- Any Holy Apostles’ undergraduate or graduate student who believes that he or she has been subjected to an improper decision on an academic matter other than matters related to grading2 is entitled to file a grievance to obtain an independent review of the allegedly improper decision, followed by corrective action if appropriate. A grievance is a complaint in writing made to an administrative officer of Holy Apostles concerning an academic decision, made by a person or group of persons acting in an official capacity at Holy Apostles that, it is alleged, directly and adversely affects the student as an individual in his or her academic capacity.
- Grievance procedures apply only in those cases involving a perceived academic impropriety arising from a decision taken by: (1) an individual instructor; (2) the Registrar, the Academic Dean, the Faculty Senate Committee or subcommittee charged to administer academic policies of Holy Apostles. They do not pertain to complaints expressing dissatisfaction with a policy of general application challenged on the grounds that the policy is unfaith or inadvisable. Such procedures also do not apply to matters regarding assigned grades (see, Footnote 1)
B. Grievance and Appeal Procedures
- Informal Attempts at Resolution: the student first should discuss the matter, orally or in writing, with the individual most directly responsible. If no resolution results, the student should then consult with the Academic Dean. Efforts should be made to resolve the issues at an informal level without the complaint escalating to the status of a formal grievance.
- The Filing of the Grievance:
i. If informal means of resolution prove unsatisfactory, the student should set forth in writing a statement of the decision that constitutes the subject matter of the dispute, the grounds on which it is being challenged, and the reasons why the grievant believes that the decision was improperly taken. The statement should also include a description of the remedy sought and the informal efforts taken to date to resolve the matter.
It is at this point that the complaint becomes a formal grievance. The grievance should include an allegation of any adverse effects on the grievant, known to the grievant at the time of filing.
ii. The grievance document should be submitted to the Academic Dean; for a grievance concerning a decision of the Academic Dean or of the Senate Faculty committee or subcommittee, the procedures set forth herein for grievances and appeals shall be modified as stated in Section C below. A grievance must be filed in a timely fashion, that is, normally within 30 days of the end of the academic semester in which the adverse decision occurred or should reasonably have been discovered. A delay in filing a grievance may, taking all circumstances into account, constitute grounds for rejection of the grievance.
3. The Response to the Grievance:
i. The Academic Dean shall consider the grievance. The Academic Dean may attempt to resolve the matter informally or make whatever disposition of the grievance that he or she deems appropriate. The Academic Dean may, in appropriate cases, remand the grievance to a lower administrative level (including to the level at which the grievance arose) for further consideration.
ii. The Academic Dean may also refer the grievance, or any issue therein, to any person (the “grievance officer”) who shall consider the matter and report to the Academic Dean as the latter directs. The Academic Dean shall inform the grievant (and the party against whose decision the grievance has been filed) in writing of any referral of the matter and shall specify the matters referred, the directions to the person or persons to whom the referral is made (including the time frame within which the person is to report back to the Academic Dean), and the name of that person.
iii. In undertaking the review, the Academic Dean or the grievance officer may request a response to the issues raised in the grievance from any individuals believed to have information considered relevant, including faculty, staff and students.
iv. Should attempts to resolve the matter informally not be successful, the Academic Dean shall decide the grievance, and shall notify the grievant (and the party against whose decision the grievance has been filed) in writing of the disposition made of the grievance and the grounds for the disposition at the earliest practicable date after his or her receipt of the grievance.
v. Normally, no more than 60 days should elapse between the filing of a grievance and the disposition by the Academic Dean. If, because of absence of key persons from the campus or other circumstances or exigencies (including those due to breaks in the academic calendar), the Academic Dean decides that disposition on that schedule is not possible, he or she hall inform the grievant (and the party against whose decision the grievance has been filed) of that in writing, giving the grounds therefore and an estimate of when a disposition can be expected.
