Academic Grievance Policy

PBA student takes notes in class.

Grievance Policy (Academic Complaint)*

An academic complaint refers to the grievance a student may have concerning faculty evaluation of his or her academic performance represented in the final grade for a course, OR a professor’s assessment of academic dishonesty.

The following procedure must be followed in filing a grievance:

  1. Final Grades: Issues concerning individual assignments, examinations, and other graded work during the course may only be appealed to the professor; a student may not use this policy for appeal until a final grade has been assigned for the course. To appeal a final grade, the student must take the matter to the faculty member, in writing, and within the first 15 PBA work days of the grade being posted in my.pba.edu. Appeal via PBA e-mail correspondence will be considered a written appeal. The appropriate Dean must be copied on the written appeal.
  2. Academic Dishonesty: To appeal an academic dishonesty judgment, the student must take the matter to the faculty member, in writing, within 5 working days of being notified of the judgment. Appeal via PBA e-mail correspondence will be considered a written appeal.
  3. The Faculty Member will respond to the student in writing within 15 PBA work days of the student’s written notification of grievance. Response via PBA e-mail will be considered as a written response.
  4. The student may appeal the case to the Dean, by completing the appeal application and submitting it to the Dean, only after written communication with the professor in resolving the complaint proves to be unsatisfactory to the student. This appeal to the Dean must be done within 15 PBA work days of the written response from the faculty member. The written justification for the request must identify the issues, with all substantiating documents attached. Appeal to the Dean via PBA e-mail must include appropriate attachments including the signed appeal application and all substantiating documentation. The Dean will denote his or her decision on the application for appeal and return it to the student in written form or via PBA e-mail within 15 PBA work days.
  5. If the original appeal involves the Dean as the professor of record, the Provost will appoint another dean to review the appeal.
  6. If, after the Dean has made the decision on the appeal, the student is not satisfied with the outcome, he or she may appeal to the Council of Deans through the Office of the Provost. The only justification for an appeal to the Council of Deans is a procedural violation. The student appeal must demonstrate which procedure was violated and how it was violated. A simple disagreement with the decision is not sufficient grounds for appeal. This application for appeal must be submitted within 15 PBA work days of the written response from the Dean and must be submitted to the Office of the Provost. The appeal may be delivered in written form or via PBA e-mail. If the appeal is delivered via PBA e-mail, all substantiating documentation must be attached to the e-mail.
  7. This appeal will be reviewed by the Appeals Committee of the Council of Deans (which consists of three people who are appointed from the members of the Council of Deans for a one-year term by the Provost) to determine the merit of the case. If the Appeals Committee determines that the case is not sustainable on its merits, the decision is final and there is no further appeal. If the committee determines compelling evidence to proceed with the case, such an appeal can proceed in one of two ways. First, the Appeals Committee may refer the matter back to the Dean with recommendations for resolution. Second, the Appeals Committee may refer the matter to be heard at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council of Deans which falls in the following calendar month. The Administrative Assistant to the Provost will provide the student with the date of the Council of Deans meeting.
  8. The Council must be supplied with the completed application for appeal, a written summary of the complaint, and all substantiating documents relating to the case, including the original appeal to the Dean. The only evidence admissible is that which has previously been presented to the Dean, with the exception of evidence related to procedural violation by the Dean. The Dean to whom the complaint was submitted also will provide a written summary account of his or her conclusions and written recommendations within 15 PBA work days prior to the scheduled appeal, along with any substantiating documents. The Administrative Assistant to the Provost is responsible for gathering these materials and for making them available to all parties for review prior to the meeting.
  9. The student and the faculty member will be allowed to present their cases to the Council. Communication with the Council during its deliberations is the responsibility of each party in the complaint. The presence of the student and of the faculty member is only for fact-finding. Deliberations based upon these presentations and the written records of the case are kept strictly confidential and are open only to Council members.
  10. The Provost and any member of the Council who is a party to the complaint or who believes that past experience or relationship with individuals involved prejudices an objective review of the case may recuse themselves from the final decision.
  11. As chair of the Council, the Provost will communicate the Council’s findings in writing to the student and faculty members within ten working days of deliberations.

