Complaint Policy

Purpose
The College is committed to providing students with the means to have their complaints addressed, and it has established a number of procedures for addressing written student complaints.  It is responsible for demonstrating to the Federal Department of Education and to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) that these policies and procedures are reasonable, fairly administered, and well-publicized.  The College is also responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints, through maintaining a record of complaints received by the institution.

Responsibility for Compiling and Responding to Complaints to the College
The Vice President for Strategy, Administration and Board Affairs has line accountability and responsibility for the process of reporting the results of the student complaints and makes regular reports, as appropriate to the President and the Senior Cabinet. Additionally, the office of the Vice President for Strategy, Administration and Board Affairs serves as the permanent repository for all student complaints regarding the College.

Types of Complaints
Students may file written complaints with the College on any matter of concern.  The procedure is described in Section I below.  In addition, students may file complaints against the College with its accrediting organization, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).  This process is described in Section II.  Lastly, students may also file a complaint against the staff, visiting teams, or Board of Directors of the accrediting organization itself.  This procedure is described in Section III.

  1.  Procedures for Formal Student Complaint against H-SC

    1. The College has several appeals processes delineated in The Key and Academic Catalogue consistent with best practices in private liberal arts educational institutions. In all cases students are encouraged to complete these processes prior to lodging a formal written complaint.

      1. There is a policy for students who wish to appeal the level of their financial award. (Financial Aid Appeal Form)

      2. Students who believe they have been the subject of harassment or discrimination should specify their complaint under the Code of Student Conduct to the Dean of Students. (Harassment and Discrimination Policy, The Key)

      3. There is a formal procedure for those students who wish to appeal a conviction by the Student Court for a violation of the Honor Code or the Code of Student Conduct resulting in suspension or expulsion. (The Judicial Process, The Key)

      4. There is a formal procedure for those students who wish to appeal a parking ticket. (Parking Fines and Penalties, The Key)

      5. There is a formal procedure for those students who wish to appeal a grade (Grade Appeal Policy, Academic Catalogue).

      6. There is a formal procedure for those students who wish to appeal a fire safety violation. (Fire Safety Violation Appeals, The Key)

    2. In every case students are encouraged to speak with appropriate faculty, administrators, or students in order to seek resolution prior to filing a complaint.

    3. All formal written complaints must be filed using the document entitled Hampden-Sydney College Complaint Form.  The form is available on the College website, and paper copies are available in the Office of Student Affairs at no cost to students. The Dean of Students will be available to meet to assist in filing complaints.

    4. All completed Hampden-Sydney College Complaint Forms and supporting documentation are to be submitted to the Dean of Students, who will review the documents for completeness and forward all complaints to the Vice President for Strategy, Administration, and Board Affairs.

    5. The Vice President for Strategy, Administration and Board Affairs will review Student Complaints and all documentation and investigate the issues raised therein. Additional documentation and personal visits with students, faculty and administrators may be requested.

    6. The Vice President for Strategy, Administration and Board Affairs will respond to the complainant in writing within 14 business days.

    7. A student may appeal a decision made by the Vice President for Strategy, and Administration to the President of the College via notification by letter or email correspondence. The President will review all documentation and may request interviews with the students, faculty or administration. The President will respond within 14 business days in writing to the complaint.

    8. All Student Complaints will be kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Strategy, Administration, and Board Affairs for ten years.  A report of all Student Complaints shall be made quarterly to the Senior Cabinet.

  2. Procedure for Filing a Complaint against the College with SACSCOC
    This procedure is provided by the SACSCOC.  The link with the procedure and all pertinent documents is found here: PROCEDURE FOR FILING A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE COLLEGE WITH SACSCOC.  For additional information on the policy, the link is found at:  SACSCOC WEBPAGE . Students are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students with questions regarding the documents and procedures required by SASCOC Policy. 

  3. Procedure for Filing Complaints Against SACSCOC Board of Trustees and Staff
    This procedure is also provided by the SACSCOC.  The link with the procedure and all pertinent documents is found here:  PROCEDURE FOR FILING COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE SACSCOC BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND STAFF. For additional information on the policy, the link is found at:  SACSCOC WEBPAGE.  Students are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students with questions regarding the documents and procedures required by SASCOC Policy.