University Grievance Policy
Each student is afforded the right to file a formal written complaint about matters of concern with the University. The protocol for submitting and responding to such complaints is outlined below.
Procedures for Submitting Input and Complaints
When a student encounters a University-related problem that he or she does not know how to resolve, s/he should always try to work out the problem by first discussing it with those most involved with the issue. 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 to calmly and honestly communicate concerns.
If the student remains dissatisfied after consultation with the staff or faculty member, the student may initiate the formal complaint process at VUU described in the next section. All formal complaints must be put in writing using the official VUU Student Complaint Form.
Grievance and Complaint Procedure
Step 1: Informal Resolution
Any student with a concern or complaint about an event or condition related to University activities is encouraged to first discuss the matter with the appropriate faculty, staff member or department personnel in which the issue originated.
If the issue is not resolved, the next contact would be the department supervisor, chair or dean to investigate the issue.
The Office of Student Experience serves as an innovative resource for students to discuss their campus life experience, and provide interventions that aim to ensure a high quality student experience. Operating a centralized call center, this office is also positioned to receive and respond to both informal and formal student complaints and/or issues. Students can contact this office to receive assistance in resolving both informal and formal complaints as well as provide feedback to improve the overall student experience at Virginia Union University. The Office of Student Experience can be reached at 804.257.5673.
Hierarchy for Expressing Complaints at Virginia Union University
Prior to submitting a formal complaint, all on-campus offices shall be provided an opportunity to address student concerns (informal resolution). Outlined below is a high-level hierarchy of divisional responsibility. Please allow five (5) business days for a response from each level before proceeding to the next level.
Division of Academic Affairs
For all academic-related matters please adhere to the following hierarchy: speak first to the course instructor, department chair, academic school Dean, followed by the Office of Academic Affairs. In the event, that the issue is related to the University College (UC), the UC Dean should be consulted prior to contacting the Office of Academic Affairs. Regarding library challenges, the Library Director is the point of contact, followed by the Office of Academic Affairs. Issues about course registration, selection of major, or transcript needs shall be expressed to the Registrar, following by the Office of Academic Affairs.
Division of Administrative Services and Business Solutions
For all issues regarding customer service, the following hierarchy shall be followed for an information resolution: For technical issues, the Director of Information Technology, followed by the Senior Director. Safety and security concerns shall be reported to the Chief of Police. Following the indicated individuals, students shall consult the Assistant Vice-President, followed by the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer.
Division of Business Affairs
Issues related to campus cleanliness, sanitation, functionality shall be reported to the Facilities Director. Subsequently, the Vice President of Business Affairs shall be consulted.
Division of Enrollment Management
Any student concerns regarding Housing and Residence Life shall be reported to the Director of Housing and Residence Life. Financial Aid related matters (to include eligibility) shall be directed to the Director of Financial Aid. The Student Accounts Director is the primary contact for student fees, payment plans, refund checks, etc. Ultimately, the Vice-President of Enrollment Management shall be contacted to address any concerns therein.
Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and Community Wellness
All students who access athletics offices and facilities (to include the fitness center), as well as those members of sporting or performance teams, shall report concerns to the Athletic Director, following by the Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics and Community Wellness.
Division of Student Development and Success
Within this division, the following offices are led by their respective directors, Office of Workforce Development and Training, Office of Student Development and Success, and Office of Counseling Services. Any challenges shall be addressed with the Directors, then the Dean of Students. Following the Dean of Students, the Vice-President of Student Development and Success shall be consulted. Beyond the indicated offices, the Dean of Students is the primary contact for student-specific challenges. The Dean of Students will address the student’s needs accordingly. Lastly, concerns about student health services provided by Capital Area Health Network shall be reported to the Vice President of Student Development and Success.
Step 2: Formal Complaint
If a resolution is not reached, the student is encouraged to submit a written complaint using the online complaint form (see above) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This written letter of grievance or complaint must include the name and contact information of the student filing the complaint, a detailed description of the circumstances, including who is involved, and the current status of the situation of concern. It is necessary to demonstrate how the student has already attempted to resolve the concern, including a description of the steps taken to follow the procedure as defined in Step 1.
Step 3: Formal Resolution
The Dean of Students will investigate the complaint and refer the findings to the Grievance Committee. Complaints may be referred to the appropriate college/division for additional investigation and a proposed resolution. Formal complaints will be investigated within seven (7) workdays. The Dean of Students will advise the complainant within the seven (7) day period if additional time is needed for resolution. Once resolved, the student may appeal the resolution to the Vice President of Student Development and Success.
Step 4: Appeal
If resolution does not occur to the student’s satisfaction at Step 3, the student must submit an appeal to the Vice President of Student Development and Success within five (5) business days following the date the proposed resolution was presented. The Vice President of Student Development and Success may request additional information from involved parties. The Vice President will issue a written response to the appeal within 14 days. The appeal response will be distributed to the complainant and the affected department or individuals. The appeal response by the Vice President of Student Development and Success is final.
Step 5: Further Appeal
If the student has exhausted the university institutional process, a further complaint can be filed with the Virginia State Council of Higher Education at www.schev.edu.
Certain complaints are not covered by this process. For information regarding grade appeals and student-to-student complaints, please refer to other sections of this Student Handbook, the VUU Catalog, or contact the Office of Academic Affairs, Financial Affairs or Student Development and Success. For information regarding Sexual Misconduct, please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures and refer to www.vuu.edu/titleix