Grievance Procedure

Student Grievance Procedure
Definitions: A “grievance” shall mean a complaint which has been filed by a grievant alleging a violation of student rights. A “grievant” shall mean a student or groups of students enrolled in SH/BHSN at the time the grievance is filed.

Purpose: A student who has a problem related to rights and responsibilities which has not been resolved to his/her satisfaction has the opportunity to have this problem reviewed by a higher authority. The primary purpose of this procedure is to secure prompt and equitable resolution of a grievance. Customary channels of communication shall be used wherever feasible in seeking clarification of questions or concerns. Every effort shall be made to maintain confidentiality at each level of the procedure.

Procedure:
Step 1: If a grievant has a problem with faculty or staff, he/she should attempt to resolve the conflict between them. Mutual times should be set aside for communication. The grievant shall first present his/her grievance orally and informally to the person against whom a grievance exists. This should be done within five school days from the date of the grievance act or from the date that the grievant knew of the grievable act.

Step 2: If the grievance is not resolved in the grievant’s favor within five school days, the grievant must present, in writing, a statement of the grievance, including all of the relevant facts to either the Assistant Dean. The above SH/BHSN agents will discuss the grievance with the grievant and will provide a written response to the grievant and SH/BHSN agent involved within five days following discussion.

Step 3: If the grievance is not resolved in the grievant’s favor within five school days, the grievant must present, in writing, a statement of the grievance, including all of the relevant facts to the chairperson of the Grievance Review Committee. The grievance review committee has the responsibility to investigate any alleged violation of policy which may occur in the classroom or which relates to the teaching and learning process in SH/BHSN, its affiliations and Hospital and its immediate grounds or at a sponsored SH/BHSN event and to recommend sanctions.

Students have the right to a pre-hearing conference with the chairperson, grievance review committee, for the purpose of reviewing hearing procedures and related aspects of the review system. In addition, students may use this opportunity to waive their right to a hearing and appeal and accept disciplinary action from the faculty/staff member.

The grievance review board shall set a reasonable meeting time. The student involved in the case will receive in hand or by return receipt requested, addressee only mail, the following information from the chairperson, grievance review board: the specific rule or regulation allegedly violated; the time and place of the alleged violation and such information as needed to prepare a proper defense; the name(s) of the person(s) reporting the alleged violation; explanation of the right of appeal and; the time and place of the meeting.

Hearing and Evidence: All evidence and argument pertaining to questions or fact, procedure, interpretation of rules and regulations and any other questions which may come before the review board in the course of the meeting will be presented with the knowledge of the student(s) against whom the allegations have been made.

Witness and Evidence: Each party in a disciplinary meeting will be given the opportunity to testify and present evidence and witnesses, and an opportunity to hear and question adverse witnesses. In no cases shall a board consider statements against a student unless he/she has been given the opportunity to rebut unfavorable inferences which might be drawn from them.

Burden of Proof: The burden of proof shall rest upon the persons bringing charges or upon their representatives.

Deliberation and Decisions: Immediately following the meeting, the review body shall meet in executive session. A majority of the members must concur first with the facts of the case and thereafter with a resolution to the problem. The chairperson shall forward the recommendation, in writing, within 24 hours to either the Assistant Dean. SH/BHSN agent(s) can accept or modify the recommendation and subsequently will notify the grievant of the decision in writing.

Step 4: If the grievance is not resolved in the grievant’s favor within five school days following notification of the decision of the grievance review board, the grievant may file a petition of appeal with the Dean. Appeal letters must also include a rationale, one or two paragraphs in length, for the reasons stated. The Dean may schedule a meeting with the student, support person, and faculty member involved and attempt to resolve the alleged grievance. A written decision is required, normally within thirty (30) days, on any grievance presented to the Dean. When the Dean rules on an appeal, the case shall be considered closed.

Other: Filing a grievance in accordance with the procedure set forth above shall not affect the student’s right to file complaints with appropriate state and federal agencies or courts.

All written responses shall be served by delivering, in hand, a copy to the appropriate person or by the mailing of a certified letter to that person addressed to his/her residence as recorded in the office of the Registrar.

Specific policies related to the conduct of members of the SH/BHSN community are outlined in the Catalogue, Student Handbook, and Media Guide. Subsequent changes in policy are posted on student bulletin boards, distributed in student mailboxes and on student email.

