Apr 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Catalog

Complaints



Lamar State College Orange is committed to providing equal access and opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status, in employment, educational programs, and activities and admissions. With this in mind, a student complaint may encompass dissatisfaction or perceived injustice a student may have while associated with the college as a student.

Informal Student Complaints (excluding discrimination or safety)

A student complaint may result from academic experiences or non-academic matters involving administrators, staff, or other students/student organizations. Regardless of the course modality and/or campus location of the issue, the protocol for handling complaints will be the same. 

All complainants should attempt an informal resolution by speaking with the appropriate parties involved. If the informal complaint is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction within five (5) business days of the incident, the student may decide to present their informal complaint as a formal complaint within the next five (5) business days.

Intake form for student Complaints (excluding discrimination or safety)

Except in the case of safety concerns (e.g., harassment/sexual misconduct/Title IX complaint), a student who has not successfully resolved an informal complaint should utilize the Student Complaints Intake Form. The Student Complaint Intake Form may also be found in the MyGator portal (student reporting forms).

Only complaints submitted within the stated timeframe will be evaluated and considered. Upon submitting a formal complaint for concerns excluding discrimination and safety through the Complaint Intake Form, the student will be contacted through their LSCO email to schedule an initial conference and receive guidance on how to proceed. Additional documentation may be requested during the initial conference. After the initial conference with the student, no new documents may be submitted while the process is ongoing, even during the subsequent reporting levels of administration.

Formal student complaints (excluding discrimination or safety) - AFTER submitting the Intake Form for Student Complaints

Student - Staff (non-instructor) Complaint Appeal Process

The College believes that matters involving a staff member (non-instructor) and students are best resolved at that level; therefore, the following procedures are established for all student-staff (non-instructor) conflicts. Even after initiating the formal complaint process, students are encouraged to seek informal resolution of their concerns. A student whose concerns are resolved may withdraw a formal complaint at any time.

Level One:

The student will first consult with the staff member and express concerns. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution, the student should provide a written appeal to the staff member within five (5) business days submitted from the student’s assigned LSCO email account substantiating the claim that the issue represents unfair treatment or incompatible procedures with the LSCO Student Handbook or LSCO Catalog. The staff member is to schedule a meeting to occur in person within five (5) business days of receiving the written appeal. Upon hearing the grievance and meeting with the student, the staff member will provide his/her decision in writing to the student within five (5) business days. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution for the student, he/she must request from the staff-member details of their right to appeal to the next level within five (5) business days following receipt of the written decision.   

Level Two:

Within five (5) business days after receiving the staff member’s decision in writing, the student should use their assigned LSCO email account to provide the same written documentation that was submitted to the staff member in the level one appeal process to the next-level supervisor. The next-level supervisor is to schedule a meeting to occur in person within five (5) business days of receiving the appeal. Upon hearing the grievance and meeting with the student, the next-level supervisor will provide his/her decision in writing to the student following the meeting within five (5) business days. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution for the student, he/she must request from the next-level supervisor their right to appeal to the next level within five (5) business days following receipt of the written decision.  

Level Three:

Within five (5) days after receiving the next-level supervisor’s decision in writing, the student should use their assigned LSCO email account to provide the same written documentation which was originally submitted to the staff member in the level one appeal process to the Dean of Student Services. The Dean of Student Services is to schedule a meeting to occur in person within five (5) business days of receiving the written complaint from the student. Upon hearing the grievance and meeting with the student, the Dean of Student Services will provide his/her decision in writing to the student following the meeting within five (5) business days. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution for the student, he/she must request from the Dean of Student Services details of their right to appeal to the next level within five (5) business days following receipt of the written decision.   

Level Four:

Within five (5) days after receiving the Dean of Student Services’ decision in writing, the student should use their assigned LSCO email account to submit the same written documentation that was submitted in the level one appeal to the appropriate Vice President. The appropriate Vice President is to schedule a meeting to occur in person within five (5) business days of receiving the written complaint from the student. Upon hearing the grievance and meeting with the student, the appropriate Vice President will provide his/her decision in writing to the student following the meeting within five (5) business days. The decision of the Vice President is final.

Student – Instructor Complaint Appeal Process

The College believes that matters involving an instructor and student are best resolved at that level; therefore, the following procedures are established for formal student-instructor conflicts, including but not limited to those related to earned grade disputes. Even after initiating the formal complaint process, students are encouraged to seek informal resolution of their concerns. A student whose concerns are resolved may withdraw a formal complaint at any time.

