Grievances, Appeals and Complaints

Grievances and Appeals of College Actions

  1. Students may appeal or grieve a college action (excluding grades and student conduct decisions) by filing a written notice of appeal with the appropriate vice president.

    a. Appeals must be filed with twenty-one (21) days of notice of the college action. Documented extenuating circumstances (such as medical complications or recall to military duty) may extend this timeframe.

    b. Failure to timely file a notice of appeal constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal and the college action shall be deemed final.

    c. The grievance shall be filed with the Vice President of Instruction regarding academic actions, with the Vice President of Administrative Services for administrative and business service issues, and with the Vice President of Student Services for other student matters.

  2. The notice of appeal must include a brief statement explaining why the student is seeking review of the action.

  3. The parties to an appeal shall be the student and the college employee who initiated the college action.

  4. A student who timely appeals a college action has a right to a prompt, fair, and impartial review of the matter.

  5. On appeal, the college bears the burden of establishing the evidentiary facts underlying the college action based on a preponderance of the  evidence. 

  6. From the date of receipt of the appeal, the vice president has ten (10) days to render a written decision to both parties. The brief written statement will minimally contain the reasons for the decision. This decision is final

  7. This procedure does not apply to:

    a. Grade appeals which are described separately below.

    b. Student Conduct Decisions which are described separately below.

  8. Please file your written grievance online.

Grade Appeals

A grade appeal only applies to the final course grade. The assignment of a grade is the sole right and responsibility of the instructor, reflecting his or her careful and deliberate judgment. Assigned grades are presumed to be correct. Students have the right to appeal a grade assigned in error or perceived as prejudiced, arbitrary, or capricious. 

In a grade appeal, the appropriate instructional division dean will meet only with the student and the instructor. No other advocate may be present. The student is responsible for knowing and initiating the grade appeal process; the burden of proof rests on the student. The student must file grade appeal with the appropriate division dean as indicated below within the academic quarter following the quarter for which the grade was received. Documented extenuating circumstances (such as medical complications or recall to military duty) may extend this timeline.

Full procedures and forms are available online.

Student Conduct Appeals

Students may appeal a disciplinary action by filing a written notice of appeal within twenty-one (21) days of service of the conduct decision.  Failure to timely file a notice of appeal constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal and the student conduct officer’s decision shall be deemed final.

Full procedures are available in the Student Handbook.

Equal Opportunity and Title IX Complains

Students should direct complaints to the college’s Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator

Notification of Title IV Student Complaint Process:

The Higher Education Act (HEA) prohibits an institution of higher education from engaging in a “substantial misrepresentation of the nature of its educational program, its financial charges, or the employability of its graduates.”  20 U.S.C. §1094(c)(3)(A). Further, each State must have “a process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning the institution including enforcing applicable State laws.”  34 C.F.R. § 600.9.  The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) maintains a process to investigate complaints of this nature brought by community and technical college students in the State of Washington. For more information, contact the SBCTC Student Services Office at 360-704-4315 or online.