Academic Grievance Procedure

Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community at large. Students should exercise their freedom with responsibility. The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis and not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.


The term academic grievance as used in these procedures shall mean a complaint by a student of Clinton Community College concerning a faculty member at the college.

  1. That the rights and freedoms of the student in the classroom have been violated, OR
  2. That there has been a violation, misinterpretation or inequitable application of any of the academic regulations of the College. In keeping with the intent and spirit of these statements, it is expected that all parties involved show respect, restraint, and responsibility in their efforts to resolve perceived grievances. It is incumbent upon faculty members to arrange meetings and conferences with the student in good faith and to communicate decisions to the student promptly.

Protection of Freedom of Expression: Students should be free to take reasonable exception to the data or view offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.

Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation: Students should have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation.

Protection Against Improper Disclosures: Information about students' views, beliefs, and political associations which professors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisers, and counselors should be considered confidential. Protection against improper disclosures is a serious professional obligation. Evaluations of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances.

Disagreements between students and instructors are frequently resolved on an informal basis. However, the College is obligated to provide formal avenues for appeal of grades or academic conduct of an instructor. In fact, these formal procedures are not intended to replace informal channels, and every attempt should be made to explore these avenues prior to escalating to more formalized procedures. The procedures described are purposefully general, rather than detailed, to insure flexibility for both the student and the instructor in pursuing and/or defending the grievance. Rather than listing specific time limits, it is assumed that reasonable efforts will be made to expedite the process.

These procedures in no way reduce the traditional responsibility and authority of faculty members in establishing academic standards and procedures for their courses.

Informal Level

  1. The student with a concern should make the complaint to the instructor within twenty (20) calendar days of the condition on which the dispute is based. For due cause, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may extend this time requirement. The student and the faculty member should attempt to resolve the difference informally and in a manner acceptable to both.
  2. If, after this procedure, the student is still dissatisfied, the student should contact the appropriate department chairperson and then the Vice President for Academic Affairs concerning the issue. As soon as possible or practical, the Vice President for Academic Affairs (or his/her designee) shall work as a mediator with the student, the instructor, and, if necessary, the appropriate Department Chairperson to attempt to resolve the complaint.
  3. If the complaint is resolved, a written confirmation of resolution will be filed in the Vice President for Academic Affairs' Office.

Formal Level

If the matter remains unresolved at the end of the meeting referred to in step two, informal level, the following procedures must be initiated:

  1. The student will obtain a "Student Academic Grievance Form" from the Vice President for Academic Affairs. This form will serve as the student's position paper and will be distributed to those indicated on the form. The student may request, through the Dean for Student Affairs, the services of a faculty member (or another college community member) to serve as his/her Academic Grievance Advisor. No person outside the college community may serve this role.
  2. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will request that the chairperson of the Academic Standards Committee appoint a five-person Academic Hearing Committee comprising the following:
    1. One full-time teaching faculty member from the academic department of the faculty member named in the grievance;
    2. One full-time teaching faculty member not from the same academic department of the faculty member named in the grievance;
    3. One full-time member from Student Services;
    4. Two students chosen from the Student Senate.
      The aggrieved student and the named faculty member (the principals) have the right to review the membership of the Hearing Committee before the hearing begins and to request the replacement of any one member of the committee. Any additional requests for the replacement of any other member must be made in writing to the Academic Standards Committee.
  3. As soon as possible, the Academic Hearing Committee will arrange a meeting to review all positions of the grievance.
  4. After investigating and deliberating the matter, the committee will forward all pertinent materials, along with their recommendations, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  5. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall review the committee's written proceedings and recommendations, along with the positions of all involved parties.
  6. As soon as practical, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall render a decision and report the findings to the parties involved. The Vice President's decision is binding.
  7. All materials relevant to the case should be placed on file in the Vice President for Academic Affairs' Office.