May 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Concerns



Student Concerns

General Concerns/Complaints

East Central College encourages students to report concerns and complaints so that the college may review, respond, and resolve these issues in an open professional manner. Students may view the entire General Student Complaint Policy on the college website. Students who wish to discuss a concern relating to their education at East Central College should contact the appropriate supervisor or vice president or submit an online Student Concern Report located on the college website.

https://www.eastcentral.edu/current/ecc-cares/

Academic Suspension Appeal

Students who do not meet the minimum standards of academic progress are placed on academic suspension for one semester and are notified by the Vice President of Student Development with instructions on how to appeal. Documentation of extenuating circumstances may be required.

Administrative Withdrawal Appeal

Any student who feels that the administrative withdrawal was executed unfairly or inaccurately can appeal the withdrawal within 10 calendar days of notification. Student must submit a written statement of the appeal to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Student Americans with Disabilities Act Grievance Process (Board Policy 3.29)

East Central College will provide for expeditious and reasonable resolution of student grievances related to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or other disability-related statutory rights. A grievance must be filed during the semester in which accommodations are requested.

Procedures (Revised 12-6-2021)

3.29.1 If a student disagrees with the College’s assessment of their need for ADA accommodations, the following procedures should be followed to appeal the decision:

  1. Informal Appeal
    The student requests a conference with the Access staff and/or faculty/staff involved in the accommodation request. When deemed appropriate by the Access staff, the division chair will also be included. If the faculty/staff have been asked to provide the accommodations by the Access staff, the faculty/staff will continue to provide the accommodations during the appeal process. If the issue is not resolved following this conference, the student will request a conference with the appropriate administrator, as well as the parties listed above. Within ten (10) working days, the appropriate administrator will convene a conference of the parties from above and may consult with the Chief Student Affairs Officer.

If the issue is not resolved the student may initiate a formal grievance.

  1. Formal Appeal
    The student appeals by filing a Formal ADA Grievance Form with the Chief Student Affairs Officer within ten (10) working days of receipt of the informal grievance decision. The Chief Student Affairs Officer will appoint and convene an ADA Hearing Committee, which is a five-member committee composed of faculty and staff chaired by the Chief Student Affairs Officer, within ten (10) working days of receipt of the formal appeal. The hearing will be audio recorded.The ADA Hearing Committee will review all documentation and meet with all parties involved. The Chief Student Affairs Officer will notify all concerned parties of the committee’s decision in writing within ten (10) working days.

The final level of appeal requires the student to submit an appeal in writing to the College President within ten (10) working days of the committee’s decision, including copies of the Informal and Formal Grievance proceedings. The president will render a decision, which is final.

Student Discipline (Board Policy 3.21)

All students are expected to meet the expectations of College administrators and faculty and the norms of a civil society and to avoid prohibited conduct (see Policy 3.20 Student Conduct). If the need for student discipline arises, students can expect due process as defined by the following procedures.

Procedures: (Revised 12-6-2021)

3.21.1 Definitions (Revised 6-16-2014)

The following definitions apply to this Policy:

  1. Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) - The administrator responsible for student services such as counseling and advising.
  2. Chief Academic Officer (CAO) -The administrator responsible for the oversight and direction of academic programs and faculty.
  3. Hearing Committee - A five-member committee called upon for hearings whose membership includes two (2) faculty, two (2) administrative/professional staff, and one (1) support staff member. The CSAO and the CAO are not voting members of the hearing committee, but they are nevertheless involved in the hearing. The CSAO will preside over and the CAO will present the charges at all hearings where the misconduct does not involve an academic issue. If the misconduct involves an academic issue, their roles will be reversed.
  4. Sanctions - Any action taken during the institutional discipline process, not including those actions an instructor may take within the classroom in cases of academic dishonesty such as assigning a lowered or failing grade for the assignment or class.

3.21.2 In most cases, disciplinary actions are meant to be remedial rather than punitive. Ideally, disciplinary proceedings will be conducted informally between the student(s) and the CSAO. However, when this means of resolution is not possible, a student has the right to formal processes of discipline and appeal.

3.21.3 Possible Sanctions (Revised 8-2012, 6-16-2014, 12-6-2021)

  1. Warning: A verbal admonition by a College official regarding a violation of the Student Conduct Code.
  2. Fines, community service, rehabilitation, or other restitution: A monetary fee, assigned task, or other means of reparation.
  3. Disciplinary Probation: A status resulting from a finding of misconduct. The student remains enrolled but under stated conditions.
  4. Summary Suspension: An involuntary and immediate separation of the student from the institution when, in the judgment of the CAO, CSAO, and/or President, the student presents the potential for behavior dangerous or destructive to themself, others, or College property. Such suspension will be for a limited time until further disciplinary determination is made.
  5. Disciplinary Suspension: An involuntary separation of the student from the institution for a specified period of time due to misconduct. The student may be re-admitted following a specified period of time.
  6. Expulsion: Permanent loss of student status due to misconduct. Other stated conditions may be applied.

