St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

General Student Concerns and Complaints Link☍

Create PDF: General Student Concerns and Complaints

Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: All University

Effective Date:

Last Updated: 04/12/2022

Applies To: Students

Responsible University Officer: Interim President

Policy Owner: Vice President for University Affairs and Advisor to the President

Policy Contact: Vice President for University Affairs and Advisor to the President

Rationale

Student concerns and complaints should be addressed fairly and resolved promptly. St. Cloud State University is committed to establishing effective processes for responding to students’ concerns and complaints.   

Policy

This policy applies to general complaints, or disputes and disagreements between a student and a university official or employee, when another university policy does not exist or apply. This policy is applicable for complaints, such as but not limited to:

  • poor advising
  • fraud
  • consumer protection
  • difficult navigation on our website
  • security or grounds concerns
    • not enough lighting
    • non-ergonomic classroom furniture
    • not enough lactation rooms

This policy does not apply to complaints that may be brought under existing university policies and procedures, such as but not limited to:

  • academic grade disputes,
  • complaints of discrimination,
  • complaints concerning sexual violence or misconduct,
  • complaints about individual instructors, related to instruction or advising,
  • complaints about the outcome of another procedure or appeal process, or
  • complaints about program quality such as compliance with accreditation standards.

No retaliatory action of any kind shall be taken against a student for participating or refusing to participate, in a complaint process. Retaliation may lead to discipline under applicable student or employee policies.

Procedure

Informal resolution is encouraged for concerns or complaints that are processed under this policy and procedure. When informal resolution cannot be reached directly between the student and the party or parties associated with the concern or complaint, or a student feels unable to attempt informal resolution, an official general concern or complaint may be processed via the following steps:

  1. Reporting the Concern or Complaint

A complaint must be reported in writing to the Special Advisor to the President (the special advisor). The complaint should include documentation regarding the concern. The written complaint should contain a detailed description of the circumstances and facts of the complaint, an explanation of the alleged damages to the complainant’s interests, and the solution the complainant seeks. The complaint must be submitted no later than one year following the date on which the dispute, action or concern occurred. 

  1. Complaint Processing and Assistance with Resolution

Once the written complaint has been received, the special advisor will notify the student of the staff member who will be appointed to meet with the student and assist with possible informal resolution. The student may express concerns or possible conflicts of interest. The special advisor will determine whether a different staff member should be appointed on this basis. The special advisor will ask the staff member to serve in this role, and if they agree, they may request additional information or documentation as needed. They may attempt to resolve the complaint by facilitating discussion between the student(s) and the university official(s) or employee(s) if appropriate, or by seeking to negotiate a resolution in separate conversations to resolve the complaint. The complaint may only be shared and discussed with faculty, staff, and administrators at St. Cloud State University as well as with relevant external entities as warranted by the nature of the complaint. The staff member will have two weeks to complete this step. If an extension is needed, the staff member shall get written approval for the extension from the special advisor. If granted, the extended deadline shall be communicated in writing to the student complainant and other involved parties (if any).

  1. Outcome of Resolution Efforts

If informal or mutual resolution occurs at step 2, the staff member will notify the special advisor of the resolution in writing. The special advisor will send an acknowledgement to the parties and retain the documentation for two years.

If informal or mutual resolution has not occurred within two weeks of the initial filing (or the extension deadline if one is sought and granted), the staff member must notify the special advisor in writing, that informal resolution will not occur. The staff member will include any documentation provided, along with a report of efforts made in step 2 to seek resolution. The student must be copied on this written notification. If the student wishes to continue with the complaint and efforts to seek resolution, the process proceeds to step 4.

  1. Continuation of Complaint Process

Within ten (10) business days of the notification that no informal resolution could be reached, the student must express, in writing to the special advisor, their intent to continue the complaint process and attach any additional documentation or information that was not included in step 2. Once received, the process follows:

  • The special advisor will appoint, within five business days, a different staff member to assist with resolving the complaint. The student will again be notified and given the opportunity to voice concerns or possible conflicts of interest. Once a staff member is appointed, the special advisor will provide them with the original documentation and any new documentation received in step 4.
  • The appointed staff member will review the records and attempt to resolve the complaint.
  • The appointed staff member will create a report describing either the final resolution or a determination that the complaint will be ‘unresolved.’ The final resolution or determination must state which university employee to contact if the student wishes to appeal.
  • The appointed staff member will provide the written report to the special advisor within fifteen (15) business days from the date they were appointed. Copies shall be provided to the student, other involved parties (if any), and the employee assigned to process the appeal if one is submitted. If an extension is needed, the staff member shall get written approval for the extension from the special advisor. If granted, the extended deadline shall be communicated in writing to the student complainant and other involved parties (if any).

Only the student may appeal the resolution or determination decision.  However, the student must be advised that university officials, faculty or staff members may have recourse, through the Student Code of Conduct disciplinary process, against a student acting in bad faith.

To appeal the student forwards all documents related to the complaint, prior attempts to resolve, and final resolution report to the individual identified in step 4.4. If the appeal is denied the student may only appeal up to the president or chancellor when the following criteria are met:      

  • If the complaint involves a college or university rule or regulation, a student may appeal an official complaint in writing to the president of the university. The president may seek additional information if needed and may meet with the student and/or the faculty/staff involved. The president’s decision on the complaint appeal will be final.
  • If the complaint involves a board policy, the actions of a college or university president, or a claim of consumer fraud or deceptive trade practice, a student may further appeal the college or university decision to the chancellor. The decision of the chancellor is final and binding.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I find the procedures for the complaints that this policy does not apply to?

A. See the links in the supporting URLs section and the Related St. Cloud State University Policies section. If you are uncertain which process applies after visiting these resources, contact the person listed as the Contact for this policy.

Related St. Cloud State University Policies

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes

Definitions

Appeal

A request for reconsideration of a decision made at St. Cloud State University pursuant to university, or Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees policies and procedures.

Complaint

An oral or written claim concerning a college or university issue, including but not limited to alleging improper, unfair, or arbitrary treatment or program quality, compliance with accreditation standards, consumer fraud or deceptive trade practices.

Retaliation

Any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment against an individual because he or she made a complaint, assisted, or participated in an investigation or process. Retaliation also occurs when one associated with a person or group of persons is intimidated, harassed, or suffers reprisal. Retaliation may occur whether or not there is a power of authority differential between the individuals involved.

Student

All Persons or group of persons who:

  1. Are enrolled in one or more courses, either credit or non-credit, through a college or university; or
  2. Withdraw, transfer, or graduate after an alleged violation of the code of student conduct; or
  3. Are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the college or university; or
  4. Have been notified of their acceptance for admission or have initiated the process of application for admission or financial aid; or
  5. Are not college or university employees and are not enrolled in the institution but live in a college or university owned or controlled residence hall.

Contacts

Responsible University Officer
   Dietz, Larry H.
   Interim President
 
larry.dietz@stcloudstate.edu
--
Owner
   Siminoe, Judith P.
   Vice President for University Affairs and Advisor to the President
 
jpsiminoe@stcloudstate.edu
320-308-2124
Contact
   Siminoe, Judith P.
   Vice President for University Affairs and Advisor to the President
 
jpsiminoe@stcloudstate.edu
320-308-2124

To make a comment or suggest changes to this policy:

St. Cloud State University Users: Login
Non-St. Cloud State Users: Email comments to policy@stcloudstate.edu