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General Student Complaint Process

  1. Purpose
    The purpose of this student complaint process is to establish procedures whereby a student may express dissatisfaction with the performance or action of a Shoreline Community College employee which the student believes to be a violation of his/her rights and/or is inconsistent with Shoreline Community College policy or usual practices, or is a violation of state consumer protection laws.  The complaint process utilizes and encourages an informal process to resolve problems, and a formal complaint process can be used if the informal process does not successfully resolve the issue.
  2. Exclusions
      1.  A student may not use this process as the basis for filing a grievance based on the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.
      2. Federal and state laws (other than state consumer protection laws), rules and regulations shall not be grievable matters under this process.
      3. For the purpose of final course grade disputes, students shall use the established Student Grievance Procedure - Academic Evaluation 5035 and not this process.
      4. For the purpose of filing a grievance due to sexual harassment or disability discrimination, students shall use the provisions of the established grievance procedures on sexual harassment (4113) and disability discrimination (4114) and not this process.
  3.  Initiating the Informal Complaint Process
    The informal process promotes constructive dialogue and understanding and does not require paperwork or forms.  Prior to filing a formal complaint, the student must use the following informal process:
      1. The student should discuss the complaint informally and thoroughly with the employee involved no later than ten instructional days within the quarter following the alleged abridged right.  Both parties should openly discuss the matter and attempt to understand the other's perspectives, explore alternatives, and attempt to arrive at a satisfactory resolution to the issue or problem within fifteen instructional days from the date the student first made the issue or problem known.  Online students may discuss the complaint with the employee via telephone, tele-conference or other means.
      2. In the event of absence from campus by the employee, the student will contact the employee's supervisor for advice on how to proceed with this process.
      3. If the student feels that he/she cannot meet face-to-face with the employee, he/she may directly contact the employee's supervisor.  Online students may communicate with the employee’s supervisor via telephone, tele-conference or other means.
      4.  If the student is dissatisfied with the resolution, the student may proceed with a formal complaint.
  4. Proceeding with a Formal Complaint
    If an informal attempt at resolution is unsuccessful, a student may proceed with a formal complaint.  A formal complaint must be initiated no later than the quarter following the alleged abridged right.  The student is encouraged to contact the assistant to the Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs prior to initiating a formal complaint to inform the Vice President that a formal complaint will be filed.  The following is the process for a formal complaint.
      1. The student must outline in writing what right has been abridged, identifying dates and persons involved as accurately as possible and clearly state a proposed remedy.
      2. Complaints must be addressed and delivered to the appropriate supervising vice president, dean or director.
      3. The appropriate supervising vice president, dean or director will inform the student that he/she may choose an advisor, at his/her own expense, to assist the student with the complaint process.  The advisor must be someone who is not employed by Shoreline Community College.
      4. The appropriate supervising vice president, dean or director will forward the student's written complaint to the employee concerned and the employee’s supervisor within five instructional days of the receipt of the written complaint.  The employee will provide a written response to the student within ten instructional days with a copy submitted to the employee’s supervisor.
      5.  If the written response does not resolve the complaint, the student may request the appropriate supervising vice president, dean or director to convene a conference (tele-conference, if necessary, for online students) of all the involved parties within ten instructional days to:
          1. Attempt to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of all parties; and/or
          2. Hear the issue(s) and take appropriate action(s) to resolve the complaint.
      6. If the conference does not resolve the complaint, the student may request an appeal, in writing, to the Shoreline Community College President or her/his designee no later than three (3) instructional days following receipt of the supervisor's decision.  The written appeal should fully explain why and how the conference was insufficient to resolve the complaint.  The appeal will be reviewed by the College President or her/his designee.  A written decision will be mailed to the student within ten (10) instructional days following receipt of the request for an appeal.  The decision following this review will be the final decision by Shoreline Community College on this matter.  
      7. Out-of-state students taking an online course at Shoreline Community College, who are not satisfied with the College’s final decision, may address their complaint to the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) online at http://www.wsac.wa.gov/student-complaints.