Student Handbook 2016-2017

Complaint Resolution or Appeals

Georgia Northwestern Technical College is committed to ensuring an environment that is fair, humane, and respectful for all students, an environment that supports and rewards students on the basis of relevant considerations, and that is free from illegal or inappropriate conduct.

In an instance of perceived violation of college policies, standards of professional conduct or state or federal law, a student may file a complaint, which shall be resolved as addressed in these policies and procedures. Individuals may follow an informal and/or formal process to reach resolution of the complaint. (At no time will college policy contradict policy and procedure as determined by the Technical College System of Georgia as listed in the TCSG Policy and Procedures Manual at If a contradiction is realized, the TCSG Policy will prevail.)

Retaliation in any form against individuals bringing grievances is prohibited and will subject the retaliating individual to disciplinary action. An individual who initiates a fraudulent or bad faith claim or charge shall also be subject to disciplinary action.

The Informal Process

Complainants are encouraged to seek informal resolution of their grievances or concerns. This procedure is intended to encourage communication between the parties involved, either directly or through an intermediary, in order to facilitate a mutual understanding of different perspectives regarding the complaint. An individual is not required to seek resolution nor does the seeking of an informal resolution prohibit the individual from filing a formal grievance or complaint. Contacts for filing grievances or complaints are discussed below.

The Formal Process

If resolution is not satisfactory at the informal levels, or if a student does not wish to follow the informal process, a student may submit a formal complaint. A formal complaint must be in writing and must specifically state the basis for the complaint and the remedy that the student seeks.

The procedures for formal complaint and the person to whom the student addresses a formal complaint may be different based on the type of formal complaint. Types of complaints and procedures for seeking resolution are addressed below.

Written Student Complaint – Academic

Any student at Georgia Northwestern Technical College who feels he/she has an academic complaint should first seek resolution of the complaint with the instructor of the class in which the situation has occurred. The complaint should be presented to the instructor in written form, and dated, in order to better establish a timeline for resolution of the complaint.

The complaint should be brought to the instructor’s attention before the end of the semester in which the situation occurred. In any case the complaint must be brought to the attention of GNTC faculty before the beginning of the next academic session.* Failure to lodge a complaint in a timely fashion may preclude the student from filing said complaint at a later date. Once a student has notified the instructor of the complaint the instructor has five (5) business days to reply in writing. This reply should list the student’s original complaint and the solution offered by the instructor. A copy of the original complaint and a copy of the instructor’s response will be forwarded to the instructor’s dean of academic affairs.

If the student does not get a satisfactory resolution to his/her complaint, resolution may be sought by appealing to the dean of academic affairs for the instructor of the course in which the situation arose. A written description of the incident, including all pertinent details and the solution offered by the instructor, must be given to the dean. The appeal must be received within ten (10) business days after the failure to receive satisfaction from the instructor. Once the dean receives the formal complaint, he/she has seven (7) business days to reply in writing to the student.

If the student is still not satisfied with the results of their complaint he/she has ten (10) business days from the time of the receipt of the decision in which to file a written appeal with the vice president of academic affairs (VPAA) at GNTC.

Once the student has filed a written appeal with the VPAA, he/she should expect to receive a reply within ten (10) business days. Once the vice president makes a decision on the appeal, that decision is final. No further appeal is heard.

*NOTE: If the student’s complaint is regarding the final grade awarded for a particular course then the student has ten (10) business days from the time they could reasonably be aware of their final grade. This “reasonable time” is defined as starting once grades are posted and made available to students on the institutions electronic records webpage.

Non-Academic Complaint or Appeal

Any person with a complaint or appeal not addressing equal opportunity, gender/sexual harassment, student discipline, or academics should forward the complaint and any clarifying information to the appropriate vice president. The appropriate vice president will investigate the complaint to determine its validity. This would include:

A meeting with the student or other individual

A meeting with faculty or staff member against whom the complaint was lodged. In case of a complaint regarding procedures, the meeting would be with the individual responsible for the particular program or service in question.

Meetings or discussion with other appropriate faculty, staff, or students.

The vice president, upon clarifying the nature of the complaint, should respond in writing to the student lodging the complaint within seven (7) days.

The response should include:

Acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint.

A statement regarding action taken.

Copies of the response should be forwarded to:

The faculty or staff member involved.

The student’s file.

NOTE: Any complaint or grievance filed against a vice president should be made directly to the college president. Any complaint against a college president should be made directly to the TCSG commissioner.