2019–2020 Walden University Student Handbook (September 2019) 
    
    Nov 18, 2019  
2019–2020 Walden University Student Handbook (September 2019)

Student Appeals and Grievances


Return to: Student Conduct and Responsibilities  

Students who wish to appeal a decision related to Code of Conduct violations are advised to first pursue less formal channels for conflict resolution before filing a formal written appeal or grievance.

  1. Students with concerns involving academic decisions related to professional conduct or academic dismissal may pursue an academic appeal through the appeals process outlined in this Walden University Student Handbook.
  2. Students with concerns involving the university’s nondiscrimination, nonharassment, or educational access policies are encouraged to first report their concerns to their dean or executive director or their designees to allow for appropriate review and investigation of the concerns. If this process does not adequately resolve the issue, the student can then proceed with filing a formal written grievance under the grievance process outlined in this Walden University Student Handbook. Often these types of concerns can be resolved without pursuing the formal grievance process.
  3. Decisions of the dean or executive director or their designees related to academic integrity violations (other than academic dismissal), change of grade, program of study, or other decisions related specifically to the program, specialization, or concentration curriculum cannot be appealed.

Appeals Process

Students with concerns involving academic decisions related to professional conduct or academic dismissal may pursue an academic appeal to the chief academic officer through this appeals process.

To appeal, the student must submit an appeal to caoappeals@mail.waldenu.edu. The form requires a statement of the decision that constitutes the subject matter of the appeal, the grounds on which it is being challenged, and the reasons the student believes that the decision was improperly made. The submission must also include a description of the remedy sought and the informal efforts taken to date to resolve the matter. The appeal must include an allegation of any adverse effects on the student, known to her or him at the time of filing.

This appeal must specifically address the following:

  • Were the proper facts and criteria brought to bear on the decision?
  • Were improper or extraneous facts or criteria brought to bear that substantially affected the decision to the detriment of the student?
  • Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the student?
  • Given the proper facts, criteria, and procedures, was the decision one that a person in the position of the decision maker might reasonably have made?

This appeal may not be made on the basis of general dissatisfaction with the decision of the dean or executive director or their designees.

The appeal must be submitted to the chief academic officer of the university. An appeal and all related materials or documents must be submitted electronically within 30 calendar days of the last day of classes of the academic term in which the adverse decision occurred or should reasonably have been discovered. A delay in filing an appeal may, taking all circumstances into account, constitute grounds for its rejection.

The chief academic officer may remand the matter for further consideration to a lower administrative level (including the level at which the original appeal arose), to the coordinator for student academic integrity and conduct review, or to the university ombudsperson, unless the ombudsperson has been previously involved in addressing the issue that gave rise to the appeal. The chief academic officer may attempt to resolve the matter informally, provide a decision on the appeal, or refer the appeal, or any issue therein, to a three-person panel consisting of individuals not associated with the academic unit in which the original appeal was filed. This panel shall consider the matter and report to the chief academic officer as the latter directs.

Should the chief academic officer resolve the matter informally or decide the appeal, he or she shall notify the student (and the party against whose decision the appeal has been filed) in writing of the disposition made of the appeal. Should the chief academic officer refer the appeal, he or she shall inform the student (and the party against whose decision the appeal has been filed) in writing of any referral of the matter and shall specify the matters referred and the directions to the committee or person to whom the referral is made (including the time frame within which the committee or person is to report back to the chief academic officer).

Normally no more than 45 calendar days should elapse between the filing of the appeal and the disposition by the chief academic officer. If, because of absence of key persons from the university or other exigencies, the chief academic officer judges that prompt disposition is not possible, he or she shall inform the student (and the party against whose decision the appeal has been filed) of this fact in writing, and provide them with an estimate of when a disposition can be expected. The disposition of the appeal, as reported by the chief academic officer, shall be final and not subject to further appeal.

Grievance Process

A student alleging discrimination, harassment, or failure of educational access may contact his or her dean or executive director or their designees, for immediate reporting, counseling, and investigation of the concerns. The formal complaint must be submitted via e-mail to the dean or executive director or their designees. After attempting this method of resolution, a student may file a grievance according to the grievance procedure set forth in this section. There shall be no retaliation against anyone who files a grievance or otherwise reports discrimination or harassment. Filing of a grievance may, however, initiate reassignment of one or more of the involved parties for a reasonable period to allow for an appropriate investigation of the situation.

The right to confidentiality, both of the complainant and of the accused, will be respected to the extent possible insofar as it does not interfere with the institution’s legal obligation or ability to investigate allegations of misconduct brought to the university’s attention or to take corrective action when it is found that misconduct has occurred.

A formal grievance must be identified as such in writing and directed to the chief academic officer or Student Affairs via e-mail to studentaffairs@mail.waldenu.edu. The grievance normally should originate no more than 30 calendar days following a resolution decision by the dean or executive director or their designees concerning the complaint or conduct that gave rise to the grievance.

The chief academic officer initially reviews the case to determine appropriate action, which can include referring the matter to an appropriate university office for review. If the conflict is resolved at this stage, no further action is necessary. If the conflict cannot be resolved in this way, the chief academic officer appoints a hearing committee to review the allegations.

A written decision from the committee will be delivered in as timely a manner as possible while allowing for appropriate investigation and consideration, not to exceed 60 calendar days from the date the complaint is filed with the chief academic officer, unless the committee notifies the parties of the need for an extension in order to properly complete the process. The written records are confidential but available for on-site review by the person(s) directly involved.

The decision of the chief academic officer is, in all cases, final, and not subject to appeal.

Note to Arizona Residents

The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education requires all institutions to have a published grievance procedure that includes reference to a student’s right to file a complaint with the Arizona state board. In the event a complaint from an Arizona student cannot be resolved after exhausting the institution’s grievance procedure, the student may file a complaint with the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. The student must contact the state board for further details. Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education, 1400 W. Washington Street, Room 260, Phoenix, AZ 85007; 1-602-542-5709; https://ppse.az.gov/.

Note to Connecticut Residents

If the complaint is not resolved at the school level through its complaint procedure, students may file a complaint with the Connecticut Office of Higher Education, 450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 510, Hartford, CT 06103-41, 860-947-1800 or via http://www.ctohe.org/StudentComplaints.shtml.

Note to Georgia Residents

If the complaint is not resolved at the school level through its complaint procedure, students may file a complaint with the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC), 2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220, Tucker, GA 30084-3300. The NPEC telephone number is 770-414-3300.

The NPEC has provided an online form to be used by students for filing complaints; this can be found at the following Web address: https://gnpec.georgia.gov/webform/gnpec-authorized-school-student-complaint-form

Note to Kansas Residents

If the complaint cannot be resolved at the school level through its complaint procedure, students may file a complaint with the Kansas Board of Regents. The complaint form is available at the following link. http://www.kansasregents.org/academic_affairs/private_out_of_state/complaint_process

Note to Maryland Residents

Any complaints can be