Academic Grievance Policy (2019-20)

Academic Senate Endorsed: May 2019

Approved by Board of Trustees Approved: August 2019

Finger Lakes Community College - Nondiscrimination Notice

Finger Lakes Community College does not discriminate against any employee, applicant for employment, student or applicant for admission based on an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identification, gender expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, veteran status, domestic violence victim status, criminal conviction or any other category protected by law. The College adheres to all federal and state civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in public institutions of higher education.

Inquiries regarding the application of Civil Rights may be directed to:

Inquiries regarding the application of Civil Rights may be directed to the Civil Rights Compliance Officer, Room 1350, 585-785-1428, humanresources@flcc.edu or Title IX Co-Coordinators: Sarah Whiffen, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Room 2153, 585-785-1284, Sarah.Whiffen@flcc.edu or Catherine Burns, Human Resources Compliance Coordinator, Room 1341, 585-785-1466, Catherine.Burns@flcc.edu; at Finger Lakes Community College; 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, NY 14424.

Inquiries may also be directed to the United States Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, 32 Old Slip 26th Floor, New York, NY 10005-2500; Tel. 646-428-3800; or email: ocr.newyork@ed.gov, or contact the NYS Division of Human Rights Offices http://www.dhr.ny.gov/, One Monroe Avenue, Suite 308, Rochester, NY 14607; Tel. 585-238-8250; or email InfoRochester@dhr.ny.gov.

Retaliation is prohibited against any person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in an OFCCP proceeding or otherwise opposes discrimination under state or federal law.

Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Response and Prevention Policy Adobe Acrobat, PDF

Student Rights

Policy Statement

It is the policy of Finger Lakes Community College to protect the rights and freedoms of students. The College adopted a set of internal grievance procedures, both informal and formal, that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging prejudiced, capricious, or unfair academic appraisal (e.g., grading, assessment, evaluation, examination, or judgment).

Reason for Policy This policy is in compliance with NY State regulations.

Applicability of the Policy The policy applies to all Instructors of Record and students as well as members of the Academic & Student Affair division.

Academic Grievance Procedures

Finger Lakes Community College has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging prejudiced, capricious, or unfair academic appraisal (e.g. grading, assessment, evaluation, examination, judgment). Students who have questions about the grievance procedures should contact the Director of Community Standards and Counseling at standards@flcc.edu, or 585.785.1211, or the AVP of Student Affairs at studentaffairs@flcc.edu, or 585.785.1284.

Freedom to Learn

In accordance with Federal regulations, the New York State Human Rights Law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Title VI and Title IX of the Higher Education Act, Finger Lakes Community College has adopted an internal due process procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction in its educational programs, activities, admissions, and employment policies.

Neither student nor instructor shall be deprived of the tenets of academic freedom, including open discussion and investigation, and the College shall be ever conscious of and shall promote the motto of the State University System "To Learn - To Search - To Serve."

Instructors shall evaluate student performance according to current academic guidelines and students shall have the right to challenge a grade or academic treatment in the classroom according to the procedures outlined in this document.

Academic Grievance procedures begin with the Informal Process by a student contacting the instructor(s) of record, the instructor(s) of record's department chair, or the Director of Community Standards and Counseling. The Formal Grievance Process is initiated after a student has gone through the Informal Process (Registered Nursing Grievances will begin at the formal process). √ā¬†Grievances must be initiated no later than four weeks into the next semester, or thirty days after the assigned grade is received if the course is taught in the winter. [Please see the Student Handbook for specific dates each academic year.]

For most cases*, the student will be required to seek resolution through the informal process before proceeding with the formal grievance process.

*Registered Nursing Grievances will begin at the formal process.

Right to an Advisor

The student and instructor(s) of record have the right to an advisor to be with them during the informal and formal grievance process. The advisor to a student can be someone of the student's choosing who is affiliated with the Institution and may be a faculty, staff, or student. (Only in Sexual Misconduct cases may an advisor be an attorney.)

The advisor to a faculty can be someone of the faculty's choosing who is a faculty or staff member affiliated with the Institution. The student and instructor(s) of record are each permitted to have one advisor with them during the grievance process.

In formal complaints, students may have a non-FLCC affiliated advisor at the sole discretion of the Director of Community Standards and Counseling and/or designee. The individual may not be a legal representative. The role of the advisor is to be supportive and give consultations to the party they are supporting. The advisor is not allowed to speak on behalf of the party they represent. (Specific overview of the advisor role is outlined in Appendix B.)