*Complaints Related to Earned Grades

Complaints related to an earned grade must be initiated no later than 30 calendar days after the date that the grade was assigned, not to exceed 30 calendar days following the end of the semester. They should be limited to specific charges of unfair action in the grade determination and shall not challenge the instructor’s grading standard as outlined in the course syllabus. The appeal process for a complaint related to an earned grade will consider whether a grade was determined in a fair and appropriate manner in accordance with the course syllabus; it does not provide an attempt to grade or re-grade individual assignments, exams, or projects. The written appeal for complaints related to earned grades must substantiate the claim that the grade represents unfair treatment compared to the standard provided in the syllabus (and applied to other students). In the absence of compelling reasons, such as clerical error, prejudice, or inconsistency, the grade assigned by the instructor is considered to be final and cannot be appealed. In a grade appeal, only arbitrariness, prejudice, and/or error will be considered legitimate grounds for an appeal.

Note: **The appeals process does not apply to program-specific policies that are outlined in the program handbook and such program-specific policies are not eligible to undergo an appeal unless specified as eligible within the program’s handbook.

Level One:

The student will first consult with the instructor and express concerns. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution, the student should provide a written appeal to the instructor within five (5) business days from the student’s assigned LSCO email account substantiating the claim that the issue represents unfair treatment or incompatible procedures compared to the standards provided in the syllabus or the Student Handbook. The instructor is to schedule a meeting to occur in person within five (5) business days of receiving the written appeal. Upon hearing the grievance and meeting with the student, the instructor will provide his/her decision in writing to the student within five (5) business days. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution for the student, he/she must request from the instructor details of their right to appeal to the next level within five (5) business days following receipt of the written decision.   

Level Two:

Within five (5) days after receiving the instructor’s decision in writing, the student should use their assigned LSCO email account to provide the same written documentation that was submitted to the instructor in the level one appeal process to the next-level supervisor. The next-level supervisor is to schedule a meeting to occur in person within five (5) business days of receiving the appeal. Upon hearing the grievance and meeting with the student, the next-level supervisor will provide his/her decision in writing to the student following the meeting within five (5) business days. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution for the student, he/she must request from the next-level supervisor details of their right to appeal to the next level within five (5) business days following receipt of the written decision.   

Level Three:

Within five (5) days after receiving the next-level supervisor’s decision in writing, the student should use their assigned LSCO email account to provide the same written documentation which was originally submitted to the instructor in the level one appeal process to the Dean of Academic and Technical Programs (for academic and technical instructors) or the Dean of Nursing and Health Professions (for nursing and health professions instructors). The appropriate Dean is to schedule a meeting to occur in person within five (5) business days of receiving the written complaint from the student. Upon hearing the grievance and meeting with the student, the appropriate Dean will provide his/her decision in writing to the student following the meeting within five (5) business days. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution for the student, he/she must request from the appropriate Dean details of their right to appeal to the next level within five (5) business days following receipt of the written decision.   

Level Four:

Within five (5) days after receiving the appropriate Dean’s decision in writing, the student should use their assigned LSCO email account to submit to the Provost/Executive Vice President a written request for a hearing before the Academic Appeals Committee. Although the hearing is most effectively conducted in person, arrangements can be made for virtual hearings if needed. Within the written request to appear before the Academic Appeals Committee, the student is to provide the same written documentation that was submitted to the instructor in the level one appeal process. The meeting with the Academic Appeals Committee will occur as soon as practicably possible. The decision of the Academic Appeals Committee is final and will be the last level of the appeal process. Within five (5) business days after the Academic Appeals Committee convenes, the Provost/Executive Vice President will issue in writing the final decision of the appeal to the student via their LSCO email account. 

The membership of the Academic Appeals Committee will be comprised of:

  • Four full-time faculty members with no representation from the department from which the appeal is being made
  • Three students, with representatives from both academic and technical divisions
  • Division Directors Associate Deans, and Deans may not serve as members of the committee.
  • The Executive Vice President (EVP)/Provost will identify an Ad Hoc (non-voting) committee member tasked with taking minutes of the committee meetings.

The members of the committee shall be chosen by the Executive Vice President (EVP)/Provost. The chair of the committee shall be selected from one of the faculty members of the committee. 

NOTE: Students are allowed to continue attending class until the grievance or appeal is resolved. However, students shall not participate in off-campus instructional assignments (i.e. clinicals, internships, etc.) during the appeal process.

