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Student Grievance Procedure

The purpose of the student grievance procedure is to provide an equitable and orderly process by which students at Patrick Henry Community College may resolve grievances. A grievance is a difference or dispute between a student and an administrator, faculty member, or member of the classified staff with respect to the application of the provisions of the rules, policies, procedures, and regulations of the college or the Virginia Community College System as they affect the activities or status of each student. Honor system violations that are under the jurisdiction of the Student Honor Committee and conduct violations that are under the jurisdiction of the Student-Faculty Judiciary Committee are excluded. The student at all times has the right to counsel, to present evidence, and to review any materials presented against the student in the course of the grievance procedure.

Step I.  The student with a grievance shall first discuss the grievance with the administrator, faculty member or member of the classified staff involved.  It is stressed that every reasonable effort should be made by both parties to resolve the matter at this level.  Recognizing that grievances should be raised and settled promptly, a grievance must be raised within twenty (20) working days from the time the student reasonably should have gained knowledge of the occurrence.  Working days are defined as those days the administrator, faculty member, or member of the classified staff involved is employed and on duty at the college. The student should consult with a counselor or faculty advisor for direction in following the proper procedure. The role of the counselor or faculty advisor shall be limited to explaining all steps of the grievance procedure to the student emphasizing the importance of the time element. 

Step II.  If the student is not satisfied with the disposition of the grievance at Step I, a written statement of the grievance shall be sent to the administrator, faculty member, or member of the classified staff within five (5) working days of the discussion at Step I. This statement shall include the current date, the date the grievance occurred, an explanation of the grievance and a statement presenting the student’s recommended action to resolve the grievance. The administrator, faculty member, or member of the classified staff must respond in writing within five (5) working days. 

Step III.  If the student is not satisfied with the written response obtained in Step II, or the administrator, faculty member, or member of the classified staff fails to answer the grievance, the student shall contact the immediate supervisor within five (5) working days. A copy of the original written grievance and the reply (if available) should be given to the supervisor. Within five (5) working days of receipt of the student’s notification, the supervisor shall schedule a conference with all involved persons in an attempt to resolve the grievance. Notification of the supervisor’s decision will be given in writing within five (5) working days after the conference. 

Step IV.  If the student is not satisfied with the disposition at Step III, a written appeal may be made to the appropriate dean within five (5) working days of hearing of the disposition at Step III. The student has the option of presenting a conference with the appropriate dean (or president, if appropriate), or the student may present the case before a selected panel. Should the student elect the conference with the dean, that decision would be binding. If the student selects a panel, that disposition will also be binding. If selected, the panel will include the dean, three students and three persons from the appropriate administrative, faculty or classified ranks. Selection of panel members will be made by the Student Affairs Advisory Committee, with the approval of the president. Final notification of the action taken in Step IV will be presented in writing within five (5) working days of the termination of the conference or panel. 

Placement of Records. If procedures go beyond Step II, a copy of the grievance and disposition shall be placed in the official personnel file of any involved administrator, faculty member, or member of the classified staff and in the permanent student folder of the complainant. 

Extension of Time. It is important to good relationships that grievances be initiated and processed as rapidly as possible. Every effort should be made by all parties to expedite the process. However, the time limitations specified for either party may be extended by mutual written agreement.