Student Concerns and Complaints/Grievances

Contents

The Blazer Creed

Valdosta State University is a learning environment based on trust and mutual respect in which open dialogue, vigorous debate, and the free exchange of ideas are welcome. The University is equally dedicated to the core values of community, including a commitment to practice civility, integrity, and citizenship. As members of this community, and proud Blazers, we will strive to uphold these core values for the advancement of the University.

The Blazer Creed articulates the goals of the VSU community and affirms that members of this community will strive to display the attributes of Civility, Integrity, and Citizenship in their dealings with each other. When students experience issues in their experience at Valdosta State University that cause them concern, they should work to resolve these issues in this spirit. As an educational community, faculty, staff, and students should handle all issues with care and concern, endeavoring to communicate clearly, effectively, and respectfully.

In general, student issues fall into two broad categories:

  • Student Concerns are informal and relate to minor issues that can be solved between individuals such as student and faculty member or student and staff member in an office. These student concerns are usually communicated directly to the individual either verbally or through informal written communication (i.e., email). Examples may include concerns about course scheduling, timeliness of faculty feedback, questions about policies, etc. Academic programs or university offices do not generally keep formal records of these concerns, although they should have a process in place for responding to them. This process should involve a timely response, preferably no more than 1-3 business days during a normal working week. For students, the most effective and expeditious route to approach a concern is to first speak directly with the individual involved, whether it is a faculty member, an advisor, a staff member in an office, etc. If students do not feel comfortable meeting with the involved faculty/staff member to discuss the concern, they may prefer to contact the individual’s supervisor (a department head, director, etc.). If students have difficulty identifying the appropriate supervisor, they may wish to consult department/office website or a trusted faculty or staff member for that information. All VSU departments and offices have a “Contact Us” button on their website to which questions may be directed.
  • Student Complaints/Grievances are more formal processes and are usually communicated in writing to the academic program/office. These complaints regard issues that have a significant negative impact on students' learning experiences. Examples may include a grade appeal or appeal of an admissions decision. Complaints usually require a formal process within the program or office to bring about a resolution, and records regarding their resolution are generally kept on file for a period of time based on the program's and/or university's policy. Some of these complaints have a form provided while others do not have a specific form. In those cases, students should submit a written statement first to the individual directly involved, whether a faculty or staff member. If the issue is not resolved, the complaint may then be directed, in writing, to the department head or director appropriate to the area of concern. If not resolved, the complaint should continue to progress through the appropriate channels to the Vice President in the area involved.  

Process and Procedures

VSU strives to provide student complaint policies and procedures that are reasonable, fairly administered, and well publicized and are in accordance with SACSCOC Principle 12.4. A student complaint at VSU involves a problem or issue that may be academic or non-academic and must be submitted in writing. The below table provides all VSU degree-seeking students, regardless of instruction modality or location, with contact information for common areas of concern.

Area of Student Concern, Complaint, Grievance, or Appeal

Office Name

Process and Reference

Academic Advising
Undergraduate

Office of University Advising & Student Transitions
(Converse Hall Suite 3200)


For concerns about undergraduate advising issues, complete the online form or email uast@valdosta.edu.

Academic Advising
Graduate

Department of your Degree Program

For concerns about graduate advising issues, contact the department of your degree program.

Academic Grievance

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
(West Hall Suite 1004)

Final Grade Appeal Process and Form

Suspension Appeal Form

Application for Undergraduate Readmission

Other academic grievances may be submitted in writing to academicaffairs@valdosta.edu.

Academic Misconduct

Office of the Dean of Students
(Student Union Suite 3106)

Complaints against a student for academic misconduct violations of the Student Code of Conduct should be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct using the online Academic Integrity Report.

Academic Record and Student Information

Office of the Registrar
(University Center, Entrance 5)

Complaints regarding academic records that are protected by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) must be submitted in writing to registrar@valdosta.edu.

Admissions - Graduate

Graduate School
(Converse Hall Suite 3100)

Procedures and forms for appealing an admission denial or dismissal from a program are available on the Graduate School’s Appeals webpage.

Admissions - Undergraduate

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
(1413 N. Patterson St.)

Appeals for undergraduate admission decisions may be submitted to admissions@valdosta.edu.

Students who have previously attended VSU as an undergraduate and would like to return submit an Application for Undergraduate Readmission.

