2019-2020 Catalog

Complaint Resolution and 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 www.tcsg.edu. 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.

Gender-Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure

The following procedure is designed specifically for the reporting and processing of complaints of sexual harassment. Any student who alleges a violation of sexual harassment shall notify the Sexual Harassment (Title IX) Coordinator within 10 business days following the alleged incident or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible. The complaint shall contain a brief description of the alleged violation and relief requested. If the complaint is oral, the coordinator shall prepare a written record of the complaint and ask the complainant to sign the statement, indicating that it accurately reflects the essentials of the complaint. Within seven (7) business days following the filing of a complaint, the coordinator will conduct an investigation of the alleged incident. Within five (5) business days after concluding the investigation, the coordinator will review the evidence gathered during the investigation and make a written report to the vice president of student affairs and/or college president presenting findings of fact, investigative conclusions, and recommendations as to any disciplinary action to be taken, if appropriate. A copy of this report shall be given to the complainant and accused offender. Upon reasonable request the vice president or president may grant the coordinator additional time for completing the investigation or written report. The investigator will have at least 30 days, if needed, from the time of the report of a sexual harassment complaint to complete investigations and submit a report of findings to the president or designee. The accused offender (respondent) or complaining party may respond to the report of the coordinator. Written responses must be submitted to the president within seven (7) business days from receipt of the coordinator’s report. Requests to meet with the president shall be submitted in writing within five (5) days of the receipt of the report. The president shall meet with the complainant or the respondent within a reasonable time. This meeting may be informal and include other individuals at the discretion of the president. Within a reasonable time the president shall evaluate all evidence presented and make a decision regarding a resolution. This decision shall be in writing and copied to the complainant and the respondent. Such decisions shall include a statement of the right to appeal the president’s decision to the Office of Legal Services, Technical College System of Georgia. A total time period from receipt of complaint by the president, to the president’s decision should not exceed 30 business days. An appeal of the final decision of the president may be submitted in writing to the Office of Legal Services at the Technical College System of Georgia. TCSG will contact the complainant and prepare a timeline for resolution of the appeal.

Report complaints concerning Gender/Sexual Harassment to:

Sonya Briscoe


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.

Academic and Grade Appeals

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 there is a dispute over the final grade awarded for a particular course, then the student must initiate the grade appeal process, in writing, no later than the end of the third week of the subsequent semester for which the grade was earned.

Equal Opportunity Complaint or Appeal

Students of Georgia Northwestern Technical College should report any alleged discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam Era, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law), to the person designated below as the coordinator. The coordinator should complete the information process and submit to the president within 12 days of the complaint. Report complaints concerning discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, age, religion, political affiliation or belief, disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam Era, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law) to Sonya Briscoe.

Report complaints concerning discrimination to:
Sonya Briscoe

Report complaints concerning discrimination on the basis of disability to:
Kevan Watkins
•or complete the Barrier/Access Alert Form



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:
  1. A meeting with the student or other individual
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
  1. Acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint.
  2. A statement regarding action taken.
Copies of the response should be forwarded to:
  1. The faculty or staff member involved.
  2. 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.

Financial Aid Appeal

Students will be notified of their failure to make satisfactory progress. If the student feels there were extenuating circumstances beyond his/her control that kept him/her from maintaining satisfactory progress, he/she may appeal in writing by completing the Financial Aid Appeal form (supporting documentation must be attached). The financial aid director will refer the appeal to the Appeals Committee for review. Appeal forms are available from the Financial Aid Office or from the college website. Students will be notified of the Committee’s decision within two weeks of submitting the appeal.

Financial Aid Appeal Form


Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students

It is the policy of the Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) that all students shall be provided an environment free of unlawful harassment (including sexual harassment and sexual violence), discrimination, and retaliation.

All students and employees are expressly prohibited from engaging in any form of unlawful harassing, discriminating, intimidating or retaliatory behavior or conduct (“prohibited conduct”) in all interactions with each other, whether or not the interaction occurs during class or on or off campus. Visitors to campuses also shall not engage in prohibited conduct and may be barred for such prohibited conduct if other corrective measures are ineffective. Allegations of prohibited conduct occurring at clinical sites to which students are assigned shall be investigated in accordance with this procedure.

Any individual who has engaged in prohibited conduct will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or dismissal. Nothing in this procedure shall be interpreted to interfere with any person’s right to free speech as provided by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

All students are encouraged to report any prohibited conduct. Reports will be treated in an expeditious and confidential manner.

GNTC will not tolerate retaliation for having filed a good faith harassment and/or discrimination complaint or for having provided any information in an investigation. Any individual who retaliates against a complainant or witness in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or dismissal. 

Any individual who knowingly makes a false charge of unlawful harassment/discrimination or retaliation, or who is untruthful during an investigation may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or dismissal.

GNTC follows procedures specified by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) for reports of unlawful harassment and discrimination of students.

Report complaints concerning Unlawful Harassment (inclucing sexual harassment and sexual violence) to:

Other Student Non-Academic Complaints or Appeals

Any person with a complaint or appeal not addressing equal opportunity, gender/sexual harassment, academics, or student discipline (found in the Handbook) 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:

  1. A meeting with the student.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. Acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint.
  2. A statement regarding action taken.

Copies of the response should be forwarded to:

  1. The faculty or staff member involved.
  2. 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.