Complaints, Grievances and Appeals
Columbus State University (CSU) takes student needs and concerns very seriously. To that end, the University has developed a process through which individuals can submit complaints and appeals. The following information will direct you to the appropriate process to submit a specific type of complaint or appeal. If you have additional question or need more help please feel free to contact the Associate Provost for Faculty and Judicial Affairs.
Most complaints, grievances and appeals can be resolved within the University itself and often through an informal process. This can be done by communicating with the other individual(s) directly involved and/or his/her supervisors. CSU students are encouraged to demonstrate appropriate, effective, and respectful interpersonal communication. When issues occur, the parties involved should make a genuine effort to resolve them. However, if efforts to reach a mutually reasonable solution are unsuccessful through informal communication then students are advised to proceed to initiate a formal grievance or appeal. The objective of this process is to resolve concerns as quickly and efficiently as possible using the appropriate protocol and through the appropriate academic channels (for example: instructor → department chair → dean → associate provost).
The specific policies and forms for the various types of academically related appeals can be found here.
For non-academic grievances and appeals you can click here for more information.
If you have exhaust all regular grievance/appeal options on our campus you have the following options for filing complaints:
- If you are a student living in Georgia, and have exhausted all available avenues at the University, you may file a complaint with the University System of Georgia.
- If you are not satisfied with the resolution provided by the University and the State, you may file a complaint with the University’s accreditation agency. Accrediting agencies will only review issues addressing significant non-compliance with agency standards, policies, or procedures. This should be pursued only after all other avenues have been exhausted.
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) complaint procedures - Inquiries related to topics such as admission policies, financial aid opportunities, program information, etc. should be referred directly to Columbus State University at 706-507-8800, 1-866-264-2035, or www.ColumbusState.edu. The Commission is to be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support the institution's significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard.
Reporting Student Academic Misconduct
Those actions which constitute Academic Misconduct on the part of a student include, but are not limited to, cheating, receiving unauthorized aid in the preparation of coursework, and plagiarism. A full listing and description can be found in the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of the student handbook Section XIII; 1-7. Faculty members are encouraged to report Academic Misconduct through the BART reporting system so that a permanent record may be created for future reference and in cases of student appeals.
A simplified process for reporting violations has been created through the development of an electronic form specific to academic misconduct. The form can be accessed here. Faculty members can meet the requirement of providing students with an informal administrative hearing by meeting with the student, notifying them of the alleged violation(s), explaining the charge, and giving the student the opportunity to respond. If, after the hearing, the faculty member concludes that the student has committed academic misconduct then they may assign an appropriate sanction.
Questions related to this process should be addressed to the Associate Provost for Faculty and Judicial Affairs.
A grievance is a formal complaint filed by any faculty member—including both full- and part-time faculty—about a specific issue, to include complaints reasonably related to the terms and conditions of a petitioner's employment, complaints concerning violations of academic freedom, procedural and policy matters, including insufficient consideration, related to salary, or promotion, or tenure, or the job performance evaluation of a petitioner, discrimination against a petitioner based on race, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, handicap, or sexual orientation (Note: discrimination claims must involve the university’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) officer, who will either make a recommendation to the Faculty Hearing Committee or respond to one from it. If the EEO officer finds that the claim is not attributable to discrimination, the claimant may file a further grievance with the Committee.), any matter referred to the Faculty Hearing Committee by the president or by the Board of Regents.
Faculty members who feel they have a grievance must make timely and good-faith efforts to resolve the issue through the university hierarchy before resorting to the faculty grievance process. The university encourages faculty members contemplating a grievance to discuss the issue with colleagues who can offer advice or guidance such as current or past executive officers of the Faculty Senate, campus AAUP officers, or other knowledgeable persons.
A claimant may appeal the decision of the provost, a chair, or dean to the Faculty Hearing Committee. Claimants may not appeal decisions of the president. Thus, faculty members wishing to have the Faculty Hearing Committee make a recommendation must appeal to it prior to appealing to the president.
The university encourages parties to a grievance to allow an outside mediator to attempt to resolve the issue. Such mediation does not preclude the Grievance Process, thus time spent on mediation does not count against the 60-day window for filing a formal grievance.