3.9.2. Non-Academic Committee for Complaints, Appeals and Exceptions

Consists of two members appointed to annual terms by the vice president for campus life, two members appointed to annual terms by the vice president for business and finance, and one member appointed to an annual term by the provost. A quorum is three members. All decisions require a simple majority of members present. Members of the committee who feel they cannot be objective regarding a particular matter are required to recuse themselves. If recusals prohibit a quorum from being present, the vice president for campus life and the vice president for business and finance may jointly appoint sufficient temporary committee members to achieve quorum. The committee meets as needed.

Throughout the following, the term “complainant” means that student who is wishing to register a complaint or appeal, or request an exception (variance or waiver; see Sec. 1.4.19 and Sec. 1.4.20 for definitions of these terms). The term “relief” means that which satisfies (either partly or completely) the complainant’s objection(s) and/or request(s).

The general procedure for handling complaints, appeals and requests for exception is as follows:

Step 1

The complainant seeks relief from that person or that group of persons which is most directly associated with the policy, procedure or regulation in question. If the complainant is unsure as to the identity of this person or group, he/she may ask for clarification from any vice president. It is an informal discussion between the relevant parties which is mandated, as many common issues can be resolved in this fashion. If the request for relief is time-sensitive, the student complainant bears the responsibility for initiating informal resolution as soon as possible after the precipitating event(s). If sufficient relief is granted the appropriate party will implement the agreed-upon resolution and no further action need be taken by any of the parties. A written record of the transaction and resolution is to be maintained by the University employee involved in the process. If relief is denied or is adjudged by the complainant to be unsatisfactory in nature or scope, the complainant has ten business days to initiate Step 2 of this process. Students should bear in mind that, for time-sensitive requests, Step 2 should possibly be initiated well before the expiry of the ten business day window.

Step 2

The complainant submits the University’s online form for registering written complaints, appeals and requests for exception. The form can be found at http://hub.oglethorpe.edu/registration-records/academic-appeal/. The student should select “General Academic Appeal, Complaint or Request” from the drop-down box if the matter is academic in nature (having to do with a particular course, the awarding of academic credit, schedule changes, academic deadlines, etc.). The student should select “General Non-Academic Complaint, Appeal or Request” if the matter is non-academic (things related to finances, financial aid, residence life, etc.). Complainants should add as many details as they can to the form. It is also possible to attach other digital documentation to the form prior to its submission. The submitted form will be automatically sent to the associate provost, who will forward all relevant materials to either the Academic Committee for Complaints, Appeals and Exceptions or the Non-Academic Committee for Complaints, Appeals and Exceptions, whichever is appropriate. The committee receiving the request for relief may interview the complainant and others and has thirty business days to render a decision, although time-sensitive matters are typically considered in a much shorter time frame. The committee’s decision will be conveyed in writing to the complainant and other interested parties. If the requested relief is granted, a written summary will be forwarded to the appropriate University official, who is subsequently responsible for ensuring implementation of the committee’s decision. If relief is denied or is adjudged by the complainant to be unsatisfactory in nature or scope, the complainant has five business days to initiate Step 3 of this process.

Step 3

The complainant responds in writing to the committee which rendered the decision in Step 2, asking for further relief. The committee employed in Step 2 will then forward all written materials to the president. The president may interview the complainant and others, and has thirty business days to render a decision, which will be conveyed in writing to the complainant and other interested parties. If the requested relief is granted, a written summary will be forwarded to the appropriate University official, who is responsible for ensuring implementation of the president’s decision. If relief is denied, the matter is concluded. There is no further avenue for relief.

Students are cautioned to not behave in ways that could prove detrimental should their complaint, appeal or request for exception ultimately be denied. For example, if a student does not withdraw from a course by the requisite deadline and wishes to request a waiver for that requirement, during the three-step process outlined above the student should assume that he/she will not be permitted to withdraw and therefore should still attend the class and complete all assignments. That way, if the request for waiver is eventually denied the student will not have further harmed his/her grade in the course.