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Procedures

Academic Grievance Board

The Academic Grievance Board is comprised of three full time faculty, two full time staff members and two matriculated students who have completed at least one semester at FLCC and who are not on academic or conduct probation. (Preference of staff members will be given to those who have a teaching background.) The chair of the Board will be a member of the faculty. Members of the Academic Grievance Board may be recommended in a number of ways, most often the recommendations come from Faculty Department Chairs, AVP of Instruction, AVP of Student Affairs, and the Director of Student Life.

Informal Process
    1. Students charging an instructor(s) of record with prejudiced, capricious, or unfair academic appraisal (e.g. grading, assessment, evaluation, examination, judgment) shall notify and discuss the complaint with the instructor(s) of record without fear of reprisal. This will be a meeting between the student and the instructor(s) of record.
    2. If the problem remains unresolved after the first meeting with the student and instructor(s) of record, the student may notify and discuss the complaint with the instructor(s) of record's department chairperson. At the department chairperson's discretion, a meeting may occur with the student, instructor(s) of record, and department chairperson.

If there is no resolution, and the student wishes to move forward with the formal grievance process, the student must submit in writing to the Director of Community Standards and Counseling a description of the complaint alleging prejudiced, capricious or unfair academic appraisal. The complaint must also include the instructor(s) of record's name, course number and title. The instructor(s) of record or the department chair may submit a summary of the informal grievance meeting along with the original grievance to the Director of Community Standards and Counseling.

The AVP of Student Affairs, or designee, in consultation with the Director of Community Standards and Counseling will review the complaint to determine if there is merit to move forward with the formal process. Upon determining merit, the formal process will begin. The AVP of Student Affairs, or designee, will notify the student and instructor(s) of record of their determination of merit.

Formal Process
  • Within five business days of receiving notice of merit, the student and instructor(s) of record have the right to meet individually with the Director of Community Standards & Counseling to review the formal grievance procedures and answer any questions related to the process.
  • Within fifteen business days of receiving notice of merit, the Director of Community Standards & Counseling will convene the Academic Grievance Board.
  • The Board is charged with determining, based on a review of all documents available and individual accounts presented during the hearing, if they believe more likely than not that prejudice, capricious or unfair academic appraisal has occurred.
  • Within five business days of the scheduled hearing, both the student and the instructor(s) of record will receive a list of the Board members. At that time, if there is a concern about a potential conflict of interest, a request for a change of board member will be entertained by the Director of Community Standards and Counseling. If merit is determined, the board make up will be adjusted and all parties notified.
  • At the time of the hearing, the Director of Community Standards & Counseling will ensure that all parties are adhering to the formal academic grievance process and ensure all rights of the parties are retained.
  • The student and faculty of record must submit all materials and a list of witnesses (including full name, contact information and purpose of their desired attendance at the hearing) which they wish to include in the hearing process within five business days of the hearing date. The Board, and the participants will receive all document submitted for consideration no less than three business days from the date of the hearing. [Any individual who will be called as a witness may not serve in a role as advisor to either party.]
  • If either the student, or instructor(s) of record, fails to schedule or appear before the Academic Grievance Board, following proper written notification, the Board may render a decision using the information available and without the benefit of having the party's input or information. Such decisions do not presume a finding on behalf of the student or instructor(s) of record(s).
  • It is the responsibility of the instructor(s) of record(s) and/or student to notify and arrange for the attendance of any witnesses they are requesting. Hearings will not be postponed for late or absent witnesses. If a desired witness is unable to attend the designated hearing date and time, the witness should submit their statement electronically within five business days prior to the hearing date, directly to the Director of Community Standards & Counseling.
  • The hearing shall be closed to the public. The following individuals associated with the grievance shall attend the hearing: the student, the student's advisor (if appropriate), Academic Grievance Board, instructor(s) of record(s), instructor(s) of record(s) advisor and hearing board advisor or designee. The presentation of witnesses for both parties will occur at the allotted witness time during the hearing procedures (see Appendix A).
  • The Grievance hearing shall be recorded on equipment supplied by the College for the purpose of formal record keeping and will be maintained in accordance with FLCC Record Keeping policy. See Appendix A for additional details. All participants in the hearing are prohibited from making their own recording during the hearing (including but not limited to audio, video, photographic and/or written recording).
  • At the close of the hearing, the Academic Grievance Board shall deliberate privately. The Board will seek to reach consensus in resolving cases. In the event there is no consensus, a majority vote will determine the outcome. Within five college business days after the close of the hearing, the Academic Grievance Board shall report its findings to the Director of Community Standards and Counseling or designee. The Director of Community Standards and Counseling or designee will notify the student and instructor(s) of record in writing of the Board's decision within five college business days upon notification of the Board's decision. If the Board finds the student's grievance to have merit, the Board will provide a written recommendation of the action(s) to be taken.
  • The decision of the Academic Grievance Board to sustain or change an assessment, grade, or treatment is final.

