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Student Complaints

 

Overview
Trinity University follows policies that guide faculty and staff in achieving the mission of the University. Complaints arise when students believes that any decision, act, or condition affecting them is illegal, unjust, or creates unnecessary hardship or when students feel that the processes and personnel in place have failed to fairly assess and address their issues.

Complaints are specific to the individual circumstances of a student or to a specific incident. Broad complaints about areas such as parking, dining, the residency requirement, cost of attendance, and academic rigor are not eligible for formal complaint. Additionally, the following are not considered formal complaints: editorials, social media posts, complaints to the media, student government resolutions and agenda items, protests and rallies, and any posters/banners/or fliers.

Most complaints can be best addressed through various campus departments. However, when a student has a more general complaint, a series of complaints, or has a complaint that is particulalrly sensitive or private, the student may report the complaint directly to the Dean of Students. Complaints are then generally referred to the Vice President (or a designee) of the appropriate area for resolution. Vice Presidents are the final decision-makers on all complaints.

Contacts for Complaints
While this list is not exhaustive, specific complaints can typically be addressed through appropriate persons as follows:
- For concerns related to general student concerns contact David Tuttle (dtuttle [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to academic issues and advising contact Michael Soto (msoto [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to registration and records contact Alfred Rodriguez (arodrig4 [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to academic support services contact Betty Curry (bcurry [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to student accounts contact Clara Wells (cwells [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to financial aid contact Cristina Pikla (cpikla [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to institutional technology contact Jim Bradley (jbradley [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to campus safety and security contact Paul Chapa (pchapa [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to counseling, health, and wellness services contact Gary Neal (gneal [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to housing contact Deborah Tyson (dtyson [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to dining contact Charles Robles (crobles [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns related to facilities and grounds contact Jim Baker (jbaker5 [at] trinity.edu)
- For all other concerns contact the Dean of Students (dtuttle [at] trinity.edu)
- For concerns about the Office of the Dean of Students contact the Vice President for Student Life, Sheryl Tynes (stynes [at] trinity.edu)

Appeal Processes
Concerns and appeals covered by policies and their associated appeal processes will be logged by the appropriate staff and faculty. Such appeals will be considered part of the general nature of conducting business rather than as complaints. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Scholarships and financial aid
- Title IX and harassment
- Grade appeals
- Honor Code and subsequent appeals
- Student Conduct and subsequent appeals
- Traffic and parking appeals
Generally, a complaint about a policy and its appeal process will not result in the reconsideration of a specific prior decision; that is, a complaint is not a route to a second appeal. (For example, a complaint about an Honor Council decision will not re-open the case nor serve as an appeal.)

Process
Students may file formal complaints as follows:
1. For formal review, complaints must be submitted directly by the aggrieved party.
2. Generally, complaints shall be submitted in writing.
3. Because students may seek assistance and guidance through face-to-face meetings with employees, such complaints will be considered official. The person receiving the complaint will generate a written record of the complaint.
4. While parents, teachers, friends, and off-campus professionals and advisors may notify University officials of concerns, such concerns are not official complaints until levied by the affected student. An employee may reach out to a student to explain the process for a formal complaint.

Documentation
The person initially receiving the complaint will document the complaint and the referral. Then, the receiving department will maintain records of resolution and inform the referring person of final resolution. All divisions of the University and many departments (as designated by the Vice Presidents) will maintain complaint logs that include the following information:
- Date
- Complainant
- Description of the complaint
- Intake person
- Referral information (person and department)
- Complaint disposition (open, pending, closed, referred to another area)
- Final resolution

Reporting
A summary document of all complaint logs will be prepared annually by the Dean of Students and maintained in the Office of the Dean of Students. The confidential reports and logs will be maintained for ten years.

Whistleblower Policy
Trinity University is committed to high ethical standards in all we do. Additionally, we want our campus to be a safe working and living environment for our faculty, staff, students and guests. Trinity's ​Campus Conduct Hotline (866-943-5787)​ allows completely anonymous reporting of illegal, unethical and unsafe situations.

Beyond Campus
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)Allegations regarding noncompliance with accreditation standards, policies, and procedures may be made to SACSCOC, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097.  (The Commission's complaint policy, procedure and the Complaint form may be found on their website, http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/complaintpolicy.pdf)

Title IX (Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Individuals who wish to file a claim with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights must do so within 180 days of the incident based on the time limits for adjudication set by that agency.