Student Grievance System

In an effort to help identify sources of assistance or procedures to follow when a student has a complaint or grievance, the following grievance procedures are outlined.

Basic Assumption and Process

Ideally, situations should be resolved by direct discussion among the parties involved. All grievances should be addressed initially to the office/person involved in the dispute. When situations cannot be resolved on the basis of direct discussion among the parties, the dispute should be taken to the next level, normally the supervising person or office. Students may contact the vice president for Student Life for assistance in resolving a grievance or to find out the appropriate office or person with whom to discuss a dispute or grievance.

A. Academic Matters
This policy refers to academic policies, procedures, or requirements. It does not refer to matters of academic dishonesty or grading policies. For the policy on academic dishonesty, please refer to page 41. Final authority for grades rests with the faculty member.

Students seeking exceptions to college academic policies must submit the Petition for Variance from Academic Policy form to the registrar, who will present the form to the vice president for Academic Affairs for final action.  Students seeking course substitutions for graduation requirements do not need to submit a variance form, but should consult with the appropriate department chair, who will work with the registrar for submission of the appropriate documentation to support the substitution.
The vice president for Academic Affairs and the Educational Policy Committee are ultimately responsible for the articulation of all academic policies.

Disagreements with individual faculty regarding the implementation of policies, procedures, or requirements should be discussed directly with the faculty member. If after thorough discussion a dispute remains, the student may schedule an appointment with the department chair to discuss the concerns. If the dispute involves the department chair, or is still unresolved after review by the department chair, the student may contact the vice president for Academic Affairs.

If the dispute involves an academic evaluation, it should first be discussed with the course instructor. If the concern cannot be resolved with the course instructor, it is recommended that a student articulate the disagreement in a written statement to the department chair including evidence that a policy, procedure, or requirement was not followed. If the dispute involves the department chair or if a dispute about academic evaluation cannot be resolved at the departmental level, it is recommended that the student present a written statement to the vice president for Academic Affairs and, when appropriate, include evidence of prejudiced academic evaluation and evidence of attempts to deal with the dispute at the departmental level. A written document provides an important record and may help to clarify the area of disagreement. It is recommended that the disagreement be discussed within the semester it occurs, preferably within two weeks. Simple disagreements with the instructor’s philosophy in assigning grades do not constitute cause for petitioning the vice president for Academic Affairs. Final decisions on course grades rest with the course instructor.

B. Discrimination
Wartburg College does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability, genetics, creed, gender identity, or in admission, employment, programs, or activities. Persons having inquiries regarding compliance or wishing to file a complaint may contact the Wartburg College Human Resources Director or Affirmative Action Officer at ext. 8521, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

C. Housing Grievances
Complaints or grievances involving housing, including maintenance issues, should be discussed at the residence hall level with the RA, the residence hall director, or the building custodian or matron. If the dispute involves a maintenance issue and it cannot be resolved at the hall level, the dispute should be discussed with the plant superintendent. Complaints regarding residence life matters or housing charges and fines that cannot be resolved at the hall level should be discussed with the associate dean of students.

D. Student Employment
Complaints involving student employment should first be discussed with the student’s immediate supervisor. If the issue is not resolved, the problem may be taken to the supervisor’s direct superior.
The student employment coordinator and/or the director of Human Resources and payroll may be consulted to discuss the dispute with the parties involved. If contacted, the student employment coordinator and/or the director of Human Resources will check to see that fairness and procedures were followed and will try to resolve any misunderstanding among the parties.