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Federal Requirement 4.5

The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints. (Student complaints)


√ CompliantNon-Compliant

Narrative

Guidelines for filing a written complaint concerning discrimination, sexual harassment, and other non-academic issues at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) are available in the University General Information Catalog (1). The Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures (IHOP) outlines grievance procedures that apply to both employees and students regarding discrimination (2) and sexual harassment and misconduct (3), as well as student-specific policies regarding sexual assault (4) and student non-academic grievance procedures (5). In addition, students are informed during new student orientation about available resources for filing a complaint (6). Instructions for filing complaints regarding disruptive behavior and mistreatment are also available on the UTMB intranet’s professionalism page (7), and students may make comments in the Student Government Association’s satisfaction survey (8a) (8b). Distance education students are encouraged to participate in the survey and their responses, along with their comments in each of the sections of the survey, are tabulated separately from students in Galveston.

The responsibility for responding to these complaints rests with the primary student affairs officer of each school. If the student contacts a department chair, program director, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI), or the students’ ombudsman concerning the complaint, the person they contacted may turn to the appropriate student affairs officer to seek resolution.

Student non-academic grievance procedures recommend that students first seek resolution to the grievance through an appointment with the relevant department or office within five working days from the action or condition giving rise to the grievance (9). If the problem has not been resolved within three working days, the student should file a written complaint with the dean of the relevant UTMB school and seek an appointment with the student affairs officer within three working days. Upon receipt of the written complaints the student affairs officer or the officer’s designee will meet with the student, usually within the three working days stipulation. Following the appointment with the student, the officer or the designee will:

• Call for the appropriate faculty committee to investigate the grievance and make recommendations concerning the matter, or
• Choose to investigate the matter personally, or
• Choose to seek guidance and counsel from the ODI.

If the decision rendered by the dean is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may appeal to the President within ten working days (9). The President renders the final decision.

In all cases, complaints and resolutions shall be in writing. The written resolution shall include written documentation of the complaint, as well as the response from the respective UTMB schools’ student affairs officer, Vice President of University Student Services, the Provost, or the University President, as required.

Alternatively, if the complaint involves alleged discrimination or sexual harassment, the student may file a complaint with the ODI. The initial complaint must be filed within 180 days after the alleged harassment (10). The student also has the option to bypass the traditional procedure for handling grievances and seek initial counseling from the ODI, again within five working days from the action or condition giving rise to the complaint. After consulting with the student, the ODI consults with the relevant student service officer concerning the matter, and the officer has the opportunity to initiate an inquiry, allowing every opportunity for the complaints to be channeled back through the traditional grievance procedure. The ODI will begin an inquiry into the allegations and make recommendations to the President, who renders the final decision.

Sources
1 General Information Catalog, 2010-2012, pp. 88-93.
http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/pdf/Gen_Info_Catalog_2010-12_web.pdf
2 UTMB Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures, Policy 3.2.1, Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action
http://www.utmb.edu/policies_and_procedures/IHOP/Employee/Regulatory_Compliance/IHOP%20-%2003.02.01%20-%20Equal%20Employment%20Opportunity%20and%20Affirmative%20Action.pdf
3 UTMB Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures, Policy 3.2.4, Sexual Harassment and Misconduct
http://www.utmb.edu/policies_and_procedures/IHOP/Employee/Regulatory_Compliance/IHOP%20-%2003.02.04%20-%20Sexual%20Harassment%20and%20Misconduct.pdf
4 UTMB Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures, Policy 7.1.12, Student Sexual Assault
http://www.utmb.edu/policies_and_procedures/IHOP/Student/IHOP%20-%2007.01.12%20-%20Sexual%20Assault%20Policy.pdf
5 UTMB Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures, Policy 7.1.14, Student Non-Academic Grievance Procedures
http://www.utmb.edu/policies_and_procedures/IHOP/Student/IHOP%20-%2007.01.14%20-%20Student%20Non-Academic%20Grievance%20Procedures.pdf
6 Filing a complaint information given during new student orientation
7 Reporting Disruptive Behavior
http://www.utmb.edu/professionalism/reporting-disruptive-behavior.aspx
8a Student Government Association’s Satisfaction Survey Campus-Based Students' Comments
http://intranet.utmb.edu/oie/assessment/Source_Documents/SGASurvey2012-CampusBasedComments.pdf
8b Student Government Association’s Satisfaction Survey Distance Ed. Students' Comments
http://intranet.utmb.edu/oie/assessment/Source_Documents/SGASurvey2012-DistanceEdComments.pdf
9 Non-Academic Complaint and Resolution Form
http://www.utmb.edu/policies_and_procedures/IHOP/Supporting_Documents/IHOP%207%201%2013%20Documentation%20of%20Non%20Academic%20Concerns%20Form.pdf
10 180 days to file complaint waiting on IHOP update

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