3.21.4 Formal Student Disciplinary Process (Revised 12-23-2014)

Students subject to sanctions will be accorded the opportunity for a hearing before a hearing committee. For a hearing to be held, the student is required to submit a written request for a hearing (electronic submission is acceptable) to the CSAO or designee within five (5) working days. The following guidelines will be applicable:

  1. Students will be informed in writing of the time, date, and location of the hearing by personal delivery, certified mail, or via electronic communication at least seven (7) working days in advance of the hearing.
  2. The entire case file will be available for inspection by the student in the office of the CSAO during normal business hours. The file, which should be available at least two (2) working days before the hearing, need not include the personal and confidential notes of any College official or participant in the hearing process.
  3. The hearing will be conversational and non-adversarial. Formal rules of evidence will not apply. The CSAO or designee shall exercise active control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve the orderly completion of the hearing. Any person who disrupts the hearing may be excluded.
  4. The student may choose to be assisted by a member of the faculty or staff of the institution. Furthermore, the student may be accompanied by legal counsel, although the role of legal counsel will be limited to providing legal advice to the student, and such legal counsel may not participate in any other way.
  5. Those assisting the student, except for legal counsel, will be given reasonable time to ask relevant questions of any individual appearing at the hearing, as well as to present relevant evidence. In some circumstances, including those involving sexual assault or other sensitive allegations, the CSAO or designee may determine that direct questioning of a witness by the student or the individual assisting the student is not appropriate. In those cases, the student or their representative will submit the questions to the CSAO or designee, who will then ask the questions.
  6. Whenever possible, the student will be expected to respond to questions asked by the CSAO or designee.
  7. If the student requests a hearing and fails to appear after proper notice, the hearing committee may either proceed with the hearing in the student’s absence or may make a decision without holding a hearing.
  8. The hearing will be recorded. The recording(s) shall be kept with the pertinent case file for a minimum of six (6) months.
  9. A written decision will be rendered by the hearing committee within five (5) working days after the completion of the hearing. The written decision, which should be mailed or personally delivered to the student, should contain a brief statement of reasons for any determination leading to sanctions. The student should also be advised as to when a petition for reinstatement would be considered, along with any conditions for reinstatement. The decision of the hearing committee will be final unless a timely appeal is made to the College President.

3.21.5 A student who wishes to appeal a disciplinary decision must do so within 30 calendar days of the notice of the written decision of the hearing committee by filing a written appeal with the College President. The written notice to the President should state the basis for the appeal.

  1. An appeal is limited to the following issues:
    1. Prejudice or other irregularities that improperly influence the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.
    2. Discovery of new or significant evidence that was not available at the time of the original hearing.
    3. A sanction that is extraordinarily disproportionate to the violation.
  2. The College President will meet with the student and render a decision within seven (7) days. The decision of the President will be final.
  3. In all non-grade appeals, the student may choose to withdraw from College or the class at any time during the disciplinary process.

 

Financial Aid Suspension/Appeal

Students who do not meet the minimum standards for academic progress will be placed on financial aid warning for one semester. During this warning period, students may continue to receive aid. Failure to meet the policy standards after the warning semester will result in financial aid suspension and loss of financial aid. In certain situations, students may appeal their suspension by contacting the Director of Financial Aid. Documentation of extenuating circumstances may be required.

Grade Appeal Process (Board Policy 3.11)

Students at East Central College have the right to appeal a final course grade. The right to appeal is limited to grades given for the semester most recently completed.

Procedures: (Revised 12-6-2021)

3.11.1 Students must make an appeal within eight (8) calendar weeks of the official end date of the semester for which the grade is reported. Students must submit in writing to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) a statement detailing the course, the faculty member, the grade received, and the reason the appeal is sought.

3.11.2 The CAO will review the appeal and seek a resolution. Should no resolution be reached, the student will be notified, and a formal hearing conducted.

3.11.3 A hearing committee will be appointed by the Chief Academic Officer, and a hearing will be conducted for the purpose of allowing all parties to state their positions. The committee will render a decision in writing to the student and faculty member within five (5) working days.

