Navarro College provides all student and administrative services on a non-discriminatory basis. These services are provided without regard to sex, sexual orientation, color, race, national origin, age, and handicap. With this in mind, a student grievance may encompass any dissatisfaction, complaint, or perceived injustice a person may have while associated with the college, as a student or prospective student.
A student grievance may result from academic experiences, non-academic matters involving administrators, staff, or student organizations, or matters related to perceived discrimination based on sex, color, race, national origin, age, or handicap. Any student who believes he/she has been discriminated against by college personnel for any reason, including discrimination on the basis of sex, color, national origin, age, or handicap, has the right to expect due diligence and should contact the office of the Vice President of Student Services within ten business days of the initial concern to file a Student Discrimination Grievance. A student who works either part-time or full-time for the College and whose grievance is based on a concern involving his/her employment may contact the Human Resources Office; however, all complaints of student discrimination, harassment, assault or retaliation should be submitted in writing to the Vice President of Student Services. (See Administrative Procedures, Section FFD.3 on Discrimination and Section FFE.1 on Sexual Misconduct).
All complainants should attempt first to resolve the issues where they arise and with appropriate parties involved. Chain of command protocol should be followed beginning with the staff person with whom the issue lies; if the problem is not resolved, the appropriate supervisor should be contacted next and, if needed, followed with subsequent reporting levels of administration. The only exceptions to this rule would be in response to a concern over safety (e.g., harassment, sexual misconduct/Title IX complaint).
Legal counsel may be present with adequate notice (24 hours usually is sufficient to allow college counsel to be present) and is to be allowed only for the purpose of advising the student. Thus, all attorneys must remain outside the hearing room. The student and the College representative each may request one 5-10 minute recess to consult with his/her attorney outside the hearing room. Legal counsel may not participate otherwise in a hearing at any level.
All individual student grievances should be resolved as follows:
Students who have a grievance related to a final course grade must follow the “Grade Challenge Policy” found in the Student Handbook and the Academic Catalog. Similarly, a student whose concern pertains to a closed program of study should follow the “Program of Study Dismissal” procedure. A student who may have a concern with an instructor, his/her instructional decision, and/or another instructional program matter should follow the “Student/Instructor Conflict Resolution” policy. These academic policies may be found under the section entitled “Student Academic Grievance” within the current Academic Catalog.
A student who has a grievance related to the library should first contact the Dean of Library Services; if the problem is not resolved, the student may present the grievance to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Students who have a grievance related to discipline must follow the Disciplinary Appeal Procedures found in the current Student Handbook.
An individual with knowledge of a complaint or allegation of sexual misconduct committed by staff, a student, or other individual should contact the Title IX Coordinator or designee (see Administrative Procedures, Section FFE.1).
Students who have a grievance related to other student services (e.g., disability services, activities, clubs, counseling, advising, tutoring, testing, international program services, TRiO, or Adult Education) should first contact the director of that department; if the problem is not resolved, the student may present the grievance in written form to the Vice President of Student Services.
A grievance related to Financial Aid, Residence Life, Computer Information Technology, Dining Services, or the Business Office will be brought to the attention of the director of that department; if the problem is not resolved, the student may present the grievance in writing to the Vice President of Finance and Administration.
Grievances related to Admissions, Recruiting, Marketing or Institutional Research will be brought to the attention of the director of that department; if the problem is not resolved, the student may present the grievance in writing to the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Institutional Effectiveness.
A grievance related to athletics will be brought to the attention of the Director of Athletics.
A grievance related to the Bookstore, the Physical Plant, Campus Police, will be brought to the attention of the director of that department; if the problem is not resolved, the student may present the grievance in writing to the Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Operations.
For any grievance pertaining to a department reporting to administrators at either of the satellite campuses, appropriate chain of command protocol should be followed beginning with the staff person with whom the issue lies and subsequently proceeding upward to the reporting supervisor(s) if the problem is not resolved at the initial/prior level and with the exception of safety (e.g., harassment, sexual misconduct/Title IX complaint). The campus dean may provide more direction as needed with this regard.
In each of these areas, the decision of the appropriate vice president is considered final and binding. In all grievances except in the case of Student Discrimination, the role of the District President is not to decide the case or appeal thereof, but merely to determine whether the administrative chain of command has adhered to Navarro College procedures.