BlazeView and Online Learning

Office of eLearning
(Odum Library, 2nd floor, Suite 2621)

Technical concerns about BlazeView, SmartPath Core, GoView, or online learning can be sent by email to blazeview@valdosta.edu.

Technical concerns about eCore can be sent by email to ecore@ecampus.usg.edu.

Campus Police

Department of Public Safety and Police Department
(1410 N. Oak St.)

Complaints regarding campus police may be filed using the Official Commendation or Complaint Form.

Anonymous tips can be submitted through the Silent Watch Form.

Discrimination, Harassment, Title IX, or Sexual Misconduct

Office of the Dean of Students
(Student Union Suite 3106)

Issues of sexual harassment, violence, misconduct, or discrimination should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at titleix@valdosta.edu or by submitting an online report.

Financial Aid Determination and Eligibility

Office of Financial Aid
(University Center, Entrance 6, Room 1400)

Appeals regarding financial aid eligibility, family contribution, dependency, or satisfactory academic progress must be submitted in writing following the policies and procedures found on their Appeals Information page.

Internships and Co-Op Programs

Career Opportunities
(Student Union Room 2218)

Complaints regarding Cooperative Education or Career Opportunities may be submitted in writing to careerops@valdosta.edu.

Information Technology

Solutions Center
(Odum Library, 2nd floor)

Issues regarding information technology can be sent through the Solutions Center Technology Services Portal.

Non-Academic Misconduct

Office of the Dean of Students
(Student Union Suite 3106)

Complaints against a student for non-academic misconduct violations of the Student Code of Conduct should be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct using the online Student Conduct Incident Report.

International Education

Center for International Programs
(204 Georgia Ave.)

Complaints regarding International Student Services may be submitted in writing to iss@valdosta.edu.

Parking and Transportation

Parking and Transportation
(1308 Sustella Ave.)

Appeals regarding a citation may be filed through the Parking Portal.

Residence Life

Office of Housing and Residence Life
(Hopper Hall)

Work orders for routine maintenance should be submitted through the WebTMA Portal.

Complaints regarding residence life facilities may be submitted in writing to facilities@valdosta.edu.

Complaints regarding student conduct should be directed to the Hall Director or Area Coordinator, via the contact information provided on the residence life website.

Release from a housing contract should follow the Appeal Procedures.

Student Accounts

Office of Student Financial Services and Bursary
(University Center, Entrance 6)

Complaints regarding student accounts may be submitted in writing to bursar@valdosta.edu.

Student Disability Accommodations and ADA Compliance

Access Office
(Farbar Hall)

To review a decision made by the Access Office completing the online Request a Review or File a Grievance Form.

Student Organizations

Office of the Dean of Students
(Student Union Suite 3106)

Complaints against a student organization for violation of the Student Code of Conduct should be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct using the online Student Conduct Incident Report.

 

Records Retention Schedules for Documents Related to Concerns and Complaints/Grievances

Examinations, Tests, Term Papers, Homework Records, and Grade Books
Number:  0472-06-012

Description:  This series documents student subject mastery in institution courses. Records may include but are not limited to: examinations and answers; quizzes and answers; homework assignments; course papers; term papers; essay assignments; and grade books. This series does not include graduate student qualifying or comprehensive examinations.
Retention:  Uncontested grade results: 1 term after completion; Contested grade results: Until resolved, whichever is longer.

Student Conduct Records/Disciplinary Actions Records
Number:  0472-06-038

Description:  This series documents academic dishonesty and conduct violations among students. Records may include but are not limited to: incidents reports; final reports; evidence; notifications of allegation; Timely Notice Forms; Conduct-Pending, Conduct-Restitution, and Suspension Lists; Quarterly Security Reports; disciplinary reports; informal discussion notes; formal hearing notes; final summary statements; decision statements; and appeals documentation.
Retention:  5 years after graduation or date of last attendance but at least 1 year after final notice to Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Student Grievance Records
Number:  0472-06-040
 

Description:  This series documents grievance brought forward by students against the institutions which do not result in litigation. Grievances may pertain to academic issues; housing; affirmative action and equal opportunity; student conduct; and other issues. Records include: notices of grievance; informal discussion notes; grievance responses; formal hearing notes (including audio tapes); final summary statements; settlement agreements; and appeals documentation.
Retention:  5 years after graduation or date of last attendance.