Academic Due Process & Complaint Procedures
It is the objective of these procedures to provide for the prompt and fair resolution of the types of problems described herein which students may experience at Western:
Complaint. An informal claim by an affected student that a faculty member or an academic administrator has violated, misinterpreted, or improperly exercised his/her professional duties.
Complainant. An affected student who makes a complaint.
Grievance. A written allegation by an affected student that a faculty member or an academic administrator has violated, misinterpreted, or improperly exercised his/her professional duties. The grievance should include the possibility of a remedy.
Grievant. An affected student who files a grievance.
Respondent(s). The faculty member(s) and/or academic administrator(s) identified by the affected student as causing or contributing to the complaint or grievance.
Grievance Committee. A committee composed of one faculty member selected by the grievant, one faculty member selected by the respondent, and three faculty members selected by the Vice President for Academic Affairs (or assignees).
Time Limits. When a number of days are specified herein, they shall be understood to exclude Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, University vacation days, and other days when the University is not in session and holding classes.
Academic Administrator. Professional personnel of the University, other than teaching faculty, who are in positions to make academic decisions affecting students, including but not limited to, department chairs, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President.
Informal Complaint Procedure
The complainant shall discuss the problem with the respondent(s). If the problem is not mutually resolved at this time, the complainant shall confer with the immediate supervisor(s) of the respondent(s). (This usually will be the Chair(s) of the Department(s) to which the respondent(s) is assigned.) If satisfactory resolution is still not achieved, the complainant must confer with the Vice President for Academic Affairs or selected representative.
Formal Grievance Procedure
If the complaint is not suitably resolved, the student has the right to file a grievance with the Vice President for Academic Affairs within six months of the time that the grievant could or should have known of the action which is the basis of the problem. This written allegation shall indicate what has already been done to resolve the complaint. Preservation of relevant documents and of precise records of actions taken is advantageous. The grievance committee shall be formed under the supervision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and a hearing shall be scheduled within 15 days after that officer receives the written grievance from the grievant.
The grievance committee shall hear testimony from the grievant, the respondent, and whomever else it deems appropriate. Within 15 days after completion of the hearing(s), the grievance committee shall submit its findings to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for implementation as deemed appropriate by that officer. A copy of the finding of the committee and of the implementing decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be given to the grievant and the respondent. The grievant may withdraw the grievance at any point in the proceedings by doing so in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs may grant an extension of the time limit for good cause. If the grievance has not been resolved satisfactorily after the above procedures have been completed, the grievant is advised that he/she may appeal to the President of Western Colorado University, and ultimately, to the Board of Trustees.
US Department of Education Program Integrity Regulations Complaint Process
Pursuant to the United States Department of Education’s Program Integrity Rule, Western is required to provide all prospective and current students with the contact information of the state agency or agencies that handle complaints against postsecondary education institutions offering distance learning or correspondence education within that state. Students are encouraged to utilize the institution’s internal complaint or review policies and procedures through the Office of Student Affairs or Office of the Provost prior to filing a complaint with the state agency or agencies. The link below provides a list of contacts from each state in which a student may file a complaint.