Student Grievances And Appeals Procedures
- The San Mateo County Community College District shall establish and maintain a uniform system of student grievances and appeals for non-grade related disputes, which shall afford procedural due process to students in the review and appeal of College and District decisions or actions.
- An explanation of the procedures for submitting student grievances and appeals shall be made available to students in the Student Handbook of each College and shall set forth the appropriate procedure at the respective College, District, and Board of Trustees levels.
- In order that the student may have the opportunity to appeal a decision not satisfactorily resolved at the initial level, other than an appeal regarding a grade received in a course or a parking citation, the steps outlined below may be taken. At any time during the progress of the procedure outlined below, informal resolution of the problem may be sought by mutual agreement. For grade grievances, refer to B, Grade Grievances. For parking citations, refer to C, Parking Citation Appeals.
Academic (Excluding Grade) and Non-Academic Grievances and Appeals
Step 1 – College Level
- Before initiating formal appeal procedures, the student shall attempt to resolve the dispute informally with the appropriate staff member at the point of initial decision. If the dispute is not resolved, the student may initiate a formal appeal with the Vice President, Student Services for all matters except academic and grade grievances or Vice President, Instruction for academic and grade grievances and must do so within one (1) year of the incident on which the grievance is based or within one (1) year after the student learned of the basis for the grievance. The Vice President of Student Services (Vice President of Instruction for academic and grade grievances) shall advise the student, within five (5) days, of his or her rights and responsibilities, assist the student in the final preparation of the grievance and determine whether the grievance will be remanded to a hearing of the Grievance Committee. Specific information regarding timelines for grievances remanded to the Grievance Committee is outlined in the Student Grievances and Appeals Procedures, 7.73.1. The Vice President of Student Services (Vice President of Instruction for academic and grade grievances) will ensure that a student filing a grievance and the Grievance Committee members are provided copies of grievance procedures, including timelines.
- Appeal to the College President
- If the College President has been previously involved in the decision or action under appeal, the student may proceed directly to Step 2 (Appeal to the Chancellor).
- In the event that the dispute has not been resolved during the course of earlier appeal procedures, the student may appeal in writing to the College President within five (5) days after receipt of the decision made in response to the initial appeal. The College President shall provide the student with a hearing, if requested, and shall review the appeal. A written notice of the College President’s decision shall be provided to the student within ten (10) days of the hearing by the College President.
Step 2 – Appeal to the Chancellor
If a dispute has not been resolved at the College level, the student may appeal, in writing, to the Chancellor within five (5) days after receipt of the decision of the College President. The Chancellor, or his/her designee, shall provide the student with a hearing, if requested, and shall review the appeal. A written notice of the decision of the Chancellor shall be provided to the student within ten (10) days of the review of the student’s written appeal.
Step 3 – Board of Trustees Level
- If the dispute has not been resolved during the course of earlier procedures, the student may appeal in writing to the Board of Trustees within five (5) days after receipt of the decision of the Chancellor.
- The Board of Trustees shall provide the student with a hearing, if requested, and shall review the appeal. A written notice of the decision of the Board of Trustees shall be mailed to the student and to appropriate staff members within twenty (20) days following the hearing. The decision of the Board of Trustees is final.
Grades can only be grieved according to the criteria outlined in Education Code 76224. Before initiating formal appeal procedures, the student shall attempt to resolve the grade dispute informally with the instructor. If the dispute is not resolved, the student may initiate a grade grievance with the appropriate division dean. If the grievance is not resolved at the division dean level, the student may appeal to the Vice President, Instruction. The decision of the Vice President on grade-related grievances is final. There is a deadline of one (1) year from the date that the grade is posted for a student to initiate a grade change.
Step 1 - Filling A Grievance
- Any student who believes, after the informal process, that he or she continues to have a grievance shall file a Statement of Grievance Form available on the college website or from the division dean. The form shall be filed with the Vice President, Instruction within one year from the date the grade was issued. The student should attach to the Grievance Form any documentation to support the grievance.
- The Statement of Grievance must be filed whether or not the student has already initiated efforts at informal resolution, if the student wishes the grievance to become official.