3.11.4 The student may appeal the decision of the committee to the President in writing within ten (10) working days of the committee’s decision. The President will conduct a review and render a decision within thirty (30) working days. The decision of the President is final.

 

Refund Policy Appeal (Board Policy 4.8.6)

In the event of extenuating circumstances and with proper written documentation, a partial or total refund for tuition and/or fees may be granted. Students may request an appeal through the office of the Chief Student Affairs Officer if one of the following occurs:  death of an immediate family member, extended illness of student/immediate family member, military obligation, or institutional error. A confidential committee consisting of college faculty and staff will review refund appeals on a case-by-case basis. The Refund Policy is found on the College’s website.

Residency Status Appeal (Board Policy 3.5)

Student residency status will be determined at the time of admission to East Central College. Student residency guidelines followed by the College will be those adopted by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. In the case of international students or resident aliens, residency will be determined based upon both federal determination of status and state guidelines. A copy of such guidelines may be found in the Office of the Registrar.

Procedures: (Revised 8-17-2007; 12-6-2021)

3.5.1 If the student disagrees with the College’s assessment of their resident/non-resident status, the following procedure should be followed to appeal the decision:

  1. Informal Appeal
    Meet informally with the Registrar to discuss the residency status and reasons why the student should be considered an in-district student. The Registrar will render an informal decision based upon the information provided in this discussion.
  2. Formal Appeal
    If the informal decision determines that the student is not an in-district resident and if the student wishes to appeal this decision further, the next level of appeal may be implemented. The student must submit the appeal in writing to the Chief Student Affairs Officer, accompanied by written documentation of those criteria which the student meets for in-district residency as set forth in the Student Residency Requirements published by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development. The Chief Student Affairs Officer will review and verify the information provided and render a decision within three (3) working days of receipt of the written appeal.The final level of appeal requires the student to submit an appeal in writing to the President of the College. The Chief Student Affairs Officer will forward to the President the documentation previously provided by the student at the first level of the formal appeal. The President will deliver a decision within five (5) working days of receipt of the written appeal.

 

Student Protection Against Discrimination and Harassment (Board Policy 3.30)

East Central College is committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from illegal discrimination or harassment in admission or access to its programs, activities, and facilities. This includes conduct on property owned or operated by the College, at College-sanctioned functions, and certain off-campus events. Discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law is strictly prohibited in accordance with law. The College also prohibits:

  1. Retaliatory actions based on making complaints of prohibited discrimination or harassment or based on participation in an investigation, formal proceeding, or informal resolution concerning prohibited discrimination or harassment.
  2. Aiding, abetting, inciting, compelling, or coercing discrimination or harassment.
  3. Discrimination or harassment against any person because of such person’s association with a person protected from discrimination or harassment due to one (1) or more of the above-stated characteristics.

 

General Rule

Except as otherwise set forth in Policy, all employees, students, and visitors must immediately report to the College for investigation any incident or behavior that could constitute illegal discrimination or harassment.

This Policy addresses illegal discrimination or harassment directed at students, which does not rise to the level of sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence, or stalking, as those terms are defined in Policy 3.31 Student Title IX Sexual Harassment. Complaints regarding sexual harassment, as defined by Policy 3.31 Student Title IX Sexual Harassment, are governed by that policy. Other complaints regarding sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking that do not fall within the scope of Policy 3.31 Student Title IX Sexual Harassment may be governed by other policies, including this Policy.

Policy 3.29 Student ADA Grievance Process governs grievances by students who believe they have been denied requested accommodations or discriminated against on the basis of a disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Sec 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, or other related disability statutes. Students may file such a grievance under this Policy 3.30, Policy 3.31, or Policy 3.29; the College’s Compliance Officer will determine which Policy governs resolution of the specific complaint.

The College also prohibits illegal discrimination and harassment against employees, and specific information about the College’s Policy and response to allegations of illegal discrimination and harassment against employees is found in Policy 5.4.

Procedures (Revised 12-6-2021):

 

3.30.1 The following definitions apply to this Policy:

Other Policies may contain different definitions. The below definitions apply only to this Policy.

Discrimination - Conferring, refusing, or denying benefits or providing differential treatment to a person or class of persons in violation of law based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

 

Harassment - A form of discrimination, as defined above, that occurs when the school or work environment becomes permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive enough that it unreasonably alters the employment or educational environment. Behaviors that could constitute illegal harassment include, but are not limited to, the following acts if based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law: verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression; stalking; graffiti; display of written material or pictures; name-calling; slurs; jokes; gestures; stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; theft; or damage to property.

