Student Complaint Policy
An academic community strives for excellence by encouraging an atmosphere of collaboration, collegiality, and integrity. St. Edward's University is committed to treating all members of the campus community fairly and respectfully in an environment that encourages resolution of most concerns through discussion that leads to mutual understanding. Policies applying to students are published annually in the St. Edward's University Student Handbook and in the Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletins.
This resolution process should not be used for concerns/complaints that fall under the following categories. See hyperlinks in each bullet point for information about how to get hep with concerns in each category.
- Incident of Bias - to report a concern that is threatening, harassing, intimidating, discriminatory, or hostile in nature and targeting an identity or group affiliation;
- Title IX Complaint - to report a concern of sexual discrimination;
- Disabilities (see the Disability Resources Guidebook);
- Grade Appeals Process - to file an appeal of a final course grade
- Academic Integrity policy and appeal process;
- Student Conduct Concern/Complaint - to file a concern or complaint regarding a student's behavior, which may violate the Code of Student Conduct
The Student Complaint policy is designed to help students address issues at the lowest level in the most direct and least taxing way possible. Following the steps outlined below is the best way to resolve, for example, a situation in which a student believes an assignment has been unfairly graded in a class still in session, has concerns about the academic quality or content of a course, or believes a staff member working in one of the schools or other departments at the university has not been responsive to repeated requests for assistance. These situations and others like them can usually be resolved through direct discussion.
The Process for Complaints Involving Administrators, Staff, and/or Third-Party Contracts
Students who have complaints/concerns regarding administrators, staff and/or third-party contractors may submit the Student Complaint Form. This form will go to Human Resources and will then be directed to the appropriate parties for review. The complainant will receive information regarding the relevant next steps in the process.
The Process for Complaints Involving Faculty
This process is for complaints/concerns regarding faculty. Before beginning this process, please note that all parties are advised to maintain accurate records related to the steps taken from the time a student reports a concern to the final conclusion. Records may include: written summaries, memos and letters, meeting notes, email correspondence, and other relevant paperwork that help document both the complaint or concern and the resolution measures taken. A list of all department chairs, associate deans, and deans can be found here.
Process Steps for Complaints Involving Faculty
Step 1: Initiate a meeting with the faculty member involved to discuss your concerns, articulate how you believe the issue might be resolved, and then work toward a resolution: For example, if you are concerned about an assignment grade in a class you are currently taking, meet first with the professor teaching the class. If your concern is not resolved after this meeting, move to Step 2;
Step 2: Initiate a meeting with the faculty member’s department chair, area coordinator, or program director: If the concern is not resolved at this level, move to Step 3;
Step 3: Submit the Student Complaint Form. The complaint form will be directed to the associate dean in the school where the class is taught. The formal complaint form must be submitted within 10 class days of the meeting with the department chair or immediate supervisor. The associate dean will then contact the student to arrange a meeting to discuss the concern. The associate dean may also suggest a second meeting with the student and faculty and/or staff member to help mediate and resolve the concern. If the student’s concern is not resolved after this process, move to Step 4;
Step 4: Request a meeting with the dean of the school where the faculty member teaches: A meeting must be requested within 10 days of the last meeting with the associate dean. Once the meeting with the dean has been requested, the dean assumes the function of resolving the concern/complaint. The student and faculty member will be provided information regarding next steps and may be asked to provide additional information/documentation. The associate dean will provide the dean with the completed formal complaint form and any relevant additional information. After reviewing the complaint with the parties involved, the dean will provide a response to the student and faculty member within 14 days. The dean’s resolution decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Note: Should the complaint/concern involve a department chair or associate dean, students should contact the Office of the Dean in the relevant school.
External Complaint Processes
All student complaints must first be addressed internally. Complaints regarding areas not addressed by this policy may be submitted to Human Resources using this form.
For complaints regarding on-line programs or instruction that have not been satisfactorily addressed through the established institutional channels set forth in the Student Complaint Policy, the student may follow the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board complaint process after internal resources have been exhausted.
If the internal resources have been exhausted and the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, the student may file a complaint with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and/or the institution's accrediting agency. Contact information for these agencies is below:
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Office of the General Counsel
P.O. Box 12788
Austin, TX 78711-2788
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097
The Commission requests that they be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support an institution's significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard.