Student Grievance Resources

In registering concerns, Missouri State University-West Plains students must follow the policies and procedures that have been established within the unit about which the concern is being filed. Generally, these policies and procedures require that you begin by discussing the matter with the staff, faculty or department in which the issue originated.

Definitions

AppealThe process by which a student may request an exception to a University policy or challenge a decision made by the University. Most University policies have established appeal procedures.

Complaint or grievanceComplaints and grievances are used interchangeably in the policy library, but in either case they are an expression of dissatisfaction with a University policy, the application of a policy in a particular situation, a service (or lack thereof) provided by the University, and/or the actions of a member of the University community (faculty, staff, or student). Complaints can be informal or formal.

Informal complaints are generally those handled through discussion with a representative of the unit or department on campus in which the issue originated.

Formal complaints are those submitted in writing (electronic or hard copy) to address issues that could not be resolved informally. Formal complaints should be submitted to the appropriate administrator of the office, department, or unit involved and should include a description of the issue or concern and the steps taken to resolve it through the informal process as well as the name and contact information (email and/or phone and/or address) of the complainant.

In some cases, both an appeal and a complaint may be filed about the same issue (e.g., an appeal for a refund as an exception to policy based on dissatisfaction with the actions of a member of the faculty or staff).

Policy Statement

Missouri State University-West Plains seeks to provide quality programs and services for the benefit of the public while ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and consistent application of all institutional policies as found in the Policy Library.

Consistent with these objectives, the University also provides avenues for individuals who wish to file an appeal or complaint. The Policy Library provides links to a number of specific policies that provide students and others with opportunities to appeal decisions of the institution and/or file complaints. These policies include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedures
  • Ethics Hotline-Whistleblower Policy
  • Grade Appeals and Academic Grievances
  • HIPAA Complaint Process
  • Title IX Policy on Sexual Assault, Stalking and Other Forms of Sexual Misconduct

Individuals who have a concern are encouraged to review the policy library for relevant policies and associated procedures. Complaints regarding discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct shall always follow the procedures set out in those policies, and those policies shall control.

For complaints not covered by specific policies or procedures, individuals are encouraged to address their concerns through an informal complaint process by following the appropriate chain of command in accordance with the University’s organizational structure. For example, complaints about an office or department (or an individual in a department or office) should be addressed to the coordinator or department head of that unit. Individuals who are not satisfied that a complaint has been adequately addressed may pursue it to the next level within the administrative structure up through the chancellor level.

Students who are unable to resolve their concern through this process may file a formal (written) complaint using the Student Complaint Form. A record of such complaints will be maintained at the dean/chancellor level (designated officers). Designated officers will maintain a Student Complaint Log of formal complaints, which will include the following:

  • Date complaint was first formally submitted to a designated officer
  • Nature of the complaint (e.g., dispute about a grade, allegation of sexual harassment, etc.)
  • Steps taken by the institution to resolve the complaint
  • Final decision of the institution regarding the complaint, including referral to outside agencies
  • Any other external action initiated by the student to resolve the complaint, if known by the institution (e.g., lawsuit, EEOC investigation, etc.)

Individuals who are unsure of relevant policies or procedures for addressing a specific issue or who need guidance regarding the organizational structure of the institution are encouraged to contact the Dean of Student Services, and/or their academic advisor.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) serves as a clearinghouse for postsecondary student complaints. The MDHE complaint policy contains information about the complaint process and includes instructions for how to file a formal complaint. Note that the policy provides that a student who wishes to file a complaint with the department must first exhaust all formal and informal avenues provided by the institution to resolve disputes.

Approved by Missouri State University-West Plains Administrative Council – June 20, 2017

Line of authority

Responsible administrator and office: Office of the President

Contact person in that office: Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President for Governmental Relations

Effective date

Presidential approval: August 17, 2015

Policy statement

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) serves as a clearinghouse for postsecondary student complaints. The MDHE complaint policy contains information about the complaint process and includes instructions for how to file a formal complaint. Note that the policy provides that a student who wishes to file a complaint with the department must first exhaust all formal and informal avenues provided by the institution to resolve disputes.

