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Student Complaints and Grievances

Our desire is for you to have a positive experience at Hopkinsville Community College. However, we realize that sometimes situations occur where students need to have an opportunity to voice a complaint or grievance. Complaint and grievance procedures are designed to assist students who have a perception of unfair and/or unlawful treatment.

It is generally beneficial to discuss the problem with college personnel prior to filing a formal complaint. College personnel are available to students to discuss issues that arise, and students should not hesitate to contact a faculty member, a dean, an advisor, or any other staff person. We have learned over the years most of the issues that come up can be resolved face-to-face between parties during a scheduled office visit. We highly encourage students to take this step first, if appropriate.Unfortunately, not all situations can be resolved in this manner and require a formal process and the assistance of a third party. Below are a few suggestions to guide students through the process of filing a complaint or grievance:

  • A complaint or grievance should be raised as quickly as possible. Students should be aware of timelines regarding formal complaint and grievance procedures.
  • In the vast majority of cases, an attempt should be made to resolve the issue informally.
  • A written complaint or grievance should contain: a) complete description of the complaint or grievance, b) any supporting documents, and c) the desired outcome sought.
  • A casual way to share a concern or to make a suggestion is to use the Contact Us feature.

Appeals in Cases of an Alleged Student Academic Offense

(cheating, plagiarism, falsification of academic records,etc.)

First, the instructor discusses the alleged offense and the proposed sanction with the student. If not resolved, the student appeals to the appropriate Academic Division Chair in writing. If resolved by the Division Chair, the case ends. If not, the case is referred to the college President/CEO. If resolved by the college's President/CEO, the case ends. If not, the student files a written request for a hearing by the Appeals Board. All parties are invited to file written statements. The Appeals Board decides whether or not to hear the case. If the Appeals Board decides to hear the case, a hearing is scheduled and a decision is made and the case ends. If the Appeals Board decides not to hear the case, the case ends.(Source: the KCTCS Student Code of Conduct which outlines the complete guidelines,a specific timeline of student actions and responsibilities, and the college's role in the process. Appeals flowchart timelines are located on pages 26-30).

Appeals in Cases of an Alleged Violation of Student Academic Rights and Grade Appeals

(grade issues, informed notice of course content and course grading criteria, etc.)

Generally, the student appeals to the appropriate Academic Division Chair in writing. If resolved by the Division Chair, the case ends. If not, the case is referred to the college's President/CEO. If resolved by the college President/CEO, the case ends. If not, the student files a written request for a hearing by the Appeals Board. All parties are invited to file written statements. The Appeals Board decides whether or not to hear the case. If the Appeals Board decides to hear the case, a hearing is scheduled and a decision is made and the case ends. If the Appeals Board decides not to hear the case, the case ends. (Source:the KCTCS Student Code of Conduct which outlines the complete guidelines,a specific timeline of student actions and responsibilities, and the college's role in the process. Appeals Flowchart timelines are located on pages 26 - 30)

College Appeals Board (CAB) Appeal Process

Once an appeal is recieved by the College Appeals Board (CAB), the CAB panel has five business days to decide whether it will consider appeal for hearing.

If the CAB hears the case because of some question about the fact of the student's guilt, it shall have the authority to impose a final decision as to guilt or innocence. If the CAB decides not to hear the case, the student has no further right of appeal within the system except in cases of supension or expulsion.

If the CAB hears the case because of an appeal of the severity of the sanction, it shall recommend an appropriate sanction to the appropriate college official(s). If the CAB does not support the sanction, the CAB shall submit its decision and recommendation of appropriate sanction to the College President or designee who shall consult with the appropriate college official(s) involved to find an appropriate sanction. The final decision is the responsibility of the College President.

If the CAB panel decides not to consider the appeal, the student and parties are notified within five business days. If the CAB panel decides to consider the appeal, the Chair requests statements from appropriate college officials within five business days. Statements are due to CAB in five business days.

The CAB has five business days to review case and decide to grant hearing or make a decision based on the statements already submitted.

If the CAB grants hearing, it establishes procedures and schedule and notifies student and appropriate college officials. The CAB makes final decision within 15 business days after decision to hear the case. The decision of the CAB is final and the student has no further right to appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion.

If the CAB does not grant hearing and issues decision based on the record, the student has not further right right to appeal except in cases of suspension or expulsion. 

Appeal of Suspension or Expulsion to the KCTCS Board of Regents

Before an appeal can be submitted to the Board of Regents, the student must exhaust all available remedies by using all applicable appeal processes in the Code of Student Conduct.

Student submits appeal in writing to the KCTCS Board of Regents in care of KCTCS President within 30 calendar days from the completion of the final applicable appeal process.

The KCTCS President forwards appeal to Office of General Counsel for review.

The appeal shall be heard by a three-person panel (appointed by the KCTCS President) consisting of the KCTCS Vice President responsible for Student Services, the Chair of the Education Committee of the KCTCS Board of Regents, and one of the student members of the KCTCS Board of Regents.

The three-person panel conducts a review and makes a recommendation to the Board of Regents.

The Board of Regents reviews and votes upon recommendation.

The student is notified of final decision in writing by Office of General Counsel.

Behavioral/Nonacademic Violations Process

Complaint report submitted to the Chief Student Affairs Offices (CSAO).

CSAO investigates to determine if there is credible information of Code violation (preliminary review).

The CSAO may issue an informal response such as a verbal or written warning or require informal action.

The CSAO may choose to not persue the case and the CSAO maintains documentation and the student is notifed that matter is closed.

The CSAO may choose a formal response where the CSAO initiates conduct process. The student may choose to either comply with the decided measures or the student may file a written appeal to CAB within 30 days.

Upon preliminary review, KCTCS reserves the right to enact any interim measure necessary. Such measures may include, but are not limited to:

Referral to counseling services and other resources

  • Rescheduling of exams or assignments (in conjunction with appropriate faculty)
  • No-contact letter
  • Limited access to college facilities or organizations pending resolution of the report
  • Temporary work reassignment
  • Administrative leave during the investigation and resolution
  • Report of the matter to local law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which the college is located
  • KCTCS further reserves the right to apply any other remedy that can be tailored to the involved individuals to achieve the goals of the policy

Appeals in Cases of an Alleged Student Non-Academic Offense

(violation of computer usage policy, falsification of student records, disorderly behavior,etc.)

First, the Dean of Student Affairs discusses the discipline issue and the proposed sanction with the student. If not resolved, the case is referred to the college's President/CEO. If resolved by the college's President/CEO, the case ends. If not, the student files a written request for a hearing by the Appeals Board. All parties are invited to file written statements. The Appeals Board decides whether or not to hear the case. If the Appeals Board decides to hear the case, a hearing is scheduled and a decision is made and the case ends. If the Appeals Board decides not to hear the case, the case ends.(Source: the KCTCS Student Code of Conduct which outlines the complete guidelines,a specific timeline of student actions and responsibilities, and the college's role in the process. The Appeals Flowchart timelines are located on pages 26 - 30.)

Formal Grievance Procedures Involving Alleged Discrimination or Harassment

Process for Current Residents of Kentucky

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) serves as the coordinating agency for postsecondary education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The CPE is the agency that handles complaints about Hopkinsville Community College and has the ability to act on those complaints from students residing in Kentucky. Students should attempt to resolve the complaint through the established protocol at Hopkinsville Community College before contacting CPE.