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Policy & Procedures on Student Complaints

Policy

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is committed to respecting all members of our university community and providing a quality educational experience for all students. The objective of the Student Complaint Policy and Procedure is to ensure that the concerns and complaints of undergraduate or graduate students are addressed fairly and are resolved promptly.  Complaints related to this policy are usually the result of behavior that the student feels is unjust, inequitable, or creates an unnecessary hardship.  Students may file complaints if they believe a problem is not governed by other UTC complaint or appeal procedures. Examples of these other procedures include:

You may also find many of these policies in the UTC Student Handbook, the Undergraduate Catalog, or the Graduate Catalog. If there is a question regarding which appeal or complaint procedure is the most appropriate, students should contact the Dean of Students office. After consulting with the student, the Dean of Students or representative will direct the student to the most appropriate procedure.

There are two important complaint policies not governed by this document:  Incidents related to sexual, racial, and other harassment, hate crimes, or bias-related behaviors.  If a complaint of this nature is against a faculty or staff member, the report should be filed with the Director of Equity and Diversity. If the complaint involves the behavior of another student, the student can choose to file a Student Code of Conduct report with the Dean of Students office.

Procedure

Whenever possible, students are encouraged to seek an informal resolution of the matter directly with the faculty or individual(s) involved. Often a complaint can be resolved in this way. However, if an informal approach is neither successful nor advisable, the student should use the following procedure:

  • A student complaint form (see right) should be submitted to the Dean of Students office. It should contain (at a minimum) the date and time of the alleged conflict or action, the reason(s) for the complaint, a summary of the complaint, a list of other persons who may provide information and any appropriate documentation. The student must also include the resolution or outcome he or she is seeking. The complaint must be submitted within ten (10) business days of the alleged conflict or action.
  • Upon receipt of a completed form, a conference will take place with the student and a staff member from the Dean of Students office.
  • The staff member will notify appropriate persons and request any information or documentation needed to resolve the complaint.
  • The staff member may attempt to resolve the complaint by encouraging discussion between the student(s) and the faculty member/administrator or by taking the appropriate action to resolve complaint.
  • A review of the complaint with the supervisor(s) or others in the line of supervision may be used when deemed appropriate and beneficial to the process.
  • All relative documentation and possible outcomes must be submitted by the student or other appropriate persons within ten (10) business days of the date the complaint is filed.
  • When possible, the final resolution (or a finding of “unresolved”) will be filed in the Dean of Students office within fifteen (15) business days of the date the complaint is filed. If there are circumstances requiring an extension of this deadline, the staff member assigned to the complaint will notify the parties involved.
  • If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint, a committee will be appointed to review the information and render a final decision. The committee will consist of representatives appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Student Development, the Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance and two members appointed by the SGA president. Their decision will be final.

Documentation

A record of all complaints and their resolution will be documented and the records will be kept in the Dean of Students office, Room 399 University Center.

The University of Tennessee System Procedure for Handling Complaints

The complaint process will be most effective when individuals work through the respective campus channels prior to contacting the University of Tennessee System. Complaints regarding any University of Tennessee institution not resolved at the campus level may be directed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success.

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