The Office of the Provost is responsible for enforcing the decision of the Council of Deans. The conclusions and recommendations of the Council are final and binding upon the parties to the complaint. No further appeal may ensue.

*NOTE: Students seeking information regarding a non-academic complaint should review the Grievance Policy (Non-Academic Complaint) below.

 

File Outside Complaint

To file a complaint against a nonpublic postsecondary institution in Florida, the student would write a letter or send an e-mail containing the following information:

  1. Name of Student (or Complainant)
  2. Complainant Address
  3. Phone Number
  4. Name of Institution
  5. Location of the Institution (City)
  6. Dates of Attendance
  7. A full description of the problem and any other documentation that will support your claim such as enrollment agreements, correspondence, etc.
  8. You may contact:
    Office of Articulation

Distance Education students, who have completed the internal institutional grievance process and the applicable state grievance process, may appeal non-instructional complaints to the FL-SARA PRDEC Council. For additional information on the complaint process, please visit the FL-SARA Complaint Process page.

Grievance Policy (Non-Academic Complaint)

Scope

This policy applies to all administrative organizational units within Palm Beach Atlantic University (BA) and will be acknowledged and adhered to by all PBA administrators, faculty and staff.

This policy applies to the defining, documentation, and response to non-academic student grievances at the institution.

Policy Statement

Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA), in accordance with SACSCOC and federal guidelines, is committed to providing a thorough and fair non-academic grievance process to resolve student concerns and complaints. PBA administration, faculty, and staff will use this policy as a guide for responding to student grievances and document the complaint and response as outlined. This documentation will be maintained for seven (7) years to ensure the integrity of the records.

Reason for Policy

The purpose of this policy is to outline the process that departments must follow in the response and documentation of written student grievances to ensure a thorough and fair review of all complaints.

In addition, this policy is required by the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to meet the following standard:

Federal Requirement 12.4. The institution (a) publishes appropriate and clear procedures for addressing written student complaints, (b) demonstrates that it follows the procedures when resolving them, and (c) maintains a record of student complaints that can be accessed upon request by SACSCOC. (Student complaints)

Sanctions

If an institution fails to comply with the following policy and procedures, it may lose its Title VI funding. In addition, the institution’s case may be referred to SACSCOC Board of Trustees for the imposition of a sanction or for removal from membership.

Definitions

Non-academic complaint – any alleged injustice including unfair treatment, error, or behavior inconsistent with University policies, mission, or values.

Policy Procedures and Details

  1. The student should take his/her complaint to the staff member who oversees the program/office/department for which he/she has a complaint. Initial concerns may be communicated verbally or in writing by the student to the staff member.
  2. If the resolution with the staff member proves unsatisfactory to the student, he/she may make a formal complaint in writing to the staff member’s immediate supervisor. It is the student’s responsibility to demonstrate that he/she has already communicated with the staff member who oversees the program/office/department. Any complaint that has not followed the prescribed steps will be referred back to the appropriate staff member.
  3. The supervisor will review the student’s complaint and reasonable effort will be made to provide a written acknowledgment within 15 business days, barring any extenuating circumstances(e.g., international travel, serious illness). Response via PBA e-mail will be considered as a written response.
  4. The written complaint will be logged for internal processing; however, it will not become a part of the student’s official record.
  5. If the resolution with the supervisor proves unsatisfactory to the student, he/she may take the complaint to the Director, Dean, Vice President or designee in writing. It is the student’s responsibility to demonstrate that he/she has already communicated with the staff member’s immediate supervisor. Any complaint that has not followed the prescribed steps will be referred back to the appropriate staff member.
  6. In the event that the complaint is directly related to the Director, Non-academic Dean, Vice President, or designee, the complaint will be forwarded to the President’s Office.
  7. The President’s Office or designee will review the student’s complaint and provide a final written response. Response via PBA e-mail will be considered as a written response.
  8. Each department is required by SACSCOC and federal regulations to maintain a student complaint log. This log is intended to track the process beginning with the written complaint until final written resolution (steps 2-7). The log should contain the following information: student name, date of complaint, nature of complaint, date of acknowledgment, action, resolution, date of final action notification.
  9. The log and backup documentation (any written correspondence and notes if applicable) must be safely and confidentially stored on the shared departmental drive and will be annually reviewed by the Director, Dean, Vice President or designee. Al records must be retained for a minimum of seven (7) years.