Discrimination and Harassment

If members of the University community (e.g. faculty, staff or students) believe that their rights have been violated and wish further information, advice or assistance in filing a complaint, they should contact:

Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance

Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Toll free: (417) 836-4252

On the West Plains Campus:

University/Community Programs

Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Liasion
Missouri State University
110 East Saint Louis Street
West Plains, Missouri 65775

Discrimination and Harassment Resources

Record of Student Complaints Policy

To comply with federal regulations and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools' policy, Missouri State University-West Plains has established a Record of Student Complaints policy. Complaints may be filed using the Student Complaint Form (PDF 36KB) - (You need a PDF reader similar to Adobe® Reader® to view and print this document). The University maintains records of the formal, written, signed student complaints addressed to and submitted to the offices of the Chief Executive Officer (Dr. Drew Bennett; 417-255-7900 or DrewBennett@MissouriState.edu), the Chief Academic Officer (Dr.  Dennis Lancaster; 417-255-7272 or DennisLancaster@MissouriState.edu) and the Chief Student Services Officer (Dr. Angela Totty; 417-255-7255 or AngelaTotty@MissouriState.edu). These confidential records are kept in the separate offices of these three officials. Information recorded on Student Complaint Logs includes the following:

  • The date the complaint was first formally submitted to an appropriate officer;
  • The nature of the complaint (e.g., dispute about a grade, allegation of sexual harassment, etc.);
  • The steps taken by the institution to resolve the complaint;
  • The institution’s final decision regarding the complaint, including referral to outside agencies;
  • Any other external actions initiated by the student to resolve the complaint, if known to the institution (e.g., lawsuit, EEOC investigation, etc.).

Information maintained in the Student Complaint Logs is completely subject to the University's Policy Regarding Personally Identifiable Student Records. When requested by authorized persons, internal or external, logs will normally be provided in redacted form. A sample Student Complaint Log appears below:

Student Complaint Log
Missouri State University-West Plains

Complaint
Number
Complaint
Date
Complaint
Topic
Action Taken by
University
Final
Decision
External
Actions
           
           
           
           

In addition, the Missouri Department of Higher Education serves as a clearinghouse for postsecondary student complaints. The MDHE complaint policy may be found at http://dhe.mo.gov/documents/POLICYONCOMPLAINTRESOLUTION-reviseddraft.pdf. This webpage contains information about the complaint process and includes instructions for how to file a formal complaint. Note that the policy provides that a student who wishes to file a complaint with the department must first exhaust all formal and informal avenues provided by the institution to resolve disputes.

Policy developed January 1998
Policy amended September 2011

Student Disability Accommodations

Students who have concerns about the manner in which faculty/staff have responded to accommodation requests should contact the disability service coordinator, Lybyer Enhanced Technology Center, T210, (417) 255-8062. University personnel will collaborate interactively with the student and faculty/staff in generating possible solutions.

Students who believe they have be discrimitated against and/or have a complaint about the University's resource offices should contact the office of institutional equity and compliance, PCOB Suite 111, (417) 836-4252 (voice) or (417) 836-3257 (TTY) or on the West Plains campus, affirmative action/equity opportunity liaison, (417) 255-7966.

Student Disability Accommodations Resouces

Grievance Assistance

Additional procedures are in place to continue to pursue a grievance, after exhaustin the University grievance procedures above.

For students in Missouri:

You may file a compaint with the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

For online students outside the state of Missouri:

You may appeal to Missouri's State Authorized Reciprocal Agreement (SARA) portal agency.

If you are unsure about where to submit your concern, please fill out the Grievance Assistance Form. You will be informed about how to proceed with your grievance. Your concern will be received within 24 to 48 hour and referred to the appropriate office for resolution.