Student Grievance Policy
The Student Complaint and Grievance Policy does not supersede specific policies involving special cases such as academic integrity and grade appeals, Title IX, sexual harassment, and due process within discipline procedures/hearings. Those special cases have specific policies and procedures that are outlined separately. A student who is unsure of which policies or procedures should be followed may discuss the matter with the Dean of Students, Director of Human Resources, or the Title IX coordinator.
University policies provide the opportunity for students to file informal concerns or complaints, or formal grievances concerning any member of the University community while acting in an official capacity (e.g. faculty member, administrator, staff member). Information regarding procedures may be obtained from the Academic Center and/or the Office of Student Development.
Student Complaint or Grievance Procedures
OBU desires to resolve student concerns and/or complaints in an expeditious and constructive manner through open dialogue and honest communication. Matthew 18:15-20 serves as the foundation for the outlined conflict resolution process, and is designed to help students resolve issues that arise regarding a certain action or inaction by a member of the University community and ensure that the University has a consistent way of resolving those concerns. It is the wish of the university to provide students with services and an education of the highest quality.
Step One: Informal Student Concern or Complaint
When a student has a concern or complaint, resolution should be sought through informal communication with the appropriate instructor, academic dean, staff member, or administrative officer who may be able to help rectify or clarify the situation before a formal written complaint is initiated. Concerns expressed by students should be addressed by the person receiving the concern, to the best of their ability, assisted by the appropriate office on campus who handles the issue of concern and/or the supervisor of the faculty or staff member hearing the concern. Informal student concerns include items expressed verbally or in an electronic format such as email, texting, etc. If the student’s concern is not resolved at the informal level, then the student is able to submit a formal written grievance by following the procedures outlined below.
Step Two: Formal Written Grievance Procedures
Once a concern or complaint cannot be resolved through the informal process, students should use the formal written grievance process outlined below. Students are encouraged to utilize the grievance procedure when they believe they have been treated unfairly; therefore, it is critical there be no retaliation against any individual involved in the procedure. Retaliation will not be tolerated and will be subject to University disciplinary procedures.
A student who wishes to lodge a formal grievance with the University must complete and submit the Formal Written Student Grievance Form which can be obtained online or from the Office of Student Development (Geiger Center 209). The form will require a narrative description of the complaint, the date(s) which the problem became evident, and a statement of the desired resolution.
The Office of Student Development will log the information and forward it to the appropriate cabinet level officer for action.
Within five working days of receipt, the student will receive notification indicating: (1) that the grievance has been received, (2) what department or cabinet officer will be addressing the situation, and (3) that the student will receive a written response after deliberation within approximately ten working days. The cabinet level officer will determine whether to assign the investigation and resolution of the complaint to the administrator overseeing the area of complaint or consider the matter themselves.
Administrative disposition of the grievance will generally consist of investigation into the source of the complaint, consideration of previous efforts to resolve the issue, and evaluation of any contingencies which will aid in the deliberation and disposition of the problem.
Following the investigation, evaluation, and resolution of the formal grievance, the student and the University department/college will receive a written report of the outcome of the dispute. If the student’s concern is not resolved at the formal grievance level, then the student is able to submit a final formal written grievance to the President by following the procedures outlined below.
Student Appeal Process
Students should exhaust the avenues of first communicating informal student concerns, followed by a Formal Written Student Grievance before seeking to elevate a concern to the Provost or the President of the University. The student has five days at the conclusion of Step 2 to provide a written request to the Provost and President. The decision of the President and/or Provost will be final, and will be communicate to the student by the appropriate dean or cabinet level officer.