Timeline for Filing a Grievance
In resolving a student grievance, timely reporting of the complaint is important and thus required at all levels. Unless stated otherwise within each procedural guidelines, the appropriate timeframe for filing a written grievance should be within ten business days from the date in which the student is first aware or notified of the issue of concern. Written appeals to the next/subsequent level of the process must be made within two business days of the student’s receipt of the institution’s appellate decision. Any earlier, more expedient timelines detailed within the appropriate Navarro College procedure (e.g., Residence Life Appeals) supersede these general timeline guidelines provided to maintain a safe and civil college environment. Additionally, exceptions to these deadlines may be made only at the discretion of the District President or the appropriate vice president.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) Student Complaint Procedure (19 TAC SS 1.110-1.120) requires that a student filing a complaint must do so in a timely manner and must exhaust all grievance and appeal procedures of the institution as described in the Navarro College Student Grievance Procedure PRIOR to filing a complaint at the following address: StudentComplaints@THECB.state.tx.us. URL for the Texas Secretary of State: http://www.sos.texas.gov/index.html.
Additionally, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides an option for grievances as part of its “Complaint Procedures against SACSCOC or its Accredited Institutions” and which can be utilized once the complainant has exhausted all grievance and appeal procedures of the institution as described in the Navarro College Student Grievance Procedure.
In addition to general institutional accreditation under SACSCOC, individual departmental programs (including, but not limited to nursing, medical lab technology, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapy assistant, or cosmetology) may be associated with program-specific accreditation organizations with which a student may consult at any time. Contact information is provided for these program-specific accreditation organizations on the College’s program-specific departmental website.
Except in the case of safety (e.g., harassment/sexual misconduct/Title IX complaint), a student should first attempt to resolve the issue directly with the staff member of concern. If the student feels that this has not been successful, the student may contact the supervisor directly–either in person, by phone or email, or by utilizing the Student Complaint/Grievance Form: http://www.navarrocollege.edu/support-services/grievance/.
Staff Protocol in Response to Student Grievances
When a staff member is approached by a student with a grievance, the staff member should employ appropriate protocol. The student should be referred to either the current Navarro College Student Handbook or the current Navarro College Academic Catalog, specifically in reference to the appropriate section.
Additionally, staff may assist the student by referencing the following protocol: 1) polite communication with the staff member of concern, and 2) if not resolved, subsequent communication with the supervisory chain of command in successive order, except in the case of safety (e.g, harassment, sexual misconduct/Title IX complaint). Students should be instructed to follow up on the resolution of such matters in a timely matter as defined in the Student Grievance Procedures and to consult the current Navarro College Student Handbook and/or the office of the Vice President of Student Services for further, more specific information.
Each semester the College solicits feedback on the College website to obtain concerns and suggestions regarding the improvement of college services. Students also may voice their ideas for improvement at regularly scheduled Student Government Association meetings on the Corsicana and Waxahachie Campuses throughout the fall and spring semesters. However, for individual student concerns or grievances, students should follow the grievance procedures detailed above. Additionally, with suggestions for improvement to specific programs, students may find it helpful to follow the same hierarchical chain as described above.
Formal Procedure for Student Discrimination Grievance
Any student who believes he/she has been discriminated against by college personnel for any reason, including discrimination on the basis of sex, color, national origin, age, or handicap, has the right to expect due diligence and should contact the office of the Vice President of Student Services within ten business days of the initial concern. The office of the Vice President of Student Services will receive the student’s complaint and may attempt to reconcile the matter if the complainant is agreeable. If the Vice President of Student Services determines that the complaint should be addressed by a more appropriate chain of authority (e.g., academic or departmental) or through the Student Grievance Procedures, the Vice President will refer the student to the most appropriate channel for due process. If at this time the complaint is not resolved and if no other procedure is deemed appropriate for the student’s concern, the following steps will ensue.
The Vice President of Student Services will assist the student by providing a form for the student to document the issue. Documentation must be submitted within two business days of the student’s receipt of the grievance form.
After documentation is completed, the office of the Vice President of Student Services will provide a copy of this information to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs may collect and review salient points related to the issue or he/she may appoint a committee that serves as a recommending body to the Vice President for Academic Affairs to assist him/her in this matter. If a committee is convened, members will include a staff chairperson, a faculty member, an administrator, a member from student services, and a student. The purpose of the review will be to determine if discrimination is more likely than not to have occurred.
After review, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will render a judgment with the basis for that judgment to be communicated in written form to the complainant. The judgment will be forwarded to the Vice President of Student Services.
If the complainant agrees with the decision, either the Vice President of Student Services (for a student accused) or the Vice President of Human Resources (for personnel accused) will, in the case where there was discrimination, seek appropriate redress. The complainant, when not satisfied with the decision, may appeal the judgment to the District President within two business days of receipt of the Vice President for Academic Affairs’ (or the committee’s) letter.
The District President will review the data and judgment rendered, make his/her own inquiries, including interviewing the complainant. After due study, a judgment will be decided. The District President’s judgment will represent the final institutional decision. Only in the Student Discrimination Grievance will the District President make such a final decision. In all other student complaint procedures, the role of the District President is not to decide the case or appeal thereof, but merely to determine whether the administrative chain of command has adhered to Navarro College procedures.