The College District encourages students to discuss their concerns with the appropriate instructor or other campus administrator who has the authority to address the concerns. Concerns must be expressed within ten days of the occurrence to allow early resolution at the lowest possible administrative level. Informal resolution shall be encouraged but shall not extend any deadlines in this policy, except by mutual written consent.

Formal Process

A student may initiate the formal process described below by timely filing a written complaint form.

Even after initiating the formal complaint process, students are encouraged to seek informal resolution of their concerns. A student whose concerns are resolved may withdraw a formal complaint at any time.

The process described in this policy shall not be construed to create new or additional rights beyond those granted by law or Board policy, or to require a full evidentiary hearing or “mini-trial” at any level.

Freedom from Retaliation

Neither the Board nor any College District employee shall unlawfully retaliate against any student for bringing a concern or complaint.

Notice to Students

The College District shall inform students of this policy through appropriate College District publications.

Complaints

In this policy, the terms “complaint” and “grievance” shall have the same meaning.

Other Complaint Processes

Student complaints shall be filed in accordance with this policy, except as required by the policies listed below. Some of these policies require appeals to be submitted in accordance with FLD after the relevant complaint process.

  1. Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment based on race, color, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion or any other protected characteristic. [See FFDB]
  2. Complaints concerning retaliation relating to discrimination and harassment based on race, color, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion or any other protected characteristic. [See FFDB]
  3. Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment based on sex or sexual violence [See FFDA]
  4. Complaints concerning retaliation relation to discrimination based on sex or sexual violence [See FFDA]
  5. Complaints concerning disciplinary decisions. [See FMA]
  6. Complaints concerning a commissioned peace officer who is an employee of the College District. [See CHA]

General Provisions – Filing

Complaint forms and appeal notices may be filed by hand-delivery, by electronic communication, including e-mail and fax, or U.S. Mail. Hand-delivered findings shall be timely filed if received by the appropriate administrator or designee by the close of business on the deadline. Filings submitted by electronic communication shall be timely filed if they are received by the close of business on the deadline as indicated by the date/time show on the electronic communication. Mail filings shall be timely filed if they are postmarked by the U.S. Mail on or before the deadline and received by the appropriate administrator or designated representative no more than three days after the deadline.

Scheduling Conferences

The College District shall make reasonable attempts to schedule conferences at a mutually agreeable time. If a student fails to appear at a scheduled conference, the College District may hold the conference and issue a decision in the student’s absence.

Response

At levels One, Two, and Three, “response” shall mean a written communication to the student from the appropriate administrator. Responses may be hand-delivered, sent by electronic communication to the student’s e-mail address of record, or sent by U.S. Mail to the student’s mailing address of record. Mailed responses shall be timely if they are postmarked by U.S. Mail on or before the deadline.

Days

“Days” shall mean College District business days. In calculating timelines under this policy, the day the document is filled is “day zero.” The following day is “day one.”

Representative

“Representative” shall mean any person or organization that is designated by the student to represent the student in the complaint process.

The student may designate a representative through written notice to the College District at any level of this process. If the student designates a representative with fewer than three days’ notice to the College District before a scheduled conference or hearing, the College District may reschedule the conference or hearing to a later date, if desired, in order to include the College District’s counsel. The College District may be represented by counsel at any level of the process.

Consolidating Complaints

Complaints arising out of an event or series of related events shall be addressed in one complaint. A student shall not bring separate or serial complaints arising from any event or series of events that have been or could have been addressed in a previous complaint.

Untimely Filings

All time limits shall be strictly followed unless modified by mutual written consent.

If a complaint form or appeal notice is not timely filed, the complaint may be dismissed on written notice to the student at any point during the complaint process. The student may appeal the dismissal by seeking review in writing within ten days from the date of the written dismissal notice, starting at the level at which the complaint was dismissed. Such appeal shall be limited to the issue of timeliness.

Costs Incurred

Each party shall pay its own costs incurred in the course of the complaint.

Complaint and Appeal Forms

Complaints and appeals under this policy shall be submitted in writing on a form provided by the College District.

