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Student Complaint Policy and Resolution Process

Applies to:Original Policy Date:Date of Last Review:Approved by:
Faculty, staff and students January 8, 2019 April 1, 2022 Dr. Marco Carvalho
Executive Vice President and Provost

Policy Owner: Office of the Provost

Policy Purpose

This policy articulates the requirement for university employees to maintain record of written student complaints and establishes formal and informal complaint resolution processes for all students at Florida Tech. Additionally, this policy includes resources for students related to complaint processes, including contact information for agencies outside of Florida Tech.

Policy Scope

This policy includes all employees who work in roles related to the student complaint process and applies to all students who seek to submit a complaint.

Policy Statement

The university requires that all formal student complaints be submitted in writing using the student complaint process. All university employees are required to follow university documented procedures to resolve the formal complaint and must maintain a record of the student complaint as outlined in university procedure.

Procedures/Guidelines

Students may elect to address any complaint through the informal or formal complaint resolution process. Each process is outlined below. The Office of the Dean of Students can answer student questions regarding either complaint process and is the primary resource for students regarding complaints.

Informal Complaint Resolution Process

Occasions may arise in which a student feels that they have a legitimate basis for complaint. It is the practice of the university to promptly resolve student complaints. Those involved may elect to initially attempt to resolve the matter informally. The informal process for resolution of a complaint is as follows:

  1. First, if a student has a complaint, the student should be encouraged to address it directly with the other party(s) involved.
  2. If the student and the other party are unable to resolve the matter, or if for any reason the student does not feel at ease in going to the other party, the student should contact the appropriate academic unit head for academic concerns or appropriate office director for non-academic concerns for assistance. Unit heads and directors are often able to help students address the concern and to achieve a fair and equitable solution to most problems. If the student would rather not discuss the matter with the academic unit head or office director, the student may choose to go to the college dean for an academic matter or the Dean of Students for any other concern.

Formal Complaint Resolution Process

Students have the right to submit a formal written complaint for any grievance.

  1. To submit a formal complaint, students should submit the formal complaint form. Students who are unable to submit this form for any reason, including a documented disability or web accessibility issue, can contact the Office of the Dean of Students at (321) 674-8080.
  2. This formal complaint form is sent to the Office of the Dean of Students. The Office of the Dean of Students will assign a university representative to investigate the complaint and to bring the complaint to resolution.
  3. If the student would rather not discuss the matter with the Dean of Students, the student may make a submit a written formal complaint to the Provost’s Office who will assign a university representative to investigate the complaint and bring the complaint to resolution.
  4. The designated representative will reach out to all involved parties to understand the relevant issues. This representative will facilitate resolution of the complaint based on documented university policies and procedures and/or applicable regulations.
  5. All materials related to the complaint, including documentation and resolution, must be provided by the university representative assigned to investigate the complaint to the Dean of Students or to the Provost’s appointee.
  6. If the university representative assigned to investigate the complaint is unable to bring it to resolution, the Office of the Dean of Students or Provost’s designee will then coordinate the investigation and resolution of the complaint.
  7. The Office of the Dean of Students must record and archive all materials related to each student complaint, including the resolution.

Other Guidelines Related to Complaints

  • Students may withdraw a complaint at any time. The university will document the complaint as withdrawn for record keeping purposes.
  • To promote prompt and equitable resolutions of student complaints, complaints should be made as soon after the incident as possible. Complaints should be filed during the term in which the incident occurs or the situation arises. It is recommended that complaints be submitted within 30 days after the date of the incident.
  • The university will address the complaint as soon as possible. The university strives to resolve complaints no later than 90 days from student filing.
  • All documentation for each formal student complaint will be maintained for ten years from the date of submission.

Other Resources Related to Complaints

  • Title IX Coordinator - Complaints involving sex discrimination, misconduct, or equal opportunity can be resolved by using the procedures outlined above. Additionally, a student may seek the aid of the Title IX Coordinator at (321) 674-8885 or TitleIXCoordinator@fit.edu. The Title IX coordinator is a person designated by the university to ensure compliance with federal laws regarding the resolution of sex discrimination allegations, sexual misconduct, and equal opportunity.
  • The Ombudsperson - The ombudsperson is a university employee appointed by the President to work with students, faculty, and staff to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, issues, or concerns and to bring any systemic concerns to the attention of Florida Tech for resolution. The ombudsperson can be contacted by email to ombuds@fit.edu or by phone at (321) 674-8099.

State Agency Contact Information for Student Complaints

Students are encouraged to utilize the institutional complaint resolution processes as a first method of addressing a complaint.

Should a student wish to contact an outside agency away from Florida Institute of Technology the student can contact:
Office of Articulation
Department of Education
articulation@fldoe.org
(850) 245-0427

Florida Tech is a member of NC-SARA, the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, through the Florida Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance Education Coordinating Council. Online and distance education students who have completed the internal institutional grievance process and the applicable state grievance process may appeal non-instructional complaints to the FL-SARA PRDEC Council. For additional information on the complaint process, visit FL-SARA Complaint Process.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges

Florida Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, education specialist and doctoral degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Florida Institute of Technology may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (https://sacscoc.org/).

The commission requests they are contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support an institution’s significant noncompliance with a requirement or standard.

Definitions

Formal Complaint: A formal complaint is a written complaint submitted through the formal complaint procedure. A formal complaint can be for any grievance.

Compliance Reference

SACSCOC Standard 12.4
34 CFR § 602.16
34 CFR § 668.43(b)

Responsibilities

Students are responsible for following the complaint process to address informal or formal complaints.

The Office of the Dean of Students is responsible for receiving formal complaints submitted through the complaint submission form. The Dean of Students Office is responsible for assigning a university representative to investigate the complaint and following up to ensure that the complaint is resolved in a timely manner. The Dean of Students Office is responsible for investigating any complaint that the appointed university representative is unable to bring to resolution. The Dean of Students Office is responsible for maintaining a record of all formal student complaints, including documentation and the resolution, for ten years and making those records available to SACSCOC upon request. The Dean of Students Office is responsible for analyzing trends in received complaints annually and advising university leadership of any trends in complaints for review and improvement.

In the case that a student is uncomfortable bringing a complaint to the Dean of Students, the Office of the Provost will appoint an investigator who will complete the responsibilities typically assigned to the Dean of Students during the investigation of that specific complaint.

All university employees are responsible for guiding students who wish to file a formal complaint to this policy and process.

Enforcement

University employees who fail to comply with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to termination.

 

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