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Student Complaints

Student Complaint/Grievance Procedures

It is the policy of Aquinas College that students should have an accessible process to bring problems or complaints to the attention of the College for review and resolution. To that end, the College has established a process for students, without fear of reprisal, to raise concerns about a program, their learning experience or the services received in situations where a College policy or procedure specific to their concerns is not already in place.

Students are encouraged to discuss their concerns directly with the person(s) and/or office(s) involved to informally resolve the issue. If the issue is not informally resolved, the student should meet with the supervisor of the person(s) and/or office(s) involved. Most issues are resolved when one makes an appointment with a faculty or staff member and calmly and honestly communicates their concerns. If the issue is not resolved, there is a formal complaint process.

Before initiating the formal complaint process, three points must be made about the process.

  1. The complaint process is not applicable to complaints covered by other already-existing College policies and/or actions. These include, but are not limited to: grade appeals, academic dismissal appeals, financial aid suspension, sexual misconduct, student conduct action, etc. When necessary and appropriate, the Dean of Students will assist students in identifying the applicable College policies and procedures for reporting and resolving such matters.
  2. At any point in the process, a student filing a complaint will always have the option to withdraw the complaint.
  3. The College strictly prohibits any member of the College community from harassing or retaliating against any student who files a complaint under this policy.

>Student Complaint Form (ELM Login Required)

If any student wishes to file a formal complaint, the student must submit the complaint in writing to the Dean of Students. All formal complaints must be put in writing using the online form (see below). The complaint must contain the following information:

  • Name, phone number, and e-mail address of the person filing the complaint. (Complaints can be submitted anonymously, however, unless you include your contact information, the College will be unable to investigate your complaint or follow up with you regarding the subject matter).
  • The name(s) of the individual(s) or office against which the grievance is being alleged.
  • A detailed description of the action warranting the grievance (to include how the student has been harmed or treated unfairly) and what the student believes would be a fair and equitable resolution.
  • The date or period of time that the action occurred.
  • A list of any other people who were either involved or witnessed the action.
  • A description of what steps have been taken up to now to resolve the issue.
  • Sign and date the complaint.

Upon receipt of a written formal complaint by a student, the Dean of Students shall refer the complaint for investigation and resolution to the appropriate academic or administrative official Within 5 business days of receiving the formal complaint, the Dean of Students (or designee) will provide the student with a status report in which the student is informed who the complaint has been referred to for investigation/resolution or why the complaint was dismissed and not referred for investigation/resolution. Formal complaints will be investigated and resolved in 20 business days from the date of referral. If the investigation exceeds 20 business days, the student will be notified in writing of the delay and informed of the anticipated completion date. The designated investigator will provide both the student and the Dean of Students with written notice of the final disposition.

A copy of the complaint and a summary of the process and resolution of the complaint will be kept in the Dean of Students Office for a period of eight (8) years from the date of the final resolution of the complaint.

Additional Resources – Higher Learning Commission

If the complaint concerns the institution’s compliance with academic programs, academic quality and/or accrediting standards, students may submit a complaint to the Higher Learning Commission, Aquinas College’s accrediting agency, at https://hlcommission.org/HLC-Institutions/complaints.html