Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
History: First Issued: November 19, 2019. Last Revised: August 23, 2022.
NCSU REG 04.25.02 Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint Procedure
NCSU RUL 11.36.01 Procedure for Addressing Academic Written Student Complaints of Undergraduate Students
NCSU RUL 11.36.02 Procedure for Addressing Academic Written Student Complaints of Graduate Students
NCSU RUL 11.36.03 Procedure for Addressing Written Student Complaints of Graduate Students about Advisors and Advisory Committees
Contact: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (919-515-7624)
1. INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE
North Carolina State University (“NC State” or the “University”) is committed to excellence in teaching, promoting high levels of student achievement, and providing appropriate academic support services. In line with this commitment, NC State addresses all written student complaints in a fair, professional, and timely manner and in accordance with established procedures.
These procedures provide a mechanism for any NC State student to submit a formal Written Student Complaint to the University. The procedures also define the responsibilities and methods by which NC State will address Written Student Complaints, maintain a record of those complaints, and take appropriate actions based on a systematic review of the record.
2.1 Written Student Complaints
2.1.1 A “Written Student Complaint” is any complaint which:
(a) is submitted electronically or in writing;
(b) is submitted by an NC State student;
(c) is submitted in accordance with any of the processes listed on the Complaint Website;
(d) documents the student’s concern that NC State has either violated the student’s rights under federal, state or local law or any university policy, regulation or rule; and
(e) is submitted before the expiration of any applicable deadlines.
2.1.2 Written Student Complaints may be academic or non-academic in nature. The person asserting the complaint must be the alleged recipient of the unfair treatment. Written Student Complaints may not be asserted on behalf of another person.
2.1.3 The following items may not be the basis for a Written Student Complaint:
(a) Test grades or partial (not final) course grades;
(b) Claims not directly related to an administrator, faculty, staff member or employee’s status as an employee at NC State; and
(c) Claims based on purchases or contracts.
2.2 A “Functional Area” is any unit providing programs or services to NC State students, including all colleges and student support units.
2.3 The “Complaint Website” is the University’s official webpage that lists the University processes for which a student may submit a Written Student Complaint.
3.1 The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (“Provost’s Office”) has overall oversight and responsibility for this regulation and the Complaint Website, including collecting, disseminating to Functional Areas for response, tracking, analyzing, and reporting on Written Student Complaints.
3.2 Each Functional Area must designate a staff/faculty member to receive and address Written Student Complaints submitted through any of the processes listed on the Complaint Website. Designated contacts in Functional Areas are responsible for timely and effectively responding to, tracking, and reporting to the Provost’s Office or its designee on assigned complaints for their area.
3.3 At least annually, the Provost’s Office in conjunction with the Written Student Complaint Coordinator must generate, evaluate, and distribute to the Provost, the Vice Chancellor and Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine a summary of reported Written Student Complaints to assess and take any necessary actions related to, or as a result of, complaints submitted through one of the processes listed on the Complaint Website.
3.4 All records associated with written student complaints are retained in accordance with the University of North Carolina’s General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.
4. PROCEDURES FOR RESPONDING TO WRITTEN STUDENT COMPLAINTS
Before submitting a Written Student Complaint, NC State encourages students to approach appropriate NC State administrators, faculty and staff regarding their concern. In many instances, NC State personnel may be able to resolve the issues quickly and efficiently without the need for a formal process.
The procedure for handling the typical Written Student Complaint is as follows:
4.1 Complaint Submission. NC State students may submit a Written Student Complaint through one of the processes described on the Complaint Website.
4.2 Assignment. Once the student submits the Written Student Complaint, the University will assign the complaint for review to an appropriate person (“Reviewer”) in the requisite Functional Area at issue.
4.3 Review and Determination. The assigned Reviewer will review the Written Student Complaint and determine the appropriate course of action. If no other policies, regulations or rules govern the handling of the particular complaint, the assigned Reviewer shall, as appropriate, investigate, communicate with the student, and issue a written response or decision to the student in a timely manner.
4.4 Appeal. The student may appeal the decision by submitting a written appeal to the Written Student Complaint Coordinator within 10 business days from the date the Reviewer sent the decision to the student.
The written notice of appeal must:
(a) Identify the Reviewer whose decision is being appealed;
(b) Provide a brief statement of the grounds for appeal, which at minimum should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or decision-making process;
(c) Indicate what remedy is requested; and
(d) Be signed and dated by the student filing the appeal.
Grounds for an appeal are limited to showing that:
(i) the decision was clearly erroneous and so lacking in record support that no reasonable person could have reached the decision. Information provided at the time of the student’s original filing of the complaint should not be reargued on appeal;
(ii) the university violated the process laid out in this Regulation or other applicable university policies, regulations or rules. The appeal should clearly describe the policy, regulation, or rule alleged to be violated and how it was violated. Reasonable deviations from the procedures will not invalidate a decision unless the student can show that, but for the deviation or error, there likely would have been a different outcome in the case; or
(iii) there is new evidence that was not available at the time of the student’s original filing of the complaint, and the new evidence would likely have affected the outcome.
Appeals which are not timely or do not include the information in this section may be dismissed.
The Written Student Complaint Coordinator, in conjunction with the requisite Functional Area, shall designate an appropriate person to review the appeal (the “Appellate Reviewer”). The Appellate Reviewer shall review the appeal, the decision made by the Reviewer, and any other record materials. The Appellate Reviewer shall prepare a written decision and send it to the student, the Reviewer, and the Written Student Complaint Coordinator. The Appellate Reviewer shall endeavor to send the written decision within 30 days of their receipt of the complete record; however, if circumstances dictate that a longer period of review is required, the Appellate Reviewer shall notify the student and the Written Student Complaint Coordinator of the need for a reasonable extension and the date by which the decision will be communicated. The decision of the Appellate Reviewer shall be final.
4.5 Closure. The Reviewer and Appellate Reviewer will update the Written Student Complaint Coordinator about progress toward resolution and when the matter has been closed. The Written Student Complaint Coordinator will monitor this process to ensure a timely response from designated responders.
5. OTHER REMEDIES
The existence of this procedure does not bar a student from also filing claims in other forums to the extent permitted by state or federal law.