Part 3 - Federal Requirements
  

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)

Compliance
Partial Compliance
Non-Compliance

Narrative

The University of New Orleans has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints. In general, students submit complaints and appeals in two areas: academic issues and other issues associated with university services and supports. Procedures are in place for both categories of issues and are disseminated via the Student Handbook, the Catalog, and the University website.

Academic Appeals

As noted in the University catalog [Page: 182] , academic appeals are submitted to the Registrar’s office by completing an Appeals Form. Appeals for exceptions to University Regulations are reviewed by the University Appeals Committee which is comprised of faculty and academic advisors. Typical issues reviewed by the Appeals Committee include: retroactive add or drop of a course(s), re-admittance on academic probation, substitution of courses beyond the number allowed in the student’s program of study, academic amnesty, petition to enroll in more than 22 semester hours, and financial aid appeals other than review of Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students are informed of the decision by the Appeals Committee in writing and a log of all appeals and decisions is maintained by the Office of Academic Affairs. A sample page from the log is provided. Examples of academic appeals are provided (Drop Course; Financial Appeal; Late Registration; Retroactive Drop; Schedule Change).

The Office of Financial Aid is responsible for the review of appeals associated with Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The information about filing an SAP appeal is available on the Financial Aid website [Page: 3] as is the form for filing an SAP Appeal. Students are informed of the appeals decision in writing and a log is maintained by the Office of Financial Aid. The Financial Aid appeal process is further explained in Federal Requirement 4.7.

Complaints about a particular course or instructor are typically handled in the form of an appeal filed through the various levels of the organizational structure. This type of appeal begins with the instructor of record, and if unresolved, to the Chair of the department in which the course is offered. If the matter is not resolved by the Chair, the appeal is forwarded to the Dean of the college in which the department resides. If necessary, unresolved academic appeals are resolved by the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Procedures for Grade Appeals are in place “to provide the student with a safeguard against receiving an unfair final grade in a course” and are disseminated via the University website. The Grade Appeals procedure affords two options, informal mediation and a formal appeal, for arbitration of a grade disagreement between student and instructor. The grade appeal process is primarily managed at the department level by a graduate or undergraduate Grade Appeals Committee. The first course of action is typically a meeting between the student and faculty member and, if needed, informal arbitration by the Department Chair. If the matter is still not resolved, the student may submit a formal appeal which is reviewed by the department committee. The student is informed of the decision of the committee in writing and may appeal the decision to the Dean of the college (undergraduate student) or to the Vice President of Research and Director of the Graduate School (graduate student).

Other Appeals

Offices providing support and services to students also provide avenues for appeal. The Office of Disability Services reviews appeals filed by students with disabilities to receive appropriate accommodations and modifications and/or to resolve issues associated with faculty providing accommodations in a timely manner. The website [Page: 2] for the Office of Disability Services also includes directions for students to file an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Student Health Services disseminates information on its website [Page: 2] for students to appeal the services provided or violations of privacy.

Violations of the Student Conduct Code [Page: 21] are reviewed by the Student Accountability Committee which includes faculty, staff and student members. Procedures are in place to support both informal resolution conferences as well as formal hearings. Students are notified of the Committee decisions by mail and students are informed in the letter that they may file an appeal of the decision within 5 days of the mailing date. These procedures [Page: 27] are described in the Student Handbook.

Procedures specific to filing complaints based on sexual harassment [Page: 30] by either faculty or students are detailed in the Student Handbook. Student matters are referred to the Office of Student Accountability and Advocacy. Faculty matters are referred to the Office of Human Resources.

Complaints related to student housing are managed by the Office of Student Housing. Typically, these complaints are related to physical plant issues (e.g., heating, cooling, plumbing malfunction) or resident behavioral issues. Students residing in university housing may submit a Maintenance Request Form online to alert management of issues in need of maintenance. Students may also call the Director of Housing or his designee to report maintenance concerns and a written work order is processed by a staff member. If behavioral concerns reported to the housing office cannot be resolved immediately by the staff, referrals are made to the Office of Student Accountability and Advocacy and the same process described above is followed based on violations of the Student Conduct Code. Appeals by freshmen related to the University of Louisiana System regulation requiring them to live on campus are also reviewed by the Office of Student Housing.

