PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY
The Policy is designed to help assure our students a quality education, provide excellent student support services, and help the University identify any serious or systemic problems or issues affecting the quality of student life. The principles and procedures are intended to help CSU identify patterns of conduct that raise a legitimate concern with respect to the University’s academic or business programs, and to comply with obligations imposed by federal regulations for receiving, responding to and tracking student complaints.
APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY
This Policy applies to all students who are enrolled at Colorado State University at the time that the complaint is filed in accordance with the Policy.
DEFINITIONS USED IN THIS POLICY
Student: an individual who is currently enrolled full-time or part-time, or was enrolled at the institution within the previous two semesters (one academic year) when the underlying facts and circumstances of the complaint first occurred, and who has not been suspended or dismissed, or otherwise is required to re-apply for admission.
Parents, relatives, employers, agents, and other persons acting for or on behalf of a Student are not Students within the meaning of this Policy.
Student Complaint: Any written complaint made and signed by a Student that is received by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) (see Procedures section below).
EXEMPTIONS FROM THIS POLICY
The following matters are not handled as Student Complaints within the scope of this policy, but may be directed for attention as follows:
- Complaints or grievances arising from, or made in connection with, a student’s employment by the University in any capacity, should be directed to Human Resources or the Office of Equal Opportunity, as appropriate. The university Ombuds also may assist with matters related to employment. See References section below.
- A grade appeal; except that unethical, illegal, or improper conduct of a faculty member may be the subject of a Student Complaint, even if it occurs in the context of a grade decision or appeal. Grade appeals must be directed as set forth in the General Catalog; for more information, see the Student Resolution Center website.
- Curriculum matters, including waivers of All University Core Curriculum (AUCC) course requirements, and related appeals must be directed as set forth in the Student Guide to the AUCC, on the Registrar’s Office website (see References below).
- Matters concerning graduation requirements are governed by the university policy on Appeal Procedures—University Graduation Requirements, as set forth in the Student Guide to the AUCC, on the Registrar’s Office website. (See References below).
- Registration complaints and appeals must be directed to the Registrar’s Office.
- A sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, or sex discrimination complaint, or any complaint concerning discrimination. Such complaints are governed under separate policies. See the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) home page, or the Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement in the CSU Policy Library. See also: CSU Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking and Retaliation.
- Disputes related to financial issues such as tuition and fee assessment, or departments’ fees, may be made directly to Student Financial Services. See the Student Financial Services website for contact information. For questions or problems with a student account billing statement, see the Business and Financial Services website for contact information.
In addition, students always have the option to use the CSU System’s Compliance Reporting Hotline for use when the subject matter of the complaint concerns alleged fraud, abuse, waste of University resources, or violation of any law or regulation by the University in connection with its official business functions.
Colorado State University is committed to treating all students fairly and respectfully. The University’s policies that apply to Students are published annually in the General Catalog, in addition to those found in other resources from individual departments and offices. In an instance of perceived violation of a University policy, a Student may file a complaint in accordance with this Policy.
When a student encounters a problem on campus that he/she does not know how to resolve, he/she should always try to work the problem out by first discussing it with those involved. Dealing with concerns in the most direct and honest fashion should always be the first step toward resolution. Many problems are resolved when a student makes an appointment with a faculty or staff member and calmly and honestly communicates their concerns.
If however, an issue or problem still exists, a student may initiate the formal complaint procedures at CSU. All formal complaints must be put in writing and must be signed by the Student (including electronic or digital facsimile signatures clearly attributable to the Student--for example, the Student’s name in an email message received from his or her CSU email account). A Student Complaint Form is provided as a tool for presenting a written complaint, but is not required.
Procedures for Filing a Written Complaint
- Attempt an informal resolution of the matter as noted above.
- Complete the Student Complaint Form and mail, email, or deliver it to the VPSA by mail, email, or campus delivery to:
Vice President for Student Affairs
Attn: Dean of Students
201 Administration Building
8004 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-8004
The VPSA Office will notify you with an acknowledgement that the complaint was received.
NOTE: All Student Complaints must be submitted in writing. A complaint reported by telephone will not be considered as submitted for review.
Complaint Review and Resolution Process
The VPSA Office is not an advocate for any party to a dispute, but is an advocate for a fair process. Acting as a neutral, third party, the Dean of Students or her/his designee will first attempt to resolve the complaint by working with the student and the appropriate University employees and officials to assure a fair process. The Dean of Students may refer the matter to Conflict Resolution Services at Student Resolution Center (SRC) for assistance in attempting an informal resolution. This assures that the complaint is considered by the appropriate officials and receives an impartial review.
If the matter is not able to be resolved informally, the Dean of Students will forward the complaint to the appropriate University Vice President or other official for further review and attempt to resolve the matter. If the matter is still not resolved to the Student’s satisfaction, the Dean of Students will help identify other resources that may be available to the Student including any appeals that may be available from agencies external to the university, including the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) and Higher Learning Commission (HLC). (See the contact information under References, below).
A record of the complaint and its disposition will be maintained in the VPSA Office.
The VPSA Office (or its designee) will track each Student Complaint, and will maintain a record that includes, at a minimum, the following information:
- The date that the Student Complaint was received;
- The Student(s) identified with the Complaint;
- The nature of the complaint, including a copy of the Student Complaint, to be retained for not less than two (2) years after its final disposition;
- The university officials who were asked to address the complaint and the steps taken to resolve it;
- The final resolution or disposition of the complaint;
- Any external actions taken by the complainant, if any, of which VPSA becomes aware.
The information tracked will be made available to regulatory agencies and accrediting bodies, including the Higher Learning Commission and the Colorado Department of Higher Education, as required in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and policies.
COMPLIANCE WITH THIS POLICY
Failure to comply with this policy may result in no action being taken with respect to the subject matter of a complaint, or other disposition by the VPSA. Where such failure also causes a violation of rules and policies regarding student or employee conduct, disciplinary action may result in accordance with the applicable rules and policies.
Code of Federal Regulations 34 CFR 602.16(a)(1)(ix)
Higher Learning Commission-Instructions for Filing Student Complaints
Colorado Dept. of Higher Education Student Complaint Policy
Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Policies & Procedures, Section I, Part T, Student Appeals Policy
Forms and Tools
Student Complaint Form