Copies of any documents that support the complaint should be attached to the complaint form. If the student does not have copies of these documents, copies may be presented at the Level One conference. After the Level One conference, no new documents may be submitted by the student unless the student did not know the documents existed before the Level One conference.

A complaint or appeal form that is incomplete in any material aspect may be dismissed, but may be refiled with all the required information if the refiling is within the designated time for filing.

Student Complaint Procedure

  1. Informal
    1. Student encouraged to resolve his/her complaint with the faculty or staff member involved.
    2. This must be done within 10 business days of the occurrence.
    3. If the student is satisfied with the faculty member’s decision, the matter is settled.
  2. Formal
    1. Level One
      1. If the student is not satisfied, the student may submit a Student Complaint/Grievance Form within ten business days to the appropriate division dean or lowest level administrator who has the authority to remedy the alleged problem. If the division dean is the faculty member involved, the complaint should be submitted to the Dean of Students. The complaint form must be hand delivered, electronically submitted by fax or email, or sent by U.S. Mail.
      2. The appropriate administrator shall investigate as necessary and hold a conference with the student within ten business days after receipt of the written complaint.
      3. The administrator shall provide the student with a written response within ten days following the conference.
      4. If the student is satisfied with the response, the matter is settled.
    2. Level Two
      1. If the student is not satisfied, the student may submit a Student Appeal Form to the Dean of Students within ten business days of the date of the written Level One response or, if no response was received, within ten business days of the Level One response deadline. The appeal must be hand delivered, electronically submitted by fax or email, or sent by U.S. Mail.
      2. The Level Two administrator shall hold a conference with the student within ten days after the appeal notice if filed. The conference shall be limited to the issues presented by the student at Level One and identified in the Level Two appeal notice.
      3. The Level Two Administrator shall provide the student with a written response within ten business days following the conference.
      4. If the student is satisfied with the response, the matter is settled.
    3. Level Three
      1. If the student is not satisfied with the Level Two response, or if the time for a response has expired, the student may request a conference with the College President or designee to appeal the Level Two decision within ten business days of the Level Two response, or, if no response was received, within ten business days of the Level Two response deadline. The appeal must be hand delivered, electronically submitted via fax or e-mail, or sent by U.S. Mail.
      2. The Level Three administrator shall hold a conference within ten business days after the appeal notice is filed. The conference shall be limited to the issues presented by the student at Level One and identified in the Level Three appeal notice.
      3. The Level Three administrator shall provide the student a written response within ten days following the conference.
      4. If the student is satisfied with the response, the matter is settled.
    4. Level Four
      1. If the student is not satisfied, the student may submit a Student Appeal Form to the Texarkana College Board of Trustees within ten days after the receipt of the written Level Three response, or, if no response was received, within ten days of the Level Three response deadline.
      2. The College President or designee shall inform the student of the date, time, and place of the Board meeting at which the complaint will be on the agenda for presentation to the Board.
      3. The College District shall determine whether the complaint will be presented in open or closed meeting in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act and other applicable law.
      4. In addition to any other record of the Board meeting required by law, the Board shall prepare a separate record of the Level Four presentation. The Level Four presentation, including the presentation by the student or the student’s representative, any presentation from the administration, and questions from the Board with responses, shall be recorded by audio recording, video/audio recording, or court reporter.
      5. The Board shall then consider the complaint. It may give notice of its decision orally or in writing at any time up to and including the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.
      6. If for any reason the Board fails to reach a decision regarding the complaint by the end of the next regularly scheduled meeting, the lack of a response by the Board upholds the administrative decision at Level Three.

If a student is not satisfied with the decision of the Texarkana College Board of Trustees, they may contact the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Information on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s policy can be found at the following URL: http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=C9BD55D4-C5A3-4BC6-9A0DF17F467F4AE9

 

If a student is not satisfied with the decision of the Texarkana College Board of Trustees regarding a discrimination, harassment, retaliation, sex, or sexual violence complaint, student may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education – Office for Civil rights. URL: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html