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Appendix A

Academic Grievance Board Hearing Procedures

  1. The Board Chair will introduce themselves and identify their role in presiding over the hearing.
  2. The Board Chair will identify the purpose of the hearing, specifying it is a Formal Academic Grievance Board Hearing taking place on [DATE & TIME].
  3. Introductions: the members of the board will introduce themselves, followed by the student, student's advisor (if present), instructor(s) of record*, instructor(s) of record's advisor (if present), and the hearing board advisor or designee.
  4. Recording: the Board Chair will acknowledge to all participants that the hearing is being recorded for record keeping purposes, will verify that the recorded is functioning, and remind all participants that they are prohibited from making their own recording during the hearing (including but not limited to audio, video, photographic and/or written recording).
  5. The Board Chair will review the role of the advisors in the hearing process and answer any related questions.
  6. The Board Chair will ask all participants if there are any questions regarding the process or their rights in the process.
  7. The Board Chair will begin the hearing and the following order of proceeding will be applied:
    1. Opening Statements are given by the student and instructor;
    2. Questioning of the student and instructor by the board;
    3. Presentation and questioning of the student's witnesses by the student, the board and the instructor;
    4. Presentation and questioning of the instructor's witnesses by the instructor, the student and the board;
    5. Questioning of the instructor by the student (these questions will be written and the Board Chair ask aloud the questions to the instructor);
    6. Questioning of the student by the instructor (these questions will be written and the Board Chair ask aloud the questions to the student);
    7. Final questioning of the student and instructor by the board;
    8. Closing statements are given by the student and instructor;
    9. The Board Chair will thank all participants for their time and remind all participants to keep the details of the hearing private as to protect the integrity of the process and those individuals involved in the process;
    10. The Board Chair will bring the hearing to a close and note the time and request that the recording be stopped.
    11. The board will stay and deliberate in private to determine an outcome.

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Appendix B

Role of an Advisor

The role of an advisor is to be supportive and give consultations to the student and instructor(s) of record.

  1. The student and instructor(s) of record both may have (1) advisor present throughout the Academic Grievance Process.
  2. The advisor's role is limited to providing support and guidance during the grievance process.
  3. The advisor may not act as a witness for the student or instructor(s) of record during the grievance process.
  4. A current member of the Academic Grievance Board may not serve as an advisor to the student or instructor(s) of record during the grievance process.
  5. During the Academic Grievance process the advisor may not speak on behalf of the student or instructor(s) of record.
  6. During a formal Academic Grievance Board hearing, the advisor may not address the board directly or speak directly to witnesses.
  7. The advisor may confer in a reasonable manner with the student and/or instructor(s) of record for whom he or she is advising.
  8. The student and instructor(s) of record are responsible for notifying their advisor of the date, time and location of the informal meeting and/or formal Academic Grievance Board hearing.
  9. In a formal Academic Grievance Board hearing, the student and instructor(s) of record must notify the Director of Community Standards and Counseling who their advisor will be within five business days of the hearing date.
  10. The advisor to a student can be someone of the student's choosing who is affiliated with the Institution and may be a faculty, staff, or student. [Only in Sexual Misconduct cases may an advisor be an attorney.]
  11. The advisor to a faculty can be someone of the faculty's choosing who is a faculty or staff members affiliated with the Institution.

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Contact Us

Community Standards and Counseling
Room 1155
(585) 785-1211
(585) 396-0905
standards@flcc.edu
flcc.edu/judicial

Hours
Mon-Thu: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Fri: 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Walk-In Hours
Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Virtual/Remote Services currently available. Please contact us by email or phone.

Appointments Preferred. Schedule in Starfish/Blackboard