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Federal Requirement 4.5
Student Complaints

12. The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints.

Judgment of Compliance:

Compliance

Narrative/Justification for Judgment of Compliance:

Florida Gateway College (FGC) has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints.

FGC tries to solve student complaints informally if at all possible. Student issues are usually effectively resolved by the appropriate vice president, executive director, director, ombudsperson or faculty member before reaching the level of formal written complaints. If a student issue cannot be resolved informally, the college has written, published procedures to facilitate the resolution of the issue. Complaints from distance learning and on campus students are documented and maintained using the same procedure.

Written complaints are documented in logbooks and are kept on file in the office of the administrator receiving the complaint. The following offices are responsible for maintaining appropriate complaint records: vice president academic programs; vice president student services; vice president occupational programs; vice president business services; executive director nursing and health sciences; executive director teaching, design and computer programs; executive director business, industrial and agricultural programs; executive director human resources/equity officer; director public service training center; director academic programs; director water resources; and coordinator developmental education.

The elements of a written complaint that are documented in the logbook [1] are the date the complaint was received, the name of the person submitting the complaint, the nature of the complaint, and the date the complaint was resolved. Copies of documentation related to the written complaint and its resolution are also kept in the logbook.

The logbook also contains copies of the college’s related policies and procedures and claim forms for timely reference and to expedite the process.

FGC references District Board of Trustees (DBOT) complaint and appeals policies and procedures on the college website [2] and in the student handbook [3].The catalog outlines general student complaints, academic appeals and ombudsperson information [4]. All courses are listed in Blackboard [5] and complaint procedures are outlined in each course and DBOT complaint and appeals policies and procedures are referenced.

Distance Learning Complaints

Distance learning students can access any of the complaint procedures posted on the college website and are encouraged to utilize these internal processes. FGC makes every effort to resolve student complaints and concerns in an expeditious and fair manner.

Information about specific distance learning complaints can be found on the distance learning webpage [6]. If an issue cannot be resolved internally, distance learning students can file a complaint with the state agency in the state which they reside. To file a complaint with your state agency, refer to the list of state agencies located on the distance learning webpage, in Blackboard or on the website of the State Higher Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) [7] Survey and Reports webpage. For more details regarding complaint processes for out-of-state students, refer to the website of SHEEO Survey and Reports page. Written complaints from distance learning students are documented and kept by the appropriate vice president. As of this date, the college has received no formal complaints from distance learning students.

Academic Appeals

FGC District Board of Trustees Policy (DBOT) 6Hx12:39 [8] governs the procedure to resolve academic appeals not involving discrimination and harassment, formal grievances, general student complaints, and misconduct, including sexual misconduct, assault, battery and sexual battery. An academic appeals example is provided [9].

Academic complaints are defined as:

  1. A claim by the student that an assigned grade is the result of arbitrary and capricious application of otherwise valid standards of academic evaluation; or
  2. A claim by the student that the standards for evaluation are arbitrary or capricious; or
  3. A claim by the student that the faculty member has taken an arbitrary or capricious action which adversely affects the student's academic progress.

A student may appeal to the Office of the Ombudsperson a decision that is related to the student’s access to courses and credit granted toward the degree. The Ombudsperson can be reached at (386) 754-4267.

  1. The student may contact the Ombudsperson directly.
  2. The Ombudsperson may serve as a student advocate and/or mediator regarding academic matters.
  3. The Ombudsperson is accountable to the College President in his/her role as Ombudsperson.

The current Ombudsperson has been employed as a faculty member at the college for 34 years. He is highly effective at resolving student complaints and is able to resolve the majority of student issues brought to his attention avoiding further action.

Academic complaints including complaints to the Ombudsperson that cannot be resolved informally will be documented and kept by the appropriate vice president.

Student Discrimination & Harassment

FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:6-23 [10], governs the procedure to resolve incidents of discrimination and harassment. This policy also provides safeguards to protect those who may be falsely or frivolously accused of discrimination and harassment. As per FGC definition, unlawful discrimination and harassment is based on factors such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, disability status, age, marital status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status in accordance with the law. Records of these complaints will be documented and kept by the executive director of human resources/equity officer. At this time there are no discrimination and harassment complaints received and documented in the log book.

Grievances

FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:6-10 [11], governs the procedures to resolve complaints that a federal statute, Florida statute, state board of education rule, or a college policy has been violated, misapplied, or inequitably applied. These complaints are documented and kept by the appropriate vice president. At this time there are no grievances received and documented in the log book.

General Student Complaints

FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:09-38 [12] governs the procedures to resolve complaints against a college employee not involving academic appeal, harassment, discrimination, violation or misapplication of rule, law or policy, or misconduct. These complaints are documented and kept by the appropriate vice president. At this time there are no general student complaints received and documented in the log book.

Misconduct, Including Sexual Misconduct, Assault, Battery and Sexual Battery

FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:6-45 [13] governs the procedures to address incidents of misconduct, including sexual misconduct, assault, battery, and sexual battery. These incidents may involve criminal conduct. Federal law requires FGC to include certain reported incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking among its annual campus crime statistics. Such information will be reported in a manner that does not permit identification of survivors. The FGC website contains Right to Know [14] information for students. Incidents will be documented and kept by the executive director of human resources/equity officer. At this time there are no complaints of this nature received and documented in the log book.

Student Discipline

FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:9-08 [15] governs the procedures to resolve student appeals against any disciplinary decision made by the vice president for student services or by the campus appeals board. Students may be disciplined for violations against FGC’s Student Code of Conduct. These complaints will be documented and kept by the vice president of student services. At this time there are no student discipline actions documented.

Financial Aid Appeals

A student who has lost financial aid eligibility due to extenuating circumstances may appeal. Information is available to students in the student handbook [16], the college catalog [17], and the FGC Financial Aid webpage [18]. Appeals forms [19] are available to students online via the financial aid forms link on the college’s website. A student who has lost financial aid eligibility may be reinstated after meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. These appeals are documented [20] and kept by the vice president for student services.

Military Aid

Students who receive military tuition assistance may submit complaints against the college if they feel the college is failing to follow Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members [21]. The college website [22] provides a link to the Military Tuition Assistance (TA) Or Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Scholarship Recipient Complaints Military OneSource Postsecondary Education Complaint System. These complaints will be documented and kept by the vice president for student services. At this time there are no complaints of this nature documented.

[1] FGC Complaint Logbook Sample
[2] Student Complaint and Appeals Webpage
[3] Student Handbook Complaints and Appeals
[4] Catalog Complaints and Appeals
[5] Blackboard Complaint Procedure
[6] Distance Learning Complaint Webpage
[7] SHEEO Webpage
[8] FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:09-39 - Academic Appeals
[9] Academic Appeal Example
[10] FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:06-23 - Discrimination and Harassment
[11] FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:06-10 - Grievances
[12] FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:09-38 - General Student Complaints
[13] FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:06-45 – Misconduct
[14] Right to Know FGC Website
[15] FGC DBOT Policy 6Hx12:09-08 – Student Discipline
[16] Student Handbook Financial Aid Appeals
[17] Catalog Financial Aid Appeals
[18] Financial Aid Appeals Webpage
[19] Financial Aid Appeals Form
[20] Financial Aid Appeals Master List
[21] Principles of Excellence Military
[22] Military Complaint FGC Webpage
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Page Last Updated: July 13, 2015