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Student Complaint and Grievance Process

STATE AUTHORIZATION AND STUDENT COMPLAINTS ABOUT DELIVERY OF DISTANCE EDUCATION

STUDENT Academic Complaints & Appeals

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern (SEBTS) equip students to serve the Church and to fulfill the Great Commission. Essential to accomplishing its mission is the fair application of its policies and a campus culture that is transparent and promotes personal formation and positive interpersonal relationships. To this end, SEBTS provides a mechanism for students to raise concerns and grievances.

Online and extension center students are allowed to submit appeals and grievances for the same reasons and by the same channels as student on-campus.

Any student that wishes to appeal a grade or present an academic-related concern should speak directly with the relevant faculty member in order to seek clarification or help with the matter. If an issue cannot be resolved directly with the faculty member, the student may raise an informal complaint to an Associate Academic Dean. The Associate Dean may discuss the case with the faculty member to seek resolution. If the matter remains unresolved, the student may appeal to the Dean of the College or the Dean of Graduate Studies.

If an Associate Dean is the relevant faculty member, the student may raise the informal complaint with the Dean of the College or the Dean of Graduate Studies. If the Dean of the College is the relevant faculty member, the student may raise the informal complaint with the Dean of Graduate Studies. If the Dean of Graduate Studies is the relevant faculty member, the student may raise the informal complaint with the Dean of the College. If the matter remains unresolved in any of the above cases, the Dean of the College or the Dean of Graduate Studies may carry the issue to the Provost.

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If the issue is not directly related to a class or faculty member but has to do with general academic policy, students may seek counsel from the Registrar. If the issue is not resolved by speaking with the Registrar, students may request to speak with the Dean of the College or the Dean of Graduate Studies to raise an informal complaint. If the matter remains unresolved, the appropriate Dean may carry the issue to the Provost.

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In most cases, the above stated procedures should resolve the grievance by either clarifying the established policy in question or facilitate a resolution for the problem. However, if a resolution to the problem has not been reached via these procedures, any student(s) who so desires may file a formal written complaint with the Provost via the Dean of the College or the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Depending on the issue, the Provost may act to resolve the problem and inform the student(s) of the decision, or he may carry the issue to the President’s Cabinet to seek advice for the resolution and then communicate the decision to the student in an appropriate manner. Any decision made by the Provost, President, or Cabinet in these matters is final. The President’s Cabinet acts under the authority of the institution’s Board of Trustees.

Other Complaints & Appeals

When a student has a complaint about something that is not specifically academic in nature, he or she is encouraged to speak directly with the responsible administrator (e.g., a complaint about housing issues would be discussed with the Director of Housing). Administrators are expected to act according to the established policies and procedures of the school and with concern for the welfare of all students. Usually, a direct conversation (preferably face-to-face) with the responsible administrator will lead to resolution of the issue.

At any time, however, students may file a complaint with the Dean of Students Office. If necessary, students may also seek a resolution through the Dean of Students Office (upon appointment) after speaking directly with the responsible administrator (for roommate issues, students should seek resolution by speaking with the roommate, and if necessary, students may also speak with the House System & Discipleship Supervisors or the Director of College Life). The Dean of Students Office and Student Life Office will seek to help the student resolve his or her complaint according to the established policies and procedures of the institution, and with concern also for the welfare of all students.

If a resolution to the complaint has not been reached according to the above procedures, students may file a formal written complaint with the Dean of Students Office. The complaint form may be obtained from the Student Life Office by going to: https://www.cognitoforms.com/AroundSoutheasternSEBTSStudentLife/ComplaintAppealsFor. The Dean of Students may act to resolve the issue and inform the student(s) of the decision, or he may carry the issue to the President’s Cabinet for advice and/or resolution. The decision will then be communicated to the student(s) in a manner appropriate to the complaint. Any decision from the Cabinet is final.

Disciplinary Action &
Institutional Status Appeals

Any student who feels he or she has been unjustly issued a decision and letter of disciplinary action related to institutional status (e.g., probation, suspension, etc.) has a maximum of 15 business days from the date of ruling to appeal the decision to the institution. The appeal must be made in writing and must be submitted directly to the Dean of Students Office by the end of the 15th business day following the date of ruling.

If the Dean of Students issued the ruling, or if the student is not satisfied with the Dean of Student’s original ruling, the student may then appeal in writing to the President’s Office (per the 15-day policy above). (1) The President himself may then make a decision regarding the matter; (2) he may also seek the advice of the Cabinet; or (3) appoint a committee (refer to below) to hear the appeal of the student. In any of these three avenues of ruling, the President has full authority to act as he deems most appropriate. Any decision made by the President, Cabinet, or appointed committee at this level is final.

Student Disciplinary Committee

If the President chooses to appoint a Student Disciplinary Committee, it will be comprised of the Associate Vice President of Student Life (who will serve as Chairman), two faculty members, two staff members, and two students. The committee will listen to the testimony of the student and the administration. After considering the facts and the welfare of the student, the committee will recommend to the President whether to uphold previous disciplinary decisions or to propose a new course of action. The administration will consider the committee’s recommendation, plus any new facts that may have come to light, and the President and/or Dean of Students will notify the student and the committee in writing of the administration’s final decision.

Complaints Against the Institution
to Accreditors

For Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, students may also file a grievance against Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary regarding a possible violation of the Principles of Accreditation, the Core Requirements, and Policies or Procedures, as well as to address possible violations of the institution’s own policies and procedures. To file a grievance, students should obtain a copy of the latest edition of Complaint Procedures Against the Commission or its Accredited Institutions, http://www.saranc.org/docs/SACSCOC ComplaintPolicy.pdf. Complaints against SEBTS, regarding issues related to the Principles of Accreditation, filed in accordance with the SACSCOC procedure, are filed in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

For the Association of Theological Schools, the Board of Commissioners maintains policies and procedures for reviewing and responding to complaints against its schools. The complaint must be filed in writing to the Board of Commissioners, together with substantial documentation, as appropriate for the circumstance. The Board of Commissioners will determine if the complaint has standing with reference to any membership criterion or Standards of Accreditation of the Commission. If the complaint has standing, the Board of Commissioners will conduct an investigation. The Board of Commissioners will communicate its conclusions and actions to the institution and the party raising the complaint. The Board of Commissioners assumes no responsibility for or obligation to adjudicate individual grievances.

If students are unable to resolve a complaint through the institution's grievance procedures, they may review the Student Complaint Policy, complete the Student Complaint Form (PDF) located on the State Authorization webpage at https://www.northcarolina.edu/stateauthorization, and submit the complaint to studentcomplaint@northcarolina.edu or to the following mailing address: North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints c/o Student Complaints University of North Carolina System Office 910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688.

They are as follows:

The Association of Theological Schools
10 Summit Park Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1103 (graduate program only)

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
1866 Southern Lane Decatur, GA 30033-4097

SARA – NC

SEBTS is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement- North Carolina (SARA-NC) which is the portal for North Carolina. Students may also file a complaint through SARA-NC. Students should follow the SARA-NC Complaint Process and use the SARA-NC Complaint Form (PDF).

SARA-NC Contact Information:
SARA North Carolina
North Caroline State Education Assistance Authority
P.O. Box 14103
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Telephone: (855) SARA-1-NC (727-2162)
Telephone: (919) 549-8614, ext. 4667
Website: www.saranc.org
Email: information@saranc.org

If a student wishes to contact the state portal entities for his or her home state, contact information for state portal directors in each state can be found on the NC-SARA website. State by state contact information for agencies responsible for receiving student consumer complaints can be found online.