References

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, 2018.

Contacts

Dr. Bob Lutz, Vice President for Student Development

Phone: (561) 803-2552

To file a complaint against a nonpublic postsecondary institution in Florida, please write a letter or send an e-mail containing the following information:

  1. Name of Student (or Complainant) 2. Complainant Address
  2. Phone Number
  3. Name of Institution
  4. Location of the Institution (City)
  5. Dates of Attendance
  6. A full description of the problem and any other documentation that will support your claim such as enrollment agreements, correspondence, etc.
  7. The complaint process of the Commission involves contacting the institution to obtain their response to your complaint. If you do not want the Commission to contact the institution you are attending, you must state so in your complaint; however, doing so will greatly hinder the Commission’s ability to assist you with your complaint.
Send Letter To:

Commission for Independent Education, 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1414

Tallahassee, FL. 32399-0400

E-mail: cieinfo@fldoe.org

Fax: (850) 245-3238

 

General Guidelines for Informal Resolution

In most cases, concerns can be resolved through informal processes that begin with the student and the department or office involved by following the steps outlined below. Students may choose, however, not to utilize the informal process and file a written formal complaint from the outset of their concerns which will be described in the following section.

Informal Process:

  1. Discuss the matter with the faculty or staff member in the department or office in which the issue originated.
  2. If the issue is not resolved, next contact the department chair or administrative office supervisor to attempt a resolution.
  3. If the issue still remains unresolved, next contact the appropriate dean’s office or administrative assistant/associate vice president.

General Guidelines for Formal Complaints

If a student’s concern remains unresolved after exhausting informal processes for resolution, the student may choose to file a written statement of his/her complaint to seek official documentation and resolution of the issue(s). The sections below describe procedures for written complaints. All departments and programs shall keep written logs and copies of all documents related to formal complaints received. Complaint logs shall note the nature of the complaint, the final resolution of the issue, and the date of resolution.

Formal Process:

  1. The student completes a written explanation of the concern or appeals to the appropriate office.
  2. The complaint must include the student’s name and contact information, and a description of the circumstances, including the parties involved to date and the current status of the situation.
  3. The supervisor will review the student’s complaint and provide a written acknowledgement within ten business days.
  4. The written complaint will be logged for internal processing; however, it will not become a part of the student’s official record.
  5. If the resolution with the supervisor proves unsatisfactory to the student, he/she may take the complaint to the Director, Dean, Vice President or designee in writing. It is the student’s responsibility to demonstrate that he/she has already communicated with the staff member’s immediate supervisor. Any complaint that has not followed the prescribed steps will be referred back to the appropriate staff member.
  6. In the event that the complaint is directly related to the Director, non-academic Dean, Vice President or designee, the complaint will be forwarded to the Senior Vice President for Finance, Administration and Planning.
  7. The Senior Vice President or designee will review the student’s complaint and provide a written response.
  8. In the event that the complaint is directly related to the Senior Vice President for Finance, Administration and Planning, the complaint will be forwarded to the Provost.
  9. The Provost will review the student’s complaint and provide a final written response.

If the student is not satisfied with the institution’s complaint process you may contact:

 State Contacts

Office of Articulation

Out-of-State Students

Those who have completed the internal institutional and applicable state grievance procedures may appeal the complaint to the PRDEC Council at FLSARAinfo@fldoe.org.

Office of Articulation

Department of Education

Send Email
Phone: 850-245-0427