Area 12 (SACS 2009-2010)
UWC SACS Fifth-Year Interim Report
Area 12: The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints (Federal Requirement 4.5).
Judgment of Compliance
The University of West Georgia has instituted satisfactory procedures for addressing written student complaints and can demonstrate that these procedures are followed when resolving such complaints. Complaints are investigated in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the parties and the facts of the case to the extent allowed by applicable law. The due process rights of all parties to a complaint are honored to the fullest extent possible and in accordance with applicable institution, system, state, and federal policy and law. In addition to providing avenues for the resolution of written complaints, the University also offers an Ombudsperson Office and Alternate Dispute Resolution Program to address conflicts that may not require formal judicial intervention. The University publishes broadly its policies and procedures on student due process rights and responsibilities through various print and electronic media.
Student complaints are categorized into two major areas:
General Student Complaints and Grievances—these would include any written complaint lodged against an employee, a particular office, a policy or procedure, employer, or any other manner of concern a student may have.
Recognized Petitions and Appeals to Administrative Decisions—these would include formal process appeals to decisions that are made within the scope of normal university operations. This category would also include Judicial Appeals.
Resources: The University of West Georgia provides a general web page called UWG Cares where students can access information about a variety of services meant to support students in times of concern. Additionally, the University Ombuds Office provides consultation to students in areas of mediation and conflict resolution, and access to the Alternative Dispute Resolution process—hopefully reducing the number of formal written complaints. Finally, the university system maintains an anonymous fraud and complaint hotline (and website) that records complaints (sometimes from students) and there is a formal process for processing and addressing those complaints. In general, written student complaint procedures are communicated in the Connections Student Handbook, the Undergraduate Catalog, and the Graduate Catalog. Specific complaint procedures, appeal procedures, and due process procedures are outlined in separate appendices of the Student Handbook. Below is a list of web pages outlining policies and procedures for each type of complaint or appeal.
Examples of written student complaints and resolutions
The following web sites document the specific procedures for lodging a written complaint and or filing a petition or appeal.
Student Organization Complaint (pages 10-14)