Directions to appeal parking and traffic tickets are disseminated on the University Police website. Two forms are available to submit an appeal for a parking decal refund or for a parking or traffic ticket. Appeals are reviewed by the Office of Student Accountability and Advocacy. Students receive notification of the appeal decision by mail.

A log of all appeals related to student services and supports is maintained by representatives from the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. A sample page from the log is provided. Two examples of the resolution of non-academic appeals are provided (traffic appeal; student conduct violation).

All student complaint and appeal procedures are available equally to students enrolled in on-campus courses and distance education courses through telephone, mail, and internet-based communication.

Procedures for graduate student academic appeals are outlined in the Graduate Handbook and are reviewed either by the Academic Appeals Committee or the Graduate Council. In non-academic matters, graduate students are subject to the same Student Code of Conduct and appeals procedures as those in place for undergraduate students.

Improved Procedures to Track Student Complaints

In an effort to improve the ability of students to file written complaints and for those complaints to be resolved more efficiently, the University of New Orleans is instituting a new web-based complaint management system in Fall 2014. Students may access, complete, and submit the complaint form in their WebSTAR account. The system is designed to refer complaints either to the Office of Academic Affairs (academic issues) or the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management (other issues). Personnel in each office monitoring the system then refer the complaint to the appropriate office or party for resolution. Resolutions are entered into the system which creates an electronic log of all complaints including the nature of the complaint, resolution of the complaint and timeline of resolution. Demographic data may be imported into the log to assist university leadership personnel in reviewing the complaints to identify themes indicative of systemic issues in need of resolution (e.g., revised policy or procedure, professional development).

Supporting Documents

Document Description
Document IconAcad_Appeals_FormAcademic Appeals Form
Document IconAcad_Appeals_Log_SampleSample Page From Academic Appeals Log
Document IconAppeal_Drop_Course_Example_RedactedDrop Course Example
Document IconAppeal_Financial_Example_RedactedFinancial Appeal Example
Document IconAppeal_Late_Registration_Example_RedactedLate Registration Example
Document IconAppeal_Retroactive_Drop_Example_RedactedRetroactive Drop Example
Document IconAppeal_Schedule_Example_RedactedSchedule Change Example
Document IconGrade_Appeals_ProGrade Appeals Procedure
Document IconMain_Req_FormMaintenance Request Form
Document IconNon_Acad_Appeals_Log_SampleSample Page From Non-Academic Appeals Log
Document IconParking_Decal_Appeal_FormParking Decal Refund Appeal Form
Document IconParking_Traffic_Appeal_FormParking/Traffic Ticket Appeal Form
Document IconSAP_Appeal_DescDescription of Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Disseminated on Financial Aid Website
Document IconSAP_Appeals_FormSatisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form
Document IconSexual_Harass_HandbkInformation on Sexual Harassment in Student Handbook
Document IconStud_Cond_Vio_Res_ExExample of Student Conduct Violation Resolution
Document IconStudent_Cond_Code_Vio_HandbkDescription of Student Conduct Code Violation Procedures in Student Handbook
Document IconStudent_Housing_WebsiteStudent Housing Website
Document IconTraffic_Appeal_ExExample of Traffic Appeal
Document IconUNO_Appeals_ProcProcedures for Responding to Student Appeals
Document IconUNO_CatalogUniversity of New Orleans Catalog
Document IconUNO_Health_Serv_AppealUniversity of New Orleans Student Health Services Appeals Information
Document IconUNO_Off_HRUniversity of New Orleans Office of Human Resources
Document IconUNO_Office_Dis_Serv_WebUniversity of New Orleans Office of Disability Services information on filing appeals in handbook
Document IconUNO_Park_Traffic_AppealUniversity of New Orleans Parking & Traffic Ticket Appeals Procedure
Document IconUNO_Stud_Acc_AdvStudent Accountability and Advocacy – Policies
Document IconUNO_Student_Code_of_ConductUniversity of New Orleans Student Code of Conduct