation (if necessary), and make a final decision within ten (10) business days of receipt of the appeal. The Dean for Student Affairs or designee will inform the student tin writing of the outcome of the appeal. The decision of the Dean for Student Affairs or designee is final and not subject to further appeal.

Arizona-Specific Information:

If the student grievance cannot be resolved after exhausted the College's grievance process and appeal procedure, the student may file a complaint with the Arizona State Board for Private Post-Secondary Education. The student must contact the State Board for further details. The State Board's address is: 1400 W. Washington, Room 260, Phoenix, AZ 85007; the phone number is (602) 542-5709; and the website is http://asppse.state.az.us.

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