4. The Filing of an Appeal:
i. If the grievant is dissatisfied with the disposition of the grievance at the Academic Dean level, either on substantive or on procedural grounds, he or she may appeal in writing to the President/Rector.
The appeal must specify the particular substantive or procedural bases of the appeal (that is, the appeal must be made on grounds other than general dissatisfaction with the disposition) and must be directed only to issues raised in the grievance as filed or to procedural errors in the grievance process itself, and not to new issues. The appeal shall contain the following:
1. A copy of the original grievance and any other documents submitted by the grievant in connection therewith.
2. A copy of the determination made by the Academic Dean on that grievance.
3. A statement of why the reasons for the determination of the Academic Dean are not satisfactory to the grievant. This statement should specifically address the matters set forth in the Standards for review in Section D below.
ii. The grievant shall file his or her appeal at the earliest practicable date after the grievant’s receipt of the determination by the Academic Dean. Normally no more than 30 days should elapse between the transmittal of the Academic Dean’s decision on the grievance and the filing of the appeal. A delay in filing an appeal may, taking all circumstances into account, constitute grounds for rejection of the appeal.
5. The Response to the Appeal
i. The President/Rector may attempt to resolve the matter informally, or refer the appeal, or any issue thereof, to any person (the “grievance appeal officer”) who shall consider the matter and report to the President/Rector as the latter directs. The President/Rector may also, in appropriate cases, remand the matter to a lower administrative level (Including to the level at which the grievance arose) for further consideration.
ii. The President/Rector shall inform the grievant (and the party against whose decision the grievance has been filed) in writing of any referral of the matter and shall specify the matters referred, the directions to the person to whom the referral is made (including time frame within which the person is to report back to the President/Rector), and the name of that person.
iii. Should attempts be made to resolve the matter informally not be successful, the President/Rector shall decide the appeal, and shall notify the grievant (and the party against whose decision the grievance has been filed) in writing of the disposition made of the grievance and the grounds for the disposition at the earliest practicable date after his or her receipt of the appeal. The decision of the President/Rector shall be final.
iv. Normally no more than 45 days should elapse between the filing of the appeal and the disposition by the President/Rector. If, because of absence of key persons from the campus or other circumstances or exigencies (including those due to breaks in the academic calendar), the President/Rector judges that disposition on that schedule is not possible, he or she hall inform the grievant (and the party against whose decision the grievance has been filed) of the fact in writing, giving the grounds therefore and an estimate of when a disposition can be expected.
C. Grievances Concerning Decisions of the Academic Dean or of a Senate Committee or Subcommittee
- For a grievance concerning a decision of the Academic Dean or the Faculty Senate committee or subcommittee, the grievant shall file his or her grievance with the President/Rector, rather than with the Academic Dean, and the President/Rector shall handle that grievance in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section B(3) above.
- There shall be no appeal of the President/Rector’s disposition of that grievance.
D. Standards for Review and Procedural Matters
- The review of grievances or appeals shall usually be limited to the following considerations:
i. Were the proper facts and criteria brought to bear on the decision? Were improper or extraneous facts or criteria brought to bear that substantially affected the decision to the detriment of the grievant?
ii. Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the grievant?
iii. Given the proper facts, criteria, and procedures, was the decision one which a person in the position of the decision maker might reasonably have made?
- The time frames set forth herein are guidelines. They may be extended by the relevant administrative officer in his or her discretion for good cause.
- Questions concerning the filing and/or appeal of grievances should be directed to the Office of the President/Rector
If all institutional avenues in this grievance process have been exhausted, and the student’s concern has remained unaddressed, students are encouraged to contact the complaint office in their state. The most comprehensive list of student complaint information contact information was compiled by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and is available here: https://www.nc-sara.org/content/sara-and-students#student-complaint
Additionally, students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Holy Apostles to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, S. W.
Washington, DC 20202-4605
Questions regarding FERPA and the procedures followed by the College to comply with the act may be referred to the office of the academic dean or of the registrar.