Concerns and Complaints

Concerns and Complaints

Occasions may arise in which a student feels that he/she has a legitimate basis for a complaint. It is the policy of Methodist College to promptly resolve those complaints whether informal or formal.

The following is the Methodist College Complaint Policy. The policy is also available in the Methodist College Student Handbook.  

Methodist College Student Complaint Policy

(Effective: August 2021)

Methodist College provides both informal and formal processes for students to seek resolution of a complaint. Methodist College values investigation and inquiry to ascertain the perspective of the complainant and the facts surrounding the situation. It is the policy of the college to promptly investigate and seek resolution of these complaints. The investigation process will follow the timeline outlined in this policy. Students are encouraged to begin either process as soon as a concern exists. The investigation and deliberations of the administrators and committee members will be held in confidence with no information released to those without a need to know. All persons involved with the investigation will be unbiased with no conflict of interest.

Grade appeals are covered under the Final Grade Appeal Policy and cannot be submitted through the Complaint Policy.

Informal Complaint Process

Occasions may arise in which a student feels that he or she has a legitimate basis for complaint. Those involved should initially attempt to resolve the matter informally and without the need to establish a record. The informal process for resolution of a complaint is as follows:
A. Within five (5) business days (M-F, exclusive of school closures) of any incident about which a student desires to make a complaint, the complaint should be taken by the student directly to the other party (parties) involved. This process is primarily a verbal discussion of the concerns the student reports to the individuals with whom the concern exists. All parties are expected to engage in a way that upholds the human dignity of each other.
B. If the student and the other party(s) are unable to resolve the matter or if, for any reason, the student does not feel at ease in going to the other party, he or she should contact the appropriate Director (e.g. Director of Financial Aid or Academic Department Chair/Program Director). These individuals can facilitate a meeting with the other party involved.
C. The Director of Access, Support and Inclusion Services (OASIS) is available to assist students in managing the communication process regarding the concern.

Formal Complaint Process

Should a student feel that a formal complaint is necessary, either before or after completing the informal complaint process, the student shall file a written complaint as follows:
A. Students have the right to file a written complaint regarding academic, student and business services, facilities, technology, or student events. The complaint is filed with the Chief Academic Officer. The formal complaint is submitted using the Formal Complaint Submission Form.
B. Complainants are not permitted to file a complaint anonymously, and the Respondent against whom the complaint is lodged will be notified via the CAO Complaint Notification to Respondent Letter.  In all cases, the accused party will be informed of the complaint and will have the opportunity to respond or explain during the investigation process.
C. Administrator Review:
a. The Chief Academic Office will assign the complaint to an Administrator within three (3) business days of receiving the complaint via the CAO to Administrator Letter
b. The Administrator assigned to the complaint is responsible for investigating by reviewing materials identified in the course of reviewing the complaint, by interviewing the Complainant and Respondent, by interviewing witnesses and other involved parties, and through other reasonable and prudent avenues of investigation
c. The Administrator will determine a course of action. The investigation and course of action may lead to the following:
i. A mutually agreeable resolution is determined and the complaint is administratively handled by the Director, Chair, Dean or other appropriate administrator OR
ii. A decision that, upon review, the complaint has no merit iii. If a mutually agreeable resolution cannot be reached, the Administrator will escalate the Formal Complaint to the office of the Chief Academic Officer through a CC on the Decision Letter to Complainant - the Chief Academic Officer will then proceed with an Investigative Committee
d. The Administrator will communicate the results of the investigation to the Complainant via the Administrator Decision Letter to Complainant and CC the Chief Academic Officer within ten (10) business days of being assigned the complaint
i. The Administrator will CC the Respondent if:
1. The outcome is that the formal complaint is substantiated with a mutually agreeable resolution OR
2. The outcome is substantiated but no mutually agreeable solution can be determined
ii. The Administrator will not CC the Respondent if the complaint is determined to have no merit. In this situation, the Complainant will have a 10-day window to appeal this decision and the process will proceed accordingly
e. After the 10-day window for appeal, if no appeal is filed, the Administrator will notify the Respondent in writing via Methodist College email via the Administrator Decision Letter to Respondent

 D. Appeal or Escalation to the Chief Academic Officer
a. The formal complaint may be escalated to the Chief Academic Officer if no mutually agreeable resolution can be determined between the Administrator, Complainant, and Respondent
b. Within ten (10) business days, a Complainant who is dissatisfied with a decision that a formal complaint has no merit may appeal the finding to the Chief Academic Officer using the Complainant Appeal to CAO Letter and sent via Methodist College email. Additional materials may be submitted with the complaint and shall be sent simultaneously

 E. Investigation Committee
a. The Chief Academic Officer will appoint an Investigation Committee within five (5) business days of receiving the appeal/escalation and communicate instructions to the Investigation Committee using the CAO to Investigation Committee Letter 
b. The Committee shall include three (3) unbiased individuals comprising a mix of exempt staff and faculty members who have no conflict of interest, one of whom will be appointed chair by the Chief Academic Officer 
c. The Committee will conduct a review of the case based on the Complainant report detailing the basis for the complaint and documents provided. The Committee will have access to all prior material pursuant to the review 
d. The Committee will have access to additional materials that will be helpful in making a recommendation, and shall have the capacity to call witnesses and interview the Complainant and the Respondent (who is not required to respond) 
e. The committee will make a recommendation to the Chief Academic Officer not less than fifteen (15) days from the appointment of the committee using the Investigation Committee Report to CAO. The report shall be sent via Methodist College email and shall include the following:

i. The specific nature of the complaint, including date, time, persons involved, and rationale for the concern
ii. What resolution is desired by the complainant
iii. What evidence the committee uncovered and by what means
iv. Who the committee interviewed and when
v. What specific evidence exists with regard to the complaint
vi. What actions are recommended to be taken
vii. Report signed by all committee members with names printed below
f. The committee chair shall submit the Investigation Committee Report to CAO, all materials collected for the investigation, all correspondence, and all notes and minutes of interviews to the Chief Academic Officer using the templates drafted for this process

 F. Chief Academic Officer Review
a. The Chief Academic Officer shall review all materials and, as deemed necessary, may interview the Complainant and Respondent (who is not required to respond), interview witnesses, and/or meet with the Investigation Committee
b. The Chief Academic Officer shall, within ten (10) business days, make a decision regarding the resolution of the complaint. The decision will be communicated to the Complainant, with a copy to the Respondent, via Methodist College email using the CAO Decision Letter
c. The decision of the Chief Academic Officer is final 

Information from formal complaints is used, as appropriate, to foster ongoing program improvement. Formal complaints, as defined by the College, and their resolution are filed in the Office of the Chief Academic Officer. Complaints impacting the students' grade shall be sent to the Office of the Registrar.

 If after the formal and informal process noted above have been completed and a student is not satisfied with the outcome, the student may contact the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Attorney General or The Higher Learning Commission to file a formal complaint using the contact information noted below:

Illinois Board of Higher Education
431 E. Adams, 2nd Floor
Springfield, IL 62701-1404
To register a complaint:
Institutional Complaint Hotline (217) 557-7359

Illinois State Board of Education 
100 N. 1st Street
Springfield, IL 62777

Illinois Attorney General Consumer Fraud Bureau
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706

The Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604
(800) 621-7440