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Education and Student Life

Complaint Procedure for University-wide Services Provided to Students

Scope

This procedure applies to complaints related to university-wide services including student programs, counseling and psychological services, student health, educational technology, wellness center, enrollment management, library services, student accounting, and other university-wide services.  Complaints about university-wide services are to be directed to the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life. College-specific complaints including academic, curricula, and professionalism complaints, are to be directed to the student’s college dean’s office. For additional information regarding specific types of complaints (e.g. gender equity, ADA, FERPA, student mistreatment), visit the MUSC Student Complaint Procedures website.

Rationale

The University respects and protects the diverse interests of all students, faculty, and employees and promotes a philosophy of mutual respect. The University is committed to providing students with a quality learning experience in an environment where constructive feedback is encouraged and complaints are effectively addressed. It is the intent of the University to provide an open, fair, and accessible process which encourages the prompt resolution of complaints/issues encountered by MUSC students.

The University recognizes that in spite of every effort to make the MUSC experience a positive one, students may have concerns or complaints; and, therefore, a process is in place to ensure these concerns are addressed both fairly and efficiently.

Definitions

Academic Performance Complaint
A complaint regarding a student’s academic performance (e.g., grades, dismissal, progression) in a specific program or course. Complaints of this nature are not covered under this memorandum. The student is to follow the college’s procedure in keeping with the information outlined in The Bulletin.

Complainant
A student or other individual (e.g., parent) who submits a complaint

Formal Complaint
A written allegation against the college and/or university; may also be called a grievance

Formal Complaint Form
The official MUSC form used to file a formal complaint (Appendix A)

Formal Complaint Log
The official MUSC form documenting all formal complaints and submitted annually to the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life (Appendix B); information is de-identified

Inormal Complaint
A complaint communicated verbally, in writing (e.g., email or text), or in a manner other than through the submission of the official MUSC formal complaint form

Student
An individual who is currently, formerly, or likely to be enrolled at MUSC; includes individuals who are enrolled in distance education programs

University
Includes all units outside the colleges that provide services to students (Division of Education and Student Life, Library Services, and Finance and Administration, etc.)

Complainants’ Rights

  1. A complaint will be treated with appropriate confidentiality and in a timely manner.
  2. A complainant has the right to withdraw the complaint in writing at any point in the process.
  3. A complainant may file a written complaint without fear of retaliation. If the complaint is filed without basis or with the intent to harm a member of the MUSC community, disciplinary action may be taken.
  4. The procedure will be applied consistently to students across colleges/units, including distance-learning students.

Student Complaint Resolution Process

The University-wide complaint resolution includes the following three stages:

Stage 1: Informal Complaint Resolution
Stage 2: Formal Complaint Resolution
Stage 3: Resolution Appeal

Stage 1: Informal Complaint Resolution

  1. The student is encouraged to address his/her concerns at the earliest possible time and on an informal basis with the program or individual involved.
  2. If the issue is not resolved, the student is encouraged to contact the program leader or the supervisor of the individual to review the issue and allegations.
  3. The student may approach the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life for assistance with an informal complaint.

Stage 2: Formal Complaint Resolution

  1. The complainant completes the MUSC Complaint Form according to the instructions on the form and submits the form to the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life. (Note: If the complainant is not currently enrolled at MUSC, the form must be notarized.)
  2. The Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life forwards the complaint to the Student Complaint Committee, composed of a chairperson and three faculty/staff members representing Education and Student Life, Library Services, and Finance and Administration.
  3. The Student Complaint Committee reviews the complaint and gathers additional information as needed. The Committee makes a decision and communicates the decision in writing to the student. The Committee provides a copy of the written decision to the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life and the leader of the unit involved in the complaint.

Stage 3: Appeal

  1. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the committee’s decision, he/she may appeal the committee’s decision to the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life. The Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life reviews the committee’s decision, gathers additional information as needed, and communicates in writing her decision to the student and the leader of the unit involved in the complaint. The decision of the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life is final.
  2. If the complaint believes that due process was not followed, he/she has the option of submitting a written appeal to the Provost. In the written appeal, the student must identify how due process was not followed. The complainant must provide the college with a copy of the written appeal to the Provost. The Provost’s finding will be communicated in writing to the student and to the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life.

Notification of Student Complaint Procedures

  1. The university-services complaint procedures are well-publicized on the Education and Student Life website and in The Bulletin.
  2. There are additional internal and external offices, organizations, and accrediting bodies to which students may submit a complaint. For additional information, refer to the MUSC Student Complaint Procedure website or contact the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs. (Note: Before filing a complaint at the state or accrediting agency level, the complainant is generally expected to exhaust all internal complaint avenues.)

Documentation

  1. The Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life will maintain a log of complaints (Appendix B) which will be submitted annually and reviewed with the Educational Advisory Committee along with complaint logs submitted by each college.  Information recorded in the log will be de-identified. 
  2. Documentation related to the complaint is maintained for 10 years in accordance with South Carolina Retention Schedule.

Contact information for the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Services

Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life
Medical University of South Carolina
Colcock Hall
179 Ashley Avenue, MSC 002
Charleston, SC 29425

 
 
 

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