Grievance Review Committee:
Faculty: Two faculty team leaders, one from the day and one from the evening/weekend division, elected by the faculty from a ballot prepared by Faculty Organization based on faculty preferences in May of each academic year; two faculty members and the NSNA Advisor.
Students: 3 student representatives, one from the evening/weekend and two from the day division from each class.

Grievance Review Board: A board shall consist of eight members of equal dispersion of faculty and students plus a chairperson of the grievance review committee for a term of one year. If any student or faculty at the grievance review committee is biased or might have an interest in the outcome or has previous knowledge of the grievance, he/she will withdraw from the board and be replaced by the next available member.

General Grievance Review Committee/Board Procedures
 The committee shall annually select a chairperson who shall preside at hearings.
 The committee shall select a secretary who shall keep records and all correspondence.
 The committee shall determine quorum at the first organizational meeting.
 Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with due process.
 Recommendations shall be made in writing citing the violation(s), a brief statement of the facts upon which the finding is based and the disciplinary sanction recommended.
 Adequate time (48 hours) must be given to the accused person(s) to prepare the appropriate defense. The student shall be provided with a copy of the incident report 24 hours prior to the hearing.
 Hearings shall be conducted openly, unless the student(s) involved, at any time, requests a closed hearing. In an open hearing, the chairperson may limit the number of spectators in an effort to maintain order and decorum.
 Decision of the board shall be made with the concurrence of not less than two-thirds of the members present.
 All records of grievance board hearings and of the final determination in each case shall be confidentially maintained.
 All members of the board shall keep in strict confidence all information that relates to any case heard by the board.
 Cases occurring just prior to examination and/or lengthy vacation periods shall be referred by the chairperson to the appropriate administrative officer to ensure timely adjudication.

Disability Discrimination Grievance Procedure
Purpose: The following is the official mechanism by which disabled persons may file a grievance with SH/BHSN (the “School”).

Non-Associates (other than applicants for employment): Any student who believes that he or she has a legitimate complaint concerning accessibility or services, architectural barriers or other situations covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the American With Disabilities Act is urged to bring it to SH/BHSN’s attention via this grievance procedure. Any such grievance should be initiated within 15 days of the incident giving rise to it. Depending upon the nature of the complaint, the grievant should follow Step I as follows:

Step I – Contact the Dean who shall attempt to resolve the grievance in a fair and timely manner.

Should the attempt to resolve the issue at Step I fail, the grievance may be advanced to Step II, within five days of the Step I response. The designated representative shall assist the grievant in pursuing the matter further by assisting the grievant in submitting his or her written complaint and notifying SH/BHSN’s compliance officer that a Section 504 grievance has been received.

Step II – The compliance officer shall forward the grievance and his/her findings, together with any additional information provided by the grievant, in writing, to Dean. Normally within seven days, the Dean shall make a final decision, based on all available information, and will forward his or her final written decision to the grievant, normally within 45 days of the original written grievance.

Appointment of Compliance Officer: The Coordinator of Counseling and Student Services is appointed the SH/BHSN’s compliance officer.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973: A grievant may also have rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 39 U.S.C. 794, which is administered by the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services. Regulations have been promulgated by the Department, 45 C.F.R. Part 84, and further information may be obtained from the Department.

A grievant may also have right under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101-12212, which is administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice. Regulations have been promulgated by the EEOC, 29 CFR 1630 and the Department of Justice, 28 CFR §36, which address specific subject areas. Utilization of this grievance procedure shall not preclude any grievant who has a right to do so from filing a complaint under Section 504 with the Department or under the American with Disabilities Act with the EEOC or courts.

SH/BHSN takes very seriously students’ complaints and concerns. Complaints should be resolved at the campus level.  However, after completing the SH/BHSN Grievance process, if a student feels that their complaint has not been resolved, per Federal Student Regulations CFR 34, Section 600.9 (a)(1) and 668.43 (b),  the student may file a complaint with:

Massachusetts Board of Higher Education

Office Of the General Counsel

One Ashburton Place, Room 1401

Boston, MA  02108

(617) 994-6950

Fax (617)727-0955

WWW.mass.edu