The Student Complaint Procedures are established so that students can resolve difficulties/problems they encounter in college-related activities. The Student Complaint Policy is designed to consider an alleged wrong against a student (see KCCD Board Procedures 4F9 for the Student Complaint and Hearing Panel procedures). Efforts will be made to resolve a complaint in a timely and fair manner. Students who contend they have been treated unfairly have the right, without fear of reprisal, to use a written procedure in their attempt to right an alleged wrong. Student complaints are taken seriously; therefore, the complaint must be of a compelling, substantive, and verifiable nature.
As laid out in KCCD policy, BEFORE submitting the completed Student Complaint Intake Form to the Office of Student Life, the student must first talk to the head of the department and/or respective Dean. Once the student has spoken to either individual and has not received the desired resolution, the Dean of Students will assist the student in the process with this completed form. This form is only an intake form to start a conversation with the parties involved. Only one employee may be named per intake form. Submitting this form does not start the KCCD Student Complaint Level I complaint process until it has been signed by the submitter.
Repeated filings of the same complaint, filings of a frivolous nature, or capricious complaints against school personnel will be considered abuse of the student conduct and/or complaint process. Repeated filings will be referred to the College President’s designee for a decision.
Filing complaints against any party is a serious undertaking. Prior to filing a written complaint, and within ten (10) instructional days of the incident leading to the complaint, the student(s) should contact the staff member involved in an attempt to resolve the issue. If this attempt is not feasible or does not resolve the problem, the student(s) may initiate Level I action. Complaints may not be filed after ninety (90) instructional days from the date of the incident leading to the complaint. The Office of Student Life will receive and administer student complaints at Bakersfield College. At the written request of the student, action on the complaint may be delayed until the term of the class is completed. In this event, the Office of Student Life may delay any further action on the student complaint until the next semester. In the event of a group student complaint, at most two students shall be chosen to carry the complaint forward.
These procedures may apply to student complaints such as:
Student complaints are taken seriously; therefore, the complaint must be of a compelling, substantive, and verifiable nature. Repeated filings of the same complaint, filings of a frivolous nature, or capricious complaints against college personnel will be considered abuse of the student complaint process and may be subjected to the Student Conduct.
Notices sent to the last address in the College records and deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, shall be presumed to have been received and read. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that contact information is current at all times. Formal level proceedings may be recorded using audio and/or video recorders by the appropriate administrator. To protect the integrity and confidentiality of the proceedings, no other recording or transcription is allowed. Recordings are confidential and the exclusive property of the College/District. Recordings become a part of the complaint file and are maintained by the designated administrator.
The Informal Process
The student should contact the office or department of the staff member’s immediate supervisor/designee to initiate the informal process first. If a resolution is not met during an information process, the student should meet with the Office of Student Life and submit a Level I Student Complaint Intake Form. Submitting the intake form does not start the KCCD Student Complaint Level I compliant process until the student has signed the complaint form and it has been submitted to the head of the department and/or respective dean.
The student will be given an opportunity to meet with the immediate supervisor/designee. The appointment to meet shall be within ten (10) instructional days of notice of the occurrence of the alleged incident. At the time of the appointment, the student and the immediate supervisor/designee will attempt to resolve the issue in a satisfactory manner. If the complainant fails to appear for the scheduled appointment, the Level I complaint process shall be terminated and the complainant shall have no further recourse.
Subsequent to the student meeting with the immediate supervisor/designee, the latter shall meet and confer with the staff member(s) involved in an effort to resolve the complaint. If possible, this meeting shall be within five (5) instructional days of the student meeting with the immediate supervisor/designee. After meeting with student and staff member(s), the immediate supervisor/designee shall notify the parties involved of the suggestion for resolution. If this resolution is acceptable to the student, the immediate supervisor/designee shall complete the Level I “Information/Disposition Form” and submit copies of it to the student, the staff member(s), the Office of Student Life, and maintain the original in a suitable file.
If the immediate supervisor/designee does not resolve the complaint to the complainant’s satisfaction, the student may, within ten (10) instructional days of the decision, file with the Office of Student Life a request to move the complaint to Level II.
Under certain circumstances, and in the interest of fairness to all parties, the immediate supervisor/designee may refer the complaint to Level II immediately. The immediate supervisor/designee shall notify the student, staff member(s), and the Office of Student Life when the referral has been made to Level II. If the student complainant chooses to move the complaint to Level II, the student must complete a “Request to Appeal from Level I Recommendation” form and submit to the Office of Student Life.
Once the Office of Student Life receives and meets with the student regarding the “Request to Appeal from Level I Recommendation” form, the student will sign the form to initiate the Level II Complaint Procedure and send it to appropriate administrators. Within ten (10) instructional days of receiving the request, the appropriate administrator shall investigate the allegations and convene a conference of the student, the staff member(s), and the staff member(s)’ immediate supervisor/designee.
The student bringing the complaint and the staff member(s) being complained against must be present at this conference. At this meeting, an attempt will be made to resolve the issue(s) and agree upon the remedy. If the complainant fails to appear for this conference, except for good cause, the Level II complaint process shall be terminated, and the complainant shall have no further recourse.
Following this Level II conference, the appropriate administrator shall, within five (5) instructional days, provide their written decision and the basis for the decision. Copies of this decision shall be sent to the student, the staff member(s), the immediate supervisor/designee, the appropriate Vice President, and the Office of Student Life. The student bringing the complaint and/or staff member(s) being complained against may challenge the Level II decision by proceeding to Level III.
If the student and/or the staff member(s) challenge the Level II decision they must file a “Request to Appeal from Level II Recommendation” form within ten (10) instructional days of notification of the Level II decision. This Level III appeal shall be submitted to the appropriate Vice President and the Office of Student Life. The appropriate Vice President must be provided with copies of all written materials, recordings, and any other documents generated regarding the complaint at Levels I and II.
The purpose of Level III is to make one last attempt to resolve the issues to the satisfaction of the parties involved. To that end, the appropriate Vice President shall, within ten (10) instructional days of receiving the referral assemble the complainant(s), the staff member(s), the appropriate administrator from Level II, the immediate supervisor/designee.
If the appropriate Vice President is able to resolve the complaint(s), such resolution shall be established in written form and shall be validated by the signatures of all parties involved. This agreement shall become part of the file and copies of same shall be made available to the complainant(s), staff member(s), appropriate administrator, immediate supervisor/designee, and the Office of Student Life.
If the appropriate Vice President is unable to resolve the complaint(s), the Vice President and/or the Office of Student Life shall assemble a Student Complaint Hearing Panel within ten (10) instructional days of that determination. The Office of Student Life shall provide the Hearing Panel with the procedure to be used and answer any procedural questions which may arise. )See KCCD AP 4F9(b), Student Complaint Hearing Panel Procedure.)