Resolution of Student Complaints

If a student feels that he or she has a legitimate grievance against the College, a professor, a staff member, or a fellow student, the student may contact the Director of Student Affairs, Karen Chang, at (845) 320–2451. The Office of Student Affairs is located in Room 4–22 in Building D. The College maintains a process for the good faith review and resolution of student complaints that is intended to: encourage informal resolution of alleged violations; allow for a formal resolution mechanism if not resolved informally; and provide for appeal to a final decision maker. The final decision following appeal is not appealable further within the College.

Procedural Guidelines

There may be occasions when a student has a concern or complaint of an academic nature, i.e., about a course or an instructor, e.g., about a course requirement, class procedure, or grades. A concern about a course or instructor should be expressed no later than 30 days into the start of the next semester. The student should, whenever possible, first approach the instructor for clarification and resolution. Addressing a challenging situation at this level provides an opportunity for both the student and instructor to work together to find a mutual resolution in the spirit of understanding and patience. If, after contacting the instructor the student still has concerns, the student should address them to the appropriate department Chair who will work to help the student and instructor resolve the matter. Individual academic departments may establish their own internal procedures for handling student concerns. The informal complaint resolution process is expected to be completed within one month.

If the informal resolution process fails to resolve an academic concern to an aggrieved student’s satisfaction, he or she may contact the Office of Student Affairs and file a formal grievance by the end of the semester following the semester in which the alleged grievance occurred, or as soon as is reasonably possible.

If a complaint is of a non-academic nature, including, for example, matters of involving discrimination or harassment, the student should contact the Office of Student Affairs as a first step in addressing the problem.

After an initial meeting, the Office of Student Affairs may require an aggrieved student to file a formal grievance and submit a written statement. The statement should include: (1) a complete narrative of the circumstances giving rise to the grievance; (2) identification of the parties involved; (3) a statement of the desired remedy; and (4) any supporting documentation or witness testimony. Students may feel confident that there will be no retaliation taken against any student who files a complaint. Retaliation will not be tolerated and any individual who is found to have retaliated against a student in response to a complaint shall be subject to College disciplinary procedures.

Upon receiving a grievance, the Office of Student Affairs may, in its discretion, (i) dismiss the grievance as lacking sufficient substance, (ii) attempt to resolve the problem informally, (iii) conduct an independent investigation, (iv) contact legal counsel, (v) render a formal decision and impose remedies, (vi) consult with the Provost and/or the College President as to whether law enforcement agencies should be contacted, or (vii) refer the matter to the Provost for an investigation, determination, or hearing before the appropriate committee.

In the event an aggrieved student is dissatisfied with the disposition of a grievance by the Office of Student Affairs, the student may appeal the matter to the Provost. The Office of the Provost may, in its discretion, reverse or uphold the decision made by the Office of Student Affairs, or refer the matter to the appropriate committee for an investigation and hearing.

If the Provost chooses to refer the matter to a committee for a hearing, the aggrieved student will be notified and the grievance will be routed to the appropriate committee for a preliminary investigation and hearing. An academic grievance will be routed to the Academic Standards and Student Services Committee, whereas a non-academic grievance will be routed to the Judicial Committee. Students have the right to be present and heard at committee hearings, but they may not be represented by legal counsel.

In connection with any investigation, whether by the Office of Student Affairs, the Provost or the committee conducting a hearing, information and evidence from any source and in any manner determined to be useful in reaching a recommendation is admissible and may be considered.

After the conclusion of a hearing, the committee shall present a final report and recommendation to the Provost. The student shall also be notified of the recommendation. Should a decision of the Provost, or a recommendation of the committee pursuant to a hearing, not be acceptable to the student, the case may be appealed to the College President. The President’s decision is final within the College appeal process and cannot serve as the basis for a new complaint.

Exhaustion of Remedies

Students should exhaust all informal and formal internal processes at the College prior to filing a complaint with an external agency. If a student has exhausted the internal processes at the college and is not satisfied with the outcome, then he or she has the right to contact external agencies.

A complaint involving civil rights such as discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex, including sexual harassment, should be filed with the U.S. Office for Civil Rights:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR) – Enforcement Office

U.S. Department of Education
32 Old Slip, 26th floor
New York, NY 10005–2500
Telephone: 646–428–3900
FAX: 646–428–3843
TDD: 877–521–2172

Or with the New York State Division of Human Rights:

Additionally, a student may contact the New England Commission of Higher Education:

College Policies  ›  Resolution of Student Complaints