Complaints About General Policies, Procedures, Facilities, and Services
Procedures described in this section apply to complaints about college policies, procedures, facilities, regulations, services, etc. Students should first attempt to resolve their complaint informally by bringing the complaint to the attention of appropriate personnel and/or the Student Government Association. If the complaint is not resolved informally, the complaint should be communicated in writing to the judicial officer. A Student Complaint Form can be found on the college website. The judicial officer will oversee the process of consideration of the complaint and will involve other parties as needed to reach resolution. A written response will be provided to the student(s). Complaints may be submitted anonymously. However, in order to resolve a complaint in some cases, the complaint may not be able to remain anonymous. Permission to reveal the sources of the complaint will be obtained from the source before being revealed. If the student chooses to remain anonymous, the ability to fully resolve a complaint may be compromised, but every effort will be made to resolve the complaint.
If the student is not satisfied with the efforts or response provided by the judicial officer to resolve the complaint, the student may appeal his/her complaint to an administrator appointed by the President. This administrative officer will call a panel of two faculty, one staff, and two students to review the complaint and the proposed solution. The decision of this panel is final.
If a grievance matter is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction through Howard College’s internal procedures, prospective and current students who live within the State of Texas may then file their complaint with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board at www.thecb.state.tx.us. Out of state students may refer to the student grievance contact information for individual states which provides contact information for state education agencies.
Complaints About College Employees
The following process applies to complaints about an instructor or other college employee. Students are encouraged to discuss concerns and complaints with college personnel and should expect a timely and appropriate response. When possible, students should first address their concerns through informal conferences with those immediately involved; formal due process is available when informal resolution cannot be achieved.
Students must complete each step before proceeding to the next one.
Step 1: Meeting with Individual
Attempt to resolve the complaint immediately with the person directly involved. Bring materials pertaining to the complaint. Each individual should take notes of the meeting for mutual clarification. There may be instances when meeting with the individual is not possible. If this is the case, proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Meeting with Supervisor
If unable to resolve the complaint with the individual involved, the student must request a meeting with the employee’s supervisor within 10 college business days after the first meeting. The supervisor will respond to the request by scheduling a meeting within 10 college business days to discuss the issue with the student and, if desired, with the employee. All parties should make every effort to resolve the complaint at this level.
Step 3: Written Complaint Submitted to Next Level Supervisor
If the complaint is not resolved in the meeting with the supervisor, the student must submit a formal, written complaint to the supervisor (same supervisor as in Step 2) within 10 college business days. Complaint forms are available on the college website or from the judicial officer’s office. Write the complaint as briefly and succinctly as possible. This completed form must be submitted to the supervisor within 10 college business days of the meeting in Step 2. The supervisor will sign the form to acknowledge that a joint meeting has occurred. This does not constitute agreement to the complaint.
The supervisor will forward the complaint with written statements from the parties involved to the appropriate next level supervisor within five (5) college business days of the complaint having been submitted to the supervisor.
The next level supervisor will schedule a time to meet with the student. The student should bring all supporting documentation to the meeting. The next level supervisor will deliver a decision in writing within 10 college business days of the meeting.
Step 4: Appeal to Administrative Cabinet Member
If the complaint has not been resolved, the student may appeal the next level supervisor’s decision within five (5) college business days to the administrative cabinet member overseeing the program involved in the complaint. The written appeal, including all supporting documentation, should be forwarded to the administrative cabinet member, who may request an appointment with the student to discuss the appeal or may choose to make a decision based upon a review of the written documentation. The administrative cabinet member will make a decision concerning the complaint and notify the student of the decision in writing within 10 college business days of receiving the appeal. The decision of the administrative cabinet member is final.
If the complaint involves the administrative cabinet member, after attempting to resolve the complaint with the individual, a written appeal can be submitted to the college president who will make a decision concerning the complaint and notify the student of the decision in writing within 10 college business days of receiving the appeal. If the complaint involves the college president, after attempting to resolve the complaint with the president, a written appeal can be submitted to the college board who will make a decision concerning the complaint and notify the student in writing within 10 college business days of receiving the appeal.