4.05-5 Procedures for Written Student Complaints
These procedures, supplemental to Policy 4.05-4, provide a mechanism for any UGA student to submit a formal written complaint to the University. The procedures also define the responsibilities and methods by which the University will address written student complaints, maintain a record of those complaints, and take appropriate actions based on a systematic review of the record.
- University of Georgia Academic Affairs Policy 4.05-4, titled “Written Student Complaints”
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Federal Requirement 4.5, titled “Student Complaints”
A “written student complaint” is any complaint submitted by a currently enrolled UGA student through the University’s official web-based system available at www.studentcomplaints.uga.edu. Written student complaints are not meant to circumvent or replace existing UGA policies and procedures designed to address issues brought forward by students (e.g., the UGA Hotline, the NDAH Policy, Undergraduate Academic Appeals, etc.).
A “functional area” is any unit providing programs or services to UGA students, including all schools and colleges.
The Division of Student Affairs, led by the Vice President for Student Affairs, will have overall oversight and responsibility for this policy.
The Division of Student Affairs oversees the University’s official web-based system available at www.studentcomplaints.uga.edu to collect, disseminate, address, and report on written student complaints. Links on identified websites across campus direct students to the web-based system.
The web-based system enables submission, response, tracking, reporting, and analysis of student complaints in a central resource throughout the life cycle of each individual complaint, as well as for complaints in aggregate.
The Division of Student Affairs maintains a current and full list of university functional areas covered in the web-based system here: https://studentaffairs.uga.edu/site/content_page/functional-areas. Each functional area must include a link to the web-based system on its home web page and communicate its availability to students.
Each of these functional areas must identify a designated staff contact to receive and address written student complaints for that area that are submitted through the University’s official web-based system. Designated staff contacts in respective functional areas are responsible for responding and tracking assigned complaints for that area and for collecting necessary information related to the complaint and response in the web-based system.
Complaints related to areas not specifically listed as functional areas are captured by “Other” and responses coordinated through the Division of Student Affairs.
The Division of Student Affairs ensures timely and effective responses by designated staff contacts in functional areas and inclusion of relevant information in the web-based system. Annually, the Division of Student Affairs generates, evaluates, and distributes to the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost a summary of reported complaints to assess and take any necessary actions related to, or as a result of, student complaints that are submitted through the University’s official web-based system.
In collecting, disseminating and responding to written student complaints through the web-based system, the Division of Student Affairs ensures documentation of the following information for each complaint, in accordance with SACSCOC Federal Requirement 4.5: the date the complaint was submitted, the name of the student who submitted the complaint, a summary of the complaint, the individual or unit charged with resolving the complaint, and the response to the complaint.
All records associated with written student complaints are held for five years in accordance with the University System of Georgia Records Retention Schedule (K46).
The procedure for handling the typical “life cycle” for a written student complaint is:
Step 1. A currently enrolled student submits a “written student complaint” through the web-based system available at www.studentcomplaints.uga.edu. As part of the submission process, the student is required to log in to verify student status and provide a summary of the complaint, along with identifying the university functional area connected to the complaint.
Step 2. Once the complaint has been submitted, the web-based system generates an automatic email notification to the designated staff contact for the functional area identified in the complaint, as well as the Division of Student Affairs. In the event the category “Other” is selected, only the Division of Student Affairs receives notification.
Step 3. Division of Student Affairs reviews the submitted complaint to ensure the proper functional area and designated staff contact have been notified. Any mislabeled complaints are reassigned to appropriate staff contacts using the web-based system. Complaints that are general in nature or do not apply to a specific functional area are assigned to the Division of Student Affairs.
Step 4. The designated staff contact assigned the given complaint reviews the complaint and determines a course of action.
Step 5. The designated staff contact or a designee provides an initial written response to the complaining student, from or copied through the web-based system. This response may or may not indicate a full resolution of the complaint. The Division of Student Affairs monitors this process to ensure a timely response from designated staff contacts.
Step 6. Any necessary subsequent correspondence or actions to resolve the complaint take place. When the complaint has been resolved to the greatest extent possible, the designated staff contact makes a note and closes the open complaint through the web-based system.
Step 7. The Division of Student Affairs verifies the resolution of the complaint and the inclusion of appropriate materials and information related to the complaint in the web-based system.
Step 8. All complaints and responses generated through the web-based system are available in their entirety for later review and reporting.
6. Required Review and Approval
This policy will be reviewed no less than annually by the Division of Student Affairs. Any recommended revision to these guidelines must be recommended by the Vice President for Student Affairs and approved by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.
- Approved by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost on July 27, 2016.