SARA Complaint Process

I. Scope
This procedure addresses the process for voicing any complaint for an online student who resides outside the state of Kansas.

A complaint is an action filed by a student or group of students stating a belief that the educational process is being hampered or individual rights/freedoms are being denied through an employee action, violation of a college policy, procedure, or practice. It requires a request for some specific action to occur.

  1. This procedure may not be used to challenge the academic judgment of faculty or to appeal a grade. Grade appeals will be considered using the Student Grade Appeal procedure found in the SATC College Catalog. Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by institutional policy and the laws of the SARA Institution’s Home State.
  2. No action will be taken on anonymous complaints.
  3. A complaint must be based on evidence that the complainant honestly and reasonably believes to be substantially true. Those responsible for resolving complaints under this procedure must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the complainant is protected against any subsequent recrimination or victimization.

II. Definitions

Definitions in this policy are according to State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements Policies and Standards (SARA):

Complaint: A formal assertion in writing that a person, Institution, State, agency or other organization or entity operating under the provisions of the SARA Policy Manual has violated the policies set forth in the SARA Policy Manual or of laws, standards or regulations incorporated in the SARA Policy Manual.

Distance Education: Instruction offered by any means where the student and faculty member are in separate physical locations. It includes, but is not limited to, online, interactive video, or correspondence courses or programs.

III. Procedure

A. Complaint Process Information
For assistance in determining the appropriate complaint or grievance procedure for initiating a complaint against Salina Tech, enrolled or prospective students should contact:

Stanton Gartin – Vice President of Instruction
2562 Centennial Road
Salina, KS  67401
785-309-3160
stanton.gartin@salinatech.edu

B. Student Complaint

Students should attempt to resolve a complaint utilizing Salina Tech’s grievance or complaint process.

Continuing with its commitment to students first, Salina Tech has adopted this procedure to assist students in the resolution of student concerns and complaints in a fair, consistent, and equitable manner.

  1. Where minor concerns arise, students are encouraged to take a reasonable approach and address them directly with the applicable employee, with the aim of resolving the concern at the lowest possible level and without undue formality. However, where informal discussions have not generated a satisfactory resolution, or where the matter is more serious, the following procedure provides for a more formal process to be pursued.
  2. Complaints made under this policy will be monitored and reviewed to enable the college to continually improve processes and services in support of student learning.

C. Informal resolution of concerns

  1. Before making formal written complaints, students are encouraged to seek resolution to any concerns by raising and discussing them informally with the applicable employee/student who is most directly associated with the matter.
  2. An employee with whom a concern is raised by a student is expected to deal with the matter in an open and professional manner and to take reasonable and prompt action to try to resolve it informally.
  3. A student who is uncertain about how to seek informal resolution of a concern is encouraged to seek advice from the contact listed at the top of this procedure.
  4. If the grievance is resolved by all parties, then matter is deemed closed.

D. Formal complaint procedure

  1. Where it has not been possible to resolve a concern informally, a student may make a formal complaint.

A student who wishes to make a formal complaint must submit it in writing via email, the petitioner states the complaint in written form to the Resolution Officer or college designee and should include:

      • The college policy, procedure, practice, or action that is in question, and what rights or freedoms they are affecting.
      • The date, time, and location this occurred.
      • A list of the informal attempts that were made to resolve the matter.
      • The individual’s opinion of what needs to be done to resolve the matter.

2. If the issue was not resolved informally, the written complaint must be submitted as soon as possible.

3. The administrator receiving the formal complaint must acknowledge the student complaint in writing within three working days or as soon as feasibly possible. He or she must also maintain a file of all documentation in relation to the consideration of the complaint.

4. The administrator overseeing the formal complaint must make a decision in relation to the complaint and must communicate his or her decision to the parties, in writing, within 15 calendar days of receiving the complaint or as soon as feasibly possible.

E. Appeals

  1. If the petitioner is not satisfied with the response of the College designee, the petitioner must submit in writing within two weeks of the letter communicating the decision a request for the college designee to proceed to a hearing with the College.
  2. The college designee will convene the council within 15 days of the second notification from the petitioner, or as soon as practically possible. Notice shall be given to all parties at least 7 days prior to the hearing, unless the parties agree to a shorter time. The college designee will select an impartial Council to include three members, including: one student, one faculty member, and one administrator or staff member.
  3. The Council will hear statements from the petitioner and respondent and may question both. The Council may accept statements in writing on behalf of petitioner or respondent. The Council may pursue other actions it deems necessary to obtain pertinent information to fulfill its role.
  4. The Council will report its findings and its decision to the college designee within 15 days after completion of the hearing, or as soon as practically possible. The college designee must notify both parties of the decision in writing within 10 days.
  5. These proceedings will occur in a professional manner and all efforts will be made to protect the rights of all parties involved.
  6. Appeal of Council Finding The right to appeal the decision is available for a period of 15 days after notification of the decision of the College Council. If any resolution is not reached to the student’s satisfaction, the individual may file an appeal with the college’s Board of Trustees. Students can contact the college President regarding the procedure.
  7. If a person bringing a Complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the institutional process for handling Complaints, the Complaint may be appealed, within two years of the incident about which the Complaint is made, to the SARA Portal Entity in the Home State of the Institution against which the Complaint has been lodged.
  8. SARA complaint procedure link

F. Confidentiality

All student-related information will be considered confidential and protected under FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act). Records relating to employees and other records that do not include student information are not confidential.