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Complaints/Grievances/Petitions

Nondiscrimination in Employment and Education Opportunity
(Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board Policy 1B.1)

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law.

Harassment of an individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or membership or activity in a local commission has no place in a learning or work environment and is prohibited. Sexual violence has no place in a learning or work environment. Further, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities shall work to eliminate violence in all its forms. Physical contact by designated system, college, and university staff members may be appropriate if necessary to avoid physical harm to persons or property.

This policy is directed at verbal and physical conduct that constitutes discrimination/ harassment under state and federal law and is not directed at the content of speech. In cases in which verbal statements and other forms of expression are involved, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities will give due consideration to an individual’s constitutionally protected right to free speech and academic freedom. The system office, colleges and universities have implemented a process to review complaints of discrimination/harassment or sexual violence. This policy supersedes all existing system, college, and university nondiscrimination policies.

Affirmative Action Officer: Damien Paulson 879–0795 (Room 133)
Americans with Disabilities: Shelia Sumner 879–0715 (Room 141)
Sexual Harassment Officers: Keith Turner 879–0805 (Room 147)


Zero Tolerance of Campus Violence: Keith Turner 879–0805 (Room 147)

Complaints
A complaint is an informal claim by a student, group of students, or the student government regarding alleged improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory treatment. A complaint may become a grievance if it is not mutually resolved and if the complaint falls within the definition of a grievance.

Any student or group of students may present or discuss a complaint with the employee(s) whose actions give rise to the complaint, and/or with the administrator to whom the employee(s) reports. The student may have a representative in attendance for any such discussion.

Complaint Procedure
This procedure is to be used when a student has a concern about her/his education at the college. The procedure an accuser should follow is to complete an incident form online, paper form, or contact Dean of Students. The objective of the procedure is to resolve problems as quickly and efficiently as possible at the level closest to the student so the student’s educational progress can continue. Nothing within this process precludes a student from seeking legal counsel at any step. Both the accuser and accused may be accompanied throughout the campus process by an advisor of their choice. The accuser has the option to notify and seek assistance from law enforcement and campus authorities but is not required to do so.

The student should bring the concern to an appropriate staff or faculty member. If the student is uncomfortable with approaching the college employee directly, he/she may select an advocate inclusive of a counselor, minority advisor, or other staff member. The staff member or members attempt to work with the student and any other persons who are involved to respond to the problem within seven (7) days, not including weekends and holidays. If the complaint is not answered satisfactory, the student may follow a grievance using the following procedure.

Complaints
A complaint is a dispute or disagreement raised by a student, group of students, or the student government, concerning the application of the specific provision of a rule or regulation, the application of a rule or regulation in other than a uniform manner, or the application of a rule or regulation other than in accordance with the provisions of the rule or regulation. All evidence will be preserved and handed over to the proper authorities until the complaint is resolved.

In all instances that follow, the term “days” does not include Saturdays, Sundays, holidays or breaks in the academic year.

Student Complaint Process:
Any student attending Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has the right to file a complaint under the Minnesota Higher Education Board Policy 3.8. A student may file a complaint, which is a written claim raised by a student, a group of students, or the student government, alleging improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory action by an employee involving the application of a specific provision of a college or university rule/ regulation or a board policy or procedure. (A copy of Board Policy 3.8 is available online here.)

A student has the right to seek a remedy for a dispute or a disagreement through a designated complaint procedure. Each college and university shall establish procedures, in consultation with student representatives and others, for handling complaints. These procedures shall not substitute for other complaint procedures specific in board, college, or university regulations or negotiated agreements. Students should use available informal means to have a decision reconsidered before filing a complaint. No retaliation of any kind shall be taken against a student for participation in a complaint agreement. These procedures shall also protect data privacy rights.

 

Complaint Step Procedures and Time Lines

  1. A student may file a complaint at any time after alleged improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory action.
  2. Any student can obtain a Complaint Form in the Student Senate Office or any counselors’ office. Each student has the right to be represented by the student government or other designee.
  3. Fill out the form completely. Be very specific, listing person(s) involved, time(s), date(s), and location(s) of the incident(s) alleging any improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory action by any employee involving the application of a specific provision of a college or university rule/regulation or board policy or procedure. If you choose to have a designee, you must sign the release of information form attached to the complaint form.
  4. Return the completed form to the office of the Dean of Students and Student Affairs. The Dean of Students and Student Affairs has seven working days in which to respond to the complaint. If the complaint is of academic nature the vice president of academic affairs will be consulted for input into the situation. A written explanation will be given to the student and student designee giving notice of the Administration’s decision within seven days. If not resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved, the complaint will proceed to the appeal process. Students found to be responsible for a conduct violation shall be provided an avenue of appeal within the institution. In addition, in cases involving sanctions of suspension for ten days or longer, students shall be informed of their right to be contested case hearing under Minnesota state statute 14. Refer to the form for step five appeal process. Refer to MnSCU board policy here.
  5. The Vice President of Administration and Student Affairs and the student designee will schedule meetings to talk to the complaintant and the person who is the subject of the complaint. Written notification will be provided to the accuser regarding options available such as changes to: academic schedules, on-campus housing, transportation, and on-campus work situations. For the accused protective measures, refer to the Student Code of Conduct due process section. A student has the right to representation at any meeting and may request a mediator of their choice: student, instructor, Student Senate Complaint coordinator, or other.
  6. Records and minutes agreed upon by all parties involved will be kept on all meetings and discussions and may be consulted for future reference.
  7. Written summaries/agreements of the parties involved will follow any discussion.
  8. The complaint procedure shall include an opportunity to appeal a complaint decision. The individual to whom an appeal is directed should be identified by the college or university for the issue(s) in question. If the complaint involves a college or university rule or regulation, a student may appeal an official complaint through procedural steps up to the President or designee. The decision of the President or designee is final and binding. If the complaint involves a board policy or the actions of a college or university President, a student may further appeal the college or universal decision through the Chancellor to the Board. The decision of the Board is final and binding. 
  9. The Dean of Students will make sure that confidentiality of report is maintained throughout the process. Incident reports shall be kept under the direction of Dean of Students for a period of time as appropriate by college document retention. The incident reports, the referral process, actions taken and incident closure will be assessed on a regular basis by the President and Vice President of Academic Affairs for accuracy, proper procedure, and timeliness. The report will be issued a control number and will be stored either electronically or on paper depending upon the submittal source and will be the responsibility of the Dean of Students. Refer to the Campus Safety Report here.

Student Petitions
Students wishing to request a waiver of a college rule or regulation for unusual or unforeseen circumstances should complete a “Student Petition.” Forms may be obtained at the records office or from counselors. Completed forms should be submitted to the Vice President of Administration and Student Affairs.

Campus Security
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College encourages all students and college community members to be fully aware of the safety issues on the campus and to take action to prevent and to report illegal and inappropriate activities. Personal awareness and applying personal safety practices are the foundation of a safe community.

Pursuant to the Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College monitors criminal activity and publishes a Campus Security Report, maintains a three-year statistical history on campus, and at off-campus property or facilities owned or used by Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College or recognized college organizations. The College will distribute a copy of this report to each current student and employee.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College currently has a variety of policies and procedures relating to campus security, and expressly reserves the right to modify them or adopt additional policies or procedures at any time without notice. Such changes may appear in successive issues of this report.

 2101 14th Street       Cloquet, Minnesota 55720       1.800.657.3712       218.879.0800       Minnesota Relay Service at 711 or 1.800.627.3529
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