Step 2 - Review of Grievance
- Within five days following receipt of the Statement of Grievance Form, the Vice President, Instruction shall advise the student of his or her rights and responsibilities under these procedures.
- In general, the requirements for the Statement of Grievance to present sufficient
grounds for a hearing shall be based on the following:
- The grievance shall allege specific facts, which, if true, show that the grade was issued based on mistake, fraud, bad faith, incompetence;
- The grievant is a student which includes applicants and former students; • The grievant is personally and directly affected by the alleged grievance;
- The grievance was filed in a timely manner; • The grievance is not clearly frivolous, clearly without foundation, or clearly filed for purposes of harassment.
- For a grade grievance, the grade given to a student shall be the grade determined by the instructor. In the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith or incompetency (according to Education Code 76224) the grade issued by the instructor may not be changed. The AP 7.73.1 Student Grievances and Appeals (continued) appropriate Division Dean and Vice President, Instruction will assist in determining if the student’s grievance meets the criteria established by the Education Code.
- The Vice President, Instruction will schedule a Hearing with the Grievance Committee within 14 days following receipt of the Statement of Grievance Form. All parties shall be given not less than 4 days notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.
Step 3 - Grievance Hearing Process
Membership: The Grievance Committee shall consist of three faculty members and two students. Faculty members for the pool will be identified by the Academic Senate and students will be identified by the Associated Students. No person shall serve as a member of a Grievance Committee if that person has been personally involved in any matter giving rise to the grievance, has made any statement on the matters at issue, or could otherwise not act in a neutral manner. Any party to the grievance may challenge for cause any member of the hearing committee prior to the beginning of the hearing by addressing a challenge to the Vice President, Instruction.
Grievance Officer: The Vice President, Instruction shall appoint a staff member to serve as the Grievance Officer for the Grievance Committee. This individual shall not serve as a member nor vote. The Grievance Officer shall serve to assist all parties and the Grievance Committee to facilitate a full, fair and efficient resolution of the grievance.
Prior to scheduling the Grievance Hearing, the Vice President, Instruction shall collect the following information:
- The Statement of Grievance Form filed by the student
- A written response to the grievance by the instructor who issued the grade. The instructor will provide this to the Vice President, Instruction, within 5 days of the request.
- Any materials relating to the division dean’s review and decision.
Copies of these materials will be provided to the student, the instructor and members of the Grievance Committee.
- Prior to the scheduled Grievance Hearing, the Grievance Committee shall meet in private and without the parties present to select a chair and review the grounds for a hearing.
- The members of the Grievance Committee shall be provided with a copy of the grievance filed by the student, the written responses provided by the instructor and the division dean’s review and decision before the hearing begins.
- Each party to the grievance may call witnesses and introduce oral and written testimony relevant to the issues of the matter.
- Any relevant information shall be admitted. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply.
- Participants: Each party to the grievance represents himself or herself, and may also be accompanied by a friend of his or her choice who is an observer only. Each person present will be asked to identify themselves by name.
- Parties are not allowed to be represented by legal counsel. The instructor may request to be accompanied by a union representative.
- Hearings shall be closed and confidential. h. Witnesses: In a closed hearing, witnesses shall be present at the hearing only when testifying.
- Recording: The hearing may be recorded by the college and shall be the only recording made. If recorded, no witness who refuses to be recorded may be permitted to give testimony.
- Attendance: If the individual filing the grievance fails to appear at the hearing, only the written information will be used to make a recommendation.
Step 4 - Decision
- Committee Recommendation: Within 5 days following the close of the hearing, the Grievance Committee shall prepare and send to the Vice President, Instruction a written decision. The decision shall include specific factual findings regarding the grievance, and shall include specific conclusions regarding whether a grievance has been established as defined above. The decision shall be based only on the record of the hearing, and not on matter outside of that record. The record consists of the original grievance, any written response, and the oral and written evidence produced at the hearing. In the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith or incompetency (according to Education Code 76224) the grade issued by the instructor may not be changed.
- A written notice of the Vice President, Instruction’s decision shall be provided to the student within ten days of receipt of the Grievance Committee’s recommendation. The decision of the Vice President, Instruction, is final.
Parking Citation Appeals
Parking citations may be contested by completing a request online by visiting http://www.pticket.com/csm/.