Student – Student/Student Organization Complaint Appeal Process

The College believes that matters involving a student conflict with another student or with a student organization are best resolved at that level; therefore, the following procedures are established for all student-student or student-student organization conflicts. Even after initiating the formal complaint process, the student complainant is encouraged to seek informal resolution of their concerns. A student whose concerns are resolved may withdraw a formal complaint at any time.

Level One:

The student complainant will first consult with the student or student organization designated representative with whom he/she has a conflict and express concerns. If this meeting does not produce an acceptable resolution, the student should provide a written appeal to the Dean of Student Services within five (5) business days submitted from the student complainant’s assigned LSCO email account substantiating the claim that the issue represents unfair treatment or incompatible procedures incompatible with the LSCO Student Handbook or LSCO Catalog. The Dean of Student Services is to schedule a meeting to occur in person within five (5) business days of receiving the written appeal. Upon hearing the grievance and meeting with the student complainant and the offending student or student organization designated representative, the Dean of Student Services will provide his/her decision in writing to the student within five (5) business days. The decision of the Dean of Student Services is final.

Discrimination Reporting

Any student who believes he/she has been discriminated against by college personnel for any reason, including discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status, has the right to expect due diligence and should contact the Dean of Student Services within five (5) business days of the initial concern. If the Dean of Student Services determines that the complaint does not strictly adhere to discrimination allegations, the student complainant will be directed to the student/staff, student/instructor, or student/student (organization) conflict resolution and appeal process, as appropriate.

For reports determined to be a discrimination complaint, the Dean of Student Services will coordinate with the Director of Human Resources and/or the Title IX Coordinator, as appropriate, who will appoint a hearing officer to review the case. The hearing officer shall review and investigate the complaint and make the final decision regarding a student report of discrimination.

Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Reporting

Lamar State College Orange promotes prompt reporting of all forms of sexual misconduct. To ensure all students, faculty, and staff have an option for electronic reporting of an incident of sexual misconduct, LSCO has created an online, secure reporting form. This form will enable an individual to report the alleged offense anonymously.

The Title IX/Clery Reporting Form may also be found in the MyGator portal (student reporting forms).

Upon submitting a report through the Title IX/Clery Reporting Form, a member of the Title IX Team will follow up on the next steps, as outlined on LSCO’s Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Webpage

Timeline for Filing a Complaint and Appeal

In resolving student complaints, timely reporting of the complaint is important and thus required at all levels. Unless stated otherwise within each procedural guideline, the appropriate timeframe for filing a written grievance should be within five (5) business days from the date on which the student is first aware or notified of the issue of concern. Written appeals to the next/subsequent level of the process must be made within five (5) business days of the student’s receipt of the institution’s appellate written decision.

Distance Learning State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) Complaints

Students Enrolled in Distance Education Courses Complaints should be filed in the state where the student is receiving instruction, not in the state in which the student resides. For example, a student residing in Louisiana but taking courses in Texas should file his/her compliant with the state contact for Texas. Complaints against a SARA-participating institution must first go through the institution’s own grievance procedures. All complaints regarding student grades or conduct violations are governed by the institution and the laws of the institution’s home state. If a student is not satisfied with the outcome of the institutional grievance process, the student may appeal, within two years of the incident, to the SARA portal agency of the institution’s home state. For all complaints regarding Texas degree-granting postsecondary institutions participating in SARA, complete the Student Complaint and Release Form and email the form to Student.Complaints@highered.texas.gov.

THECB Complaints

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) Student Complaint Procedure (19 TAC SS 1.110-1.120) requires that a student filing a complaint must do so in a timely manner and must exhaust all grievance and appeal procedures of the institution as described in the Lamar State College Orange Student Grievance Procedure PRIOR to filing a complaint at the following address: StudentComplaints@THECB.state.tx.us. URL for the Texas Secretary of State: http://www.sos.texas.gov/index.html  

SACSCOC Regional Accreditation

Additionally, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides an option for grievances as part of its “Complaint Procedures against SACSCOC or its Accredited Institutions” which can be utilized once the complainant has exhausted all grievance and appeal procedures of the institution as described in the Lamar State College Orange Student Grievance Procedure.

Program-Specific Accreditation Organizations

In addition to general institutional accreditation under SACSCOC, individual departmental programs may be associated with program-specific accreditation organizations with which a student may consult at any time. Information about specific program accreditation is located at this link.

Student Feedback/Student Government Association

Each semester the College provides students an opportunity for feedback regarding concerns and suggestions to improve college services through the Student Government Association. Students also may voice their ideas for improvement at regularly scheduled Student Government Association meetings throughout the fall and spring semesters. However, for individual student concerns or grievances, students should follow the grievance procedures detailed above.