The purpose of the Student Grievance Process is to determine equitable solutions to problems that might arise and to deal with these problems in a fair and just manner. This process is open to students and/or employees seeking a resolution for what is perceived to be unfair treatment in student-student or student-faculty/staff interaction.
The grievance process must be initiated within five school days after the aggrieved party becomes aware of the situation. For academic issues with curriculum courses, students are asked to attempt to resolve the matter by first talking with the faculty member involved, then the division dean, and lastly the senior academic officer. For academic issues for continuing education courses, students are asked to attempt to resolve the matter by first talking with the instructor involved, then the senior continuing education officer. For all other issues, students are asked to attempt to resolve the situation with the other party involved and if unsuccessful, contact the dean of student services and lastly the senior student services official.
For additional information about the complete grievance process, please contact Scott Johnson in Student Services at 336-838-6141.
If a matter remains unresolved after exhausting WCC’s grievance process, a formal complaint may be filed with the North Carolina Community College System Office. Click here for more information.
Policy 5.3.6 – Student Grievance
I. Grievance Process Overview
In order to maintain a harmonious and cooperative environment between and among the College and its students, the College provides for the settlement of problems and differences through an orderly grievance procedure. Every student shall have the right to present his/her problems or grievances free from coercion, restraint, discrimination or reprisal. This Policy provides for prompt and orderly consideration and determination of student problems and grievances by College administrators and ultimately the President.
A grievance is any matter of student concern or dissatisfaction with the College’s control except:
- student discipline matters regarding academic and non-academic violations (Policy 5.3.2 – Student Conduct);
- discrimination and unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual violence (Policy 5.3.4 – Title IX Sex Discrimination and Harassment);
- a grade appeal (Policy 2.5.2 – Grade Appeal); or
- any other matter that has a specific grievance process outlined in that policy or procedure.
II. Grievance Process
A. Informal Grievance – Step One
In the event the alleged grievance lies with an instructor/staff member, the student must first go to that instructor/staff member and attempt to informally resolve the matter within five school days. Both the student and instructor/staff member must have an informal conference to discuss the situation and document the attempts taken to resolve the grievance at this level. If the attempt to resolve the complaint is unsuccessful, the student may pursue resolution with the employee’s supervisor. If the complaint is still unresolved, the student may pursue resolution with the supervisory succession through the division dean. In the event that the student is unsatisfied with the resolution reached at the informal conference, he/she may proceed to Step Two within five (5) business days after the informal conference. Not proceeding to Step Two within the time period will result in the grievance not being heard and the matter being closed.
If the grievance concerns issues unrelated to a particular instructor/staff member (for example, an issue with College policy), the student can skip the informal process and proceed to Step Two.
B. Formal Grievance – Step Two
If the grievance is not resolved at Step One (or, given the nature of the grievance, Step Two begins the process) the student may submit a written grievance to the senior instructional, workforce development or student services officer (Vice President). The written grievance must contain, with specificity, the facts supporting the grievance and the attempt, if applicable, to resolve the grievance at the informal level.
The Vice President shall review the written grievance and conduct whatever further investigation, if any, is necessary to determine any additional facts that are needed to resolve the grievance. The Vice President shall provide his/her written decision within five (5) business days after receipt of the grievance.
If the student is unsatisfied with the resolution reached by the Vice President, he/she may proceed to Step Three within five (5) business days after receipt of the Vice President’s written determination. Not proceeding to Step Three within the time period will result in the grievance not being heard and the matter being closed.
C. Formal Grievance – Step Three
If the complaint is not resolved with steps one and two, a grievance committee may be convened. In cases resulting in a grievance committee, a Vice President or designee who has not previously heard the grievance will chair the grievance committee and will explain the grievance process to the person(s) filing the grievance. An appeal of a Vice President’s decision shall be limited to a review of the investigation and supporting documents, as indicated by items below, to determine if proper procedure was followed.
- To determine whether the investigation was conducted fairly in light of the allegations and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures. Deviation from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results;
- To determine whether the decision reached was based on preponderance of the evidence; that is, more likely than not, a violation of college policy occurred;
- To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation of college policy; and/or
- To consider new information, sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original investigation, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original investigation.
Should cases involve suspension from course(s), the student must obtain permission from the Vice President to attend course(s) pending resolution. Upon reviewing both sides of the grievance, the committee will render a decision by majority vote. All parties will be informed of the committee’s decision. The committee decision is final.
Complaints entered into the grievance process are to be handled diligently so as to protect the rights, privileges, and confidentiality of the college’s students and employees. All parties involved are expected to make the resolution of these matters a top priority to bring the grievance to a rapid but fair conclusion.
Students residing outside of North Carolina while attending WCC who wish to resolve a grievance should follow WCC’s Student Grievance Process.
If the grievance cannot be resolved internally, you may file a complaint with your state. Student Grievance Contact Information for Individual States, including phone numbers, email addresses, and/or links to state education agencies, is available below.
Wilkes Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).