Complaint Resolution Process

The College encourages resolution of issues at the informal level, but realizes that may not always be possible. An unresolved complaint complaint may lead to the Student Appeal Committee for resolution. Also, students who have been suspended or expelled from the College by the Executive Dean, Student Services may proceed to Step 4, Complaint Resolution Process by submitting a written appeal request to the Executive Dean, Student Services, who will forward the appeal to the chair of the Student Appeals Committee.

A. Informal Resolution
Step 1:
Faculty, adjunct, staff, or student identifies a problem/issue/behavior requiring resolution to a faculty, adjunct, staff, or students, as the situation defines.

Prior to the next scheduled class meeting (for faculty and adjunct faculty) or within five (5) business days, the faculty, adjunct, or, staff and student(s) will meet face-to-face to identify the conflict/issue/problem and work to a resolution/solution. The problem and solution will be briefly detailed on the LMC Complaint Resolution Form and filed with the Ombudsperson. If the issue is resolved, the student returns to class/campus. If the problem is unresolved, the student is handed a copy of LMC Complaint Resolution Form and the resolution of the problem moves to the formal steps.

B. Formal Resolution
Step 2:
Within five (5) business days, the aggrieved must articulate the problem in writing on the LMC Complaint Resolution Form and meet for the second time with the faculty, adjunct, or staff member in an attempt to resolve the issue. Input from the faculty or staff member is added to the LMC Complaint Resolution Form.

Step 3:
Without resolution, the aggrieved has five (5) business days to meet with the Department Chair of the identified faculty for academic issues or the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for non-academic issues for continued resolution and appeal. The LMC Complaint Resolution Form used in Steps 1 and 2 follows the complainant. In the academic complaint, the faculty has to agree with the resolution reached by the Chair. If the faculty disagrees with the Chair’s resolution or the staff with the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics resolution, the issue can be moved to step 4 by the faculty/staff member.

Step 4:
Without resolution, and within five (5) business days after the meeting for Step 3, the LMC Complaint Resolution Form must be filed with the Student Appeals Committee. The Executive Dean, Student Services will forward the request for appeal to the Student Appeals Committee where the Committee has seven (7) business days to set a hearing date where the faculty, staff and/or student will be required to make their case, present evidence and share their perceptions for the Committee to consider.

Step 5:
Within seven (7) business days after hearing all the evidence and perceptions, the Student Appeals Committee will render a decision. The resolution will be communicated in writing on the LMC Complaint Resolution Form and is final. If at any Step the issue is resolved, the LMC Complaint Resolution Form is completed, distributed as necessary (aggrieved, faculty/staff, Executive Dean) and filed with the Office of the Executive Dean, Student Services.

Student Appeal Process for Disciplinary Grievances (non-academic):
A student found responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code may submit a written appeal request to the Executive Dean, Student Services, who will forward the appeal to the chair of the Student Appeals Committee.

All appeals must:
1. Be submitted no later than five (5) business days after the student(s) has been notified of a decision.
2. Specify the grounds for the appeal.
3. Provide the necessary detailed information to support their position.

The College reserves the right for the Executive Dean, Student Services to suspend the normal judicial process under the following circumstances circumstances: cases where a student may present a threat of harm to self, or others, to property, or are disruptive to the campus living and learning community.

Students who believe they have been treated unfairly by an instructor, administrator, staff member or employee have the right of appeal. This appeal process seeks equitable solutions to student complaints. This would not include grades, which would be administered through the Grade Appeal Process. Students can appeal through the Complaint Resolution process. Suspended or expelled students may proceed to Step 4 of the Complaint Resolution Form and request an appeal in writing of a College administrator’s decision to the Executive Dean, Student Services explaining the reason for the appeal.

General Provisions
a. A complaint is a claim by one or more students about being treated unfairly by LMC personnel, or that rights as outlined in the student handbook have been violated.

b. All documents, communications, and records dealing with an appeal shall be filed by the Executive Dean, Student Services. All records of actions under this procedure shall be held in strict confidence and will be available to the student initiating the appeal or his/her representative.

c. Hearings and conferences held under this procedure shall be conducted at a time and place that will afford a fair and reasonable opportunity for all appropriate persons to be present. When such hearings and conferences are held during College hours, employees who are required to attend shall be excused to do so with no reduction in pay. Students who are required to attend will be excused from classes with no penalty.

Student Appeals Committee
1. Jurisdiction
The Student Appeals Committee shall hear and determine appeals in the following situations: Student-, faculty-, or staff-generated complaints concerning student conduct excluding grades. The decision of the Student Appeals Committee is final.

2. Composition
The Student Appeals Committee shall consist of two (2) students from the Student Senate, two (2) faculty from outside the division*, two (2) administrators outside the division and one (1) classified staff. The Director of Intercollegiate Athletics will chair and facilitate the Student Appeals Committee and is a non-voting member. The Student Senate, Divisions and Departments will annually create a pool of participants from which to draw committee members.

*Division refers to that of the faculty referenced in the complaint.

3. Ombudsperson
Any full-time staff and/or faculty member can serve as the Lake Michigan College Ombudsperson for terms of one (1) year and is appointed by the Executive Dean, Student Services. The Ombudsperson’s primary duty is to assist students in resolving complaints or disputes within the College. The Ombudsperson also helps staff members, instructors, and administrators sort through College rules and regulations that might apply to specific issues and concerns. The Ombudsperson carries out these duties in a neutral, confidential, informal and independent manner.

Current Napier Avenue and M-TEC Campuses Ombudsperson is the Director of Student Life, Room D-103 (Gathering Place), (269) 927-8100, ext. 5206.

Current South Haven Campus Ombudsperson is the Director of Student Services, Room SH-116, (269) 637-7526.

Current Bertrand Crossing Campus Ombudsperson is the Director of Student Services, Room BC-101b, (269) 695-2988.

Following a request for assistance, the Ombudsperson will take one or more of the following actions: (1) listen carefully to the concern concern, (2) explain relevant student rights and responsibilities, (3) review relevant College policies or regulations, (4) suggest fair and equitable options, 5) refer the individual to an appropriate College or community resource, or (6) investigate, when necessary.

The Ombudsperson is available to all parties involved in Student Appeals Committee hearings, the final step in an effort to resolve a dispute.

NOTE: The Ombudsperson is not an advocate for any group on campus; instead the Ombudsperson is an advocate for fairness. The Ombudsperson also does not provide legal service, represent students or instructors at academic grievance or disciplinary hearings or mediate disputes between or among faculty or between faculty and administrators. The Office of the Ombudsperson does not accept formal complaints or notice for the College. Members of the LMC community may contact the Ombudsperson in person or by e-mail.

At any point in the process, the student, faculty, adjunct or staff may enlist the assistance of the LMC Ombudsperson for procedural assistance. The Ombudsperson provides the LMC Complaint Resolution Form (also available from the offices of any Executive Dean) to the interested party at the initiation of the appeal process. Any informal records that are generated will be kept on file by the Ombudsperson.

The above procedure excludes issues related to sexual harassment, civil rights, Title IX, and disability concerns. Complaint procedures for these areas can be found in the College Policies section of the College catalog or directed to the Assistant Director of Human Resources and Diversity in Room A-305, (269) 927-8102.

Complaint Resolution Form(pdf)