 

Sexual Harassment - A form of discrimination, as defined above, on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault, includes a variety of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature ranging from unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual exploitation, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as sexual assault, that is sufficiently severe to the point it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s programs. Sexual assault is a severe form of sexual harassment and one instance may be sufficient to create a hostile environment.

 

Complaint - A verbal or written report of discrimination or harassment made to the Compliance Officer.

 

3.30.2 Compliance Officers

 

The Board of Trustees designates the following individuals to act as the College’s Compliance Officers:

 

Title IX Administrator
Section 504 Administrator


Vice President of Student Development
East Central College
1964 Prairie Dell Road
Union, MO 63084
Phone: 636-584-6565

 

Title IX Deputy Administrator
ADA Administrator


Director of Human Resources
East Central College
1964 Prairie Dell Road
Union, MO 63084
Phone: 636-584-6712

 

The Compliance Officer will:

  1. Coordinate compliance with this Policy and the law.
  2. Receive all complaints regarding discrimination and harassment at East Central College.
  3. Serve as the College’s contact person for compliance with discrimination laws.
  4. Investigate or assign persons to investigate complaints, monitor the status of complaints, and recommend consequences.
  5. Seek legal advice, when necessary, to enforce this Policy.
  6. Report to the College President and the Board of Trustees aggregate information regarding the number and frequency of complaints and compliance with this Policy.
  7. Make recommendations regarding changing this Policy or the implementation of this Policy.
  8. Coordinate and institute training programs for College staff and supervisors as necessary to meet the goals of this Policy, including instruction in recognizing behavior that constitutes discrimination and harassment.
  9. Perform other duties as assigned by the College President.

 

3.30.3 Reporting a Complaint

Students who believe that they have been victims of illegal discrimination or harassment may file a formal (verbal, written, or online) complaint with the Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) and it will be promptly investigated. There is no time limit on the filing of complaints.

As noted above, all employees, students, and visitors must immediately report to the College for investigation any incident or behavior that could constitute illegal discrimination or harassment. Such reports should be made to the CSAO or the Director of Human Resources, as the College’s Compliance Officers. All College employees will instruct persons seeking to make a complaint under this Policy to communicate directly with the College Compliance Officers. Even if the potential victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation does not file a complaint, College employees are required to report to the Compliance Officers any observations, rumors, or other information regarding actions prohibited by this Policy.

After receiving a complaint, the Compliance Officer to whom the complaint is made will determine the appropriate College Policy for processing the complaint. Once the determination is reached, the Compliance Officer will notify the student making the complaint of which College Policy will govern the disposition of the student’s complaint.

3.30.4 Interim Measures

When a report is made or the College otherwise learns of potential discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, the College will, if appropriate, take immediate action to protect the alleged victim, including implementing interim measures (also referred to as supportive measures). For example, the College may alter a student’s class schedule, provide additional support for a student (such as counseling or academic support), suspend an employee pending an investigation, or, if applicable, alter transportation or working situations. The College will take immediate steps to prevent retaliation against the alleged victim, any person associated with the alleged victim, or any witnesses or participants in the investigation. These steps may include, but are not limited to, notifying students, employees, and others that they are protected from retaliation, ensuring that they know how to report future complaints, and initiating follow-up contact with the complainant to determine if any additional acts of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation have occurred. The College will provide these types of interim measures if requested by the victim and if such measures are reasonably available and appropriate in the circumstances. Individuals are encouraged to speak with the College’s Compliance Officers about the availability of such measures. In the case of a confidential reporting (discussed below in Procedure 3.30.6), the Reporting Party should speak with the College counselor to whom they made the report about any requested interim measures.

3.30.5 Procedure for Investigation and Resolution of Complaints

In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes discrimination or harassment, the College will consider the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behavior, the relationships between the parties involved, past incidents, the context in which the alleged incidents occurred, and all other relevant information. Whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this Policy requires a determination based on all facts and surrounding circumstances. If, after investigation, College officials determine that it is more likely than not that discrimination, harassment, or other prohibited behavior has occurred, the College will take immediate corrective action.

The following procedures will be used as a guideline for investigating complaints:

  1. Interview the person making the complaint regarding the nature and specifics of the incident(s),
  2. Interview the person accused, and
  3. Interview other possible witnesses, if appropriate.
  1. Complaints Against Employees of the College If a complaint under this Policy is against an employee of the College, the complaint will be investigated by the Director of Human Resources or designee and will be handled according to the procedures found in Policy 5.4. Employees who violate this Policy will be disciplined, up to and including employment termination.
  2. Complaints Against College Students If a complaint under this Policy is against another student, the complaint will be investigated by the CSAO or designee. Both the person making the complaint and the person accused will have equal opportunity to provide relevant information, including the identities of any witnesses they believe should be contacted as part of the investigation. After reviewing all the relevant information, the CSAO or designee will render a determination as to whether the Policy was violated and what additional actions may be necessary, including disciplinary action against the person accused and/or making available to the victim appropriate College resources. Students who violate this Policy will be disciplined, which may include suspension or expulsion. Other possible sanctions are found in the Student Discipline Code. The CSAO will notify both the complainant and the person accused of his or her determination, but, unless otherwise authorized by law, will only notify the complainant of any sanctions imposed against the accused student, to the extent such sanctions impact the complainant, such as a determination that the accused may not come within a certain distance of the complainant.

B.1. Appeals - If either the person making the complaint or the person accused disagrees with the CSAO or designee’s determination, either student may request that the complaint be handled according to the procedures found in Policy 3.21 Student Discipline.

 

3.30.6 Confidentiality, Records and Counseling

To the extent practicable, the College will endeavor to keep confidential the identity of the person filing a complaint, witnesses, or other parties interviewed, and any complaint or other document that is generated or received pertaining to complaints. Information may be disclosed, if necessary, to further the investigation, or resolution of a complaint, or if necessary, to carry out disciplinary measures. The College will disclose information to the College’s attorney, law enforcement, and others, when necessary, to enforce this Policy or when required by law.

In implementing this Policy, the College will comply with state and federal laws regarding the confidentiality of student and employee records.

Information regarding any resulting employee or student disciplinary action will be maintained and released in the same manner as any other disciplinary record.

Any student who believes they have been a victim of illegal discrimination or harassment has the option of speaking confidentially to a College counselor. Counseling services are available at no cost to the student and referrals to community resources are available. College counselors can also help the alleged victim identify other available College resources.

All other employees are mandated to report the information regarding illegal discrimination or harassment to the Compliance Officer.

 

Transfer Credit Appeal

After an evaluation of transfer credit has been completed and the results communicated to the student, the student may appeal the decision to the Registrar and the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Missouri Department of Higher Education

The Missouri Department of Higher Education serves as a clearinghouse for postsecondary student complaints. The MDHE complaint policy may be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov/documents/POLICYONCOMPLAINTRESOLUTION-reviseddraft.pdf.  This webpage contains information about the complaint process and includes instructions for filing 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.

Higher Learning Commission

Individuals interested in bringing an appropriate complaint to the attention of the Commission should take some time to compile a complete submission as outlined below. You may submit a complaint online at the following website: https://www.hlcommission.org/Students-Communities/complaints.html

  1. Write a cover letter directed to the Commission containing a brief narrative of the facts of the complaint. In most cases, such a narrative need be no longer than a few pages.
  2. Indicate in your complaint why you believe the issues raised in your complaint are accrediting issues. If possible, please review the Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation on the Commission’s Web site prior to writing this section. You should also indicate how you believe the Commission can assist you with this matter. Remember that the Commission cannot assist you in understanding your tuition bill, arranging for a refund of tuition, obtaining a higher grade for a course, seeking reinstatement to an academic program, etc.
  3. Attach documentation to support your narrative wherever possible. (For example, if you make reference in your complaint to an institutional policy, include a copy of the policy with your complaint.) Helpful documentation might include relevant portions of the catalog, letters or e-mail exchanged between you and the institution, learning agreements, etc.
  4. A few reminders-
    • Please do not use abbreviations or nicknames (e.g., NMS or USC or U of N).
    • Sign and date the cover letter.
    • Include contact information for future correspondence, with a street address.
    • If you are writing on behalf of someone else (son/daughter or client), be sure to provide that person’s consent in writing to allow you to communicate with the Commission on his/her behalf. 
  5. Submit the complaint using the Higher Learning Commission’s Complaint website https://www.hlcommission.org/Students-Communities/complaints.html

 

The Commission’s complaint policy precludes it from considering matters more than two years old from the date the complaint was received by the Higher Learning Commission.

The Commission will acknowledge your complaint within thirty days of receiving it and let you know whether your complaint is complete and whether it raises issues that are related to accrediting requirements or whether it is an individual dispute outside the jurisdiction of the Commission’s complaint policy. https://www.hlcommission.org/Policies/complaints-and-other-information-regarding-institutions.html

Email questions to complaints@hlcommission.org.