Drake State recognizes that in order to efficiently and effectively carry out its mission, its students must feel confident that any valid complaint or grievance a student may make concerning the college will be promptly addressed by the appropriate authorities. Therefore, the following procedures for resolving such complaints and grievances have been adopted by Drake State.
The Drake State Student Handbook defines the initial steps to solve a complaint, as well as defines sexual harassment, discrimination, and grievance as follows:
Drake State has a variety of procedures for handling student-related issues, including grade appeals, academic dishonesty violations, student discipline, harassment complaints, and Student Grievance procedures. One area not generally covered by other procedures concerns informal student complaints about faculty, staff, or student conduct. The College respects the academic freedom of the faculty and will not interfere with the exercise of appropriate discretion concerning the content or style of teaching activities. Indeed, academic freedom is and should be of paramount importance. At the same time, the College recognizes its responsibility to provide students with a procedure for addressing complaints about faculty/staff treatment of students that are not covered by other procedures.
Wherever possible, complaints at Drake State are handled in an informal manner. Administrators, faculty, and staff maintain an open-door policy to discuss issues of concern for all students. Faculty and staff serve as a resource for individuals seeking assistance in resolving matters within the College community. Students are encouraged to first attempt to resolve complaints with the faculty or staff person.
If unresolved, students should next speak to the departmental chairperson or supervisor of the faculty or staff member in an effort to resolve the matter. If still unresolved, the student should lodge their complaint with the Dean of Instruction (academic complaints) or Dean of Students (non-academic complaints). The chart below details the initial area for assistance referral and subsequent contact areas. If students have any questions about the applicable area for assistance, they should consult with the Title IX Coordinator, who will advise the student if some other procedure is applicable to the type of complaint they are seeking to resolve.
If an informal conference regarding a complaint fails to reach the outcome requested by the student, the student may initiate the formal process described below by timely filing a written complaint to the respective Dean. Any student enrolled at Drake State who wishes to make a formal complaint about an academic matter must report that matter in writing to the Dean of Instruction, who is responsible for managing academic complaints.
Any other types of complaints are considered non-academic and are reported to the Dean of Students, who is responsible for managing non-academic complaints. If the complaint involves a specific occurrence, the complaint shall be made within 10 working days of the occurrence.
The written complaint is completed on a Complaint Form which includes the date the complaint was reported, the student’s name, student identification number, contact information and current enrollment status. The specific elements of the complaint review that are included in the records are as follows:
If, after discussion between the student and the respective dean, it is determined that the complaint can be resolved immediately, the college official will take action to resolve the complaint and will submit a report within 10 working days of the filing of the complaint to the President and other appropriate college officials, detailing both the complaint and its resolution.
If any student’s complaint is not or cannot be resolved at the first level of supervision as described in the paragraphs above, such an unresolved complaint shall be termed a grievance. A student who submits a complaint to the appropriate College officials under the paragraphs above and who is not satisfied with the plan of resolution shall have the right to file a grievance with the College official and shall include the following information:
If the complainant fails to file notice of appeal by 4:30 pm on the 15th calendar day following having received the plan of resolution, the right to further appeal is forfeited.
The Grievance Officer, either personally or with the assistance of such other persons as the President may designate, shall conduct a factual investigation of the grievance and shall research the applicable statute, regulations, or policy, if any. The factual findings from the investigation by the Grievance Officer shall be stated in a written report. The report will be submitted to the complainant and to the party against whom the complaint was made, the respondent, and shall be made a part of the hearing record, if a hearing is requested by the complainant.
Drake State has outlined this procedure for addressing student complaints/grievances. In the event a complaint/grievance is not resolved at Drake State, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) has implemented a complaint process.