Directives from the United States Department of Education and SACSCOC Principle of Accreditation 12.4 require institutions of higher education to establish procedures for resolving student complaints. Compliance requires the maintenance of records related to all written complaints from students along with a log recording a summary of the complaint, the person or office charged to resolve the complaint, and the resolution or actions taken in response to the complaint. A written complaint from a student received by an office for redirection to another appropriate office becomes the responsibility of the receiving office.
Records associated with the written complaint along with information included in the log that contain personally identifiable information about students may be subject to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and should be protected against improper disclosure. These records and logs are subject to examination or review by the United States Department of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
It is hoped that minor differences can be resolved without recourse to the process listed below. However, there may be situations where a more formal process may be necessary. This process is intended to settle disputes through mediation and reasoned discussion. It is not intended to supplant the student conduct process, the administrative rules of the University or any provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the faculty or staff member and the University or any other appeal/grievance already existing within a department. Usually, the resolution of a complaint or grievance involves resolution of the problem/issue; not punishment of those involved. Students who intend to file a complaint or an academic or nonacademic grievance must follow the instructions below.
A non-academic grievance occurs when a Non-Academic Grievance Form has been filed because a student believes that he/she has been dealt with arbitrarily, unfairly or in ways which violate established laws, rules, policies or procedures, or past practices by the University as a whole or any unit or agency or function thereof and in a manner that has caused actual harm to the student. Prior to any grievance action, the student must attempt to obtain a satisfactory resolution through the Informal Complaint process. The Non-Academic Grievance Form must be filed no later than thirty (30) calendar days after the notice of informal complaint resolution decision, or if no decision was issued, no later than thirty (30) calendar days after the applicable decision deadline.
The director, administrator, or designee receiving the written grievance shall attempt to resolve the matter and is required to report the decision, in writing, to the complainant(s) and respondent(s) via their Dillard University email addresses within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the grievance petition.
If the grievant(s) wishes to appeal the grievance decision, the student must submit an appeal to the via the online Non-Academic Grievance Form along with the director’s, administrator’s, or designee’s written response to previous resolution attempts within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the decision, or if no decision was issued, no later than ten (10) calendar days after the applicable decision deadline.
Please refer to the Student Handbook for the complete student grievance policy for non-academic complaints.
A student who wishes to raise a concern about an academic issue must initiate the process. The process requires the student to complete an “Academic Grievance” form and submit it to the person, instructor, staff, or administrator against whom the complaint is being made. If the grievance is resolved at that time, no further action is needed but both student and respondent should keep a record of the complaint with copies forwarded to the offices of the Program Coordinator, School Chair, College Dean, and Dean of Faculty and Student Academic Support Services, and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs within five business days.
If the grievance is not resolved, the student should appeal to the supervisor of the person, against whom the complaint is being made, (for example: if the unresolved grievance is against a faculty member, the student should appeal to the program coordinator). If the grievance is resolved with this person, no further action is needed but, as above, a record of the grievance and its resolution should be sent to the next lines of authority.
If the grievance is still not resolved, the same procedure may be used to appeal to the school chair, college Dean, and the Dean of Faculty and Student Academic Support Services, respectively. If the matter remains unresolved, the grievance may be appealed to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, whose decision is final. At each line of authority, the Academic Grievance form is completed and moved to the next level by all involved in the grievance process.
Please refer to the University Academic Catalog for the complete student grievance policy for academic complaints.