Student Complaint Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide a method for prompt and equitable settlement of complainant-initiated issues for which no other policy driven forum is available.

Definitions

Complaint: An oral or written statement of a student’s or students’ dissatisfaction with a college service, college employee or a student’s teaching and learning experience.

Complainant: A registered student(s) or graduate

Respondent: A staff member with whom a student has expressed dissatisfaction.

Administrator: The supervisor of the respondent.

Application/ Scope

All Cambrian graduates, full-time and part-time students.

Policy Statements

A complaint may be made by a registered student or Cambrian College graduate (the Complainant) with the Manager of Client Services in the Enrolment Centre.  Complaints made by a current student must be made within thirty (30) calendar days of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint.  Any complaint made by a Cambrian College graduate must be made within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of graduation.  Consideration of extension to the deadline shall be made at the discretion of the Appeal Committee.

Every effort shall be made by complainants and staff to resolve the issue or complaint through the informal procedure; however, complainants may opt to invoke the Formal Complaint Procedure at any time. See Appendix 1.

This policy is not applicable where the issue or complaint in question is covered by another Cambrian College policy, complaint, grievance or appeal procedure.

Should the complainant require assistance to navigate the formal complaint procedure, informational support may be provided by a representative from Student Government or a person of their choice.

When the respondent involved is an employee, the applicable sections of the appropriate collective agreement or the individual Terms of Employment must be followed.

Representatives of the College responsible for investigating complaints shall not be involved in a complaint that places the individual in a conflict of interest in relation to the complainant or the subject matter of the complaint.

A complaint may be denied at any time if the complainant objectively appears to have failed to co-operate in the full and timely processing and advancement of the complaint.

A complaint under this procedure that involves false accusations, malicious intent or is otherwise made in bad faith, as determined by the investigation, may be considered a violation of the Code of Conduct and the Student Procedures for Misconduct.

Appeals:

Complainants who have reason to believe they have been treated unjustly in relation to the recommended action for a complaint made have the right to appeal.  Cambrian College is committed to the provision of a fair and timely appeal process through which the complainant’s concern can be addressed.

Grounds for Appeal:

The grounds for appeal are:

  • New information has come to light that would have an impact on the final decision regarding the complaint.
  • The complainant is appealing the decision due to lack of impartiality in the formal complaint process.

Appeal Committee:

AVP – Student & Employee Development, Vice President Academic or Vice President, Finance & Administration – (Chair)

Administrator (x1)

Student Government Representative (x1)

Faculty or Support Staff Representative (x1)

The decision of the committee is final and will be communicated to the student within fifteen (15) business days.

Responsibilities and Accountability

Manager of Client Services: Receives the complaint, documents details, facilitates the procedure through to completion and maintains a log to track and aggregate complaint information including the final determination.

Administrator: Receives the formal complaint from the Manager of Client Services and investigates to determine whether the complaint has merit; completes and documents the final determination of action to be taken.

Senior Administrator: Determines whether an appeal has merit, convenes the Appeal Committee and makes the final decision on the matter.

Related Procedures

Appendix 1      Procedure

ActionResponsibility
Informal Appeal
Meet with staff to review complaintStudent/Graduate
At meeting, state complaint clearly, preferably in writing. If complaint is put in writing, retain a copy.Student/Graduate
Listen to the concerns of the students and seek clarification, if needed.Staff
Explore ways to resolve the concerns.Staff and Student/Graduate
Agree on a way to resolve the concerns and write down the solution for reference and for action/distribution as appropriate.Staff and Student/Graduate
If unable to resolve the issue, proceed to Formal Complaint Procedure.Student/Graduate
Formal Complaint Procedure
If unable or unwilling to approach the appropriate college staff, or if concerns have not been resolved informally with the staff member as described in Section 1 above, meet with the Manager of Client Services.Student/Graduate
At the meeting, present a completed and signed copy of the Student Complaint Form (Appendix 2).Student
Hear the student(s)’ complaints and ask points of clarification.Manager of Client Services
After the form has been filed, within five (5) business days, the Manager, Client Services shall log the complaint and direct it to the most accountable supervisor (the administrator) for reviewAdministrator
The information is reviewed and it is determined whether the complaint has merit. The student and staff may be interviewed as part of the process.Administrator
If the complaint lacks merit (e.g. if student(s)/graduate have not regularly attended class or completed assignments, or cannot identify a specific area of concern), inform the student(s)/graduate and Manager of Client Services in writing using Section 2 of the Issue/Complaint Form and provide reasons why no further action will be taken.  Administrator and Manager of Client Services
If the complaint is against an employee, provide the employee with an opportunity to respond to the complaint.Employee
If appropriate, bring the staff member and students together to discuss the situation, clarify the complaint, and develop a strategy to resolve the complaint.Administrator
A decision must be documented on the Complainant Issue / Complaint Form and provided to the Manager, Client Services no later than twenty (20) business days after the filing of the complaint.Administrator
If no response is received by the Manager of Client Services, the Administrator’s Supervisor will be notified of the complaint.Manager of Client Services
The decision shall be conveyed in writing to the complainant within five (5) business days of receiving it and a record kept for not less than five years.Manager of Client Services
Appeal
Within five (5) business days of receiving the decision an appeal may be requested stating the grounds for appeal on a Request for Appeal Form (Appendix 3) which is presented to the Manager of Client Services.Student/Graduate
If appropriate grounds for appeal are confirmed, a committee is convened which is made up of persons not directly involved in the original determination.Senior Administrator
If the appeal is denied by the Senior Administrator, the student will be notified.Manager of Client Services
The committee will consist of the AVP Student and Employee Development, the VP Academic or the VP Finance and Administration, who will act as the Chair, one Administrator, one Student Government Representative, and one Faculty or Support Staff Representative. The Chair will have a vote and will be responsible for ensuring that the members of the Committee are free of conflict of interest related to the case being heard. Every attempt will be made for the Committee to hear the appeal within five (15) business days of the confirmation of the Committee.
Within fifteen (15) business days the complainant is provided the details related to the process, timing and location of the Hearing.Manager of Client Services

Appendix 2     Student/Graduate Complaint Form
Appendix 3     Request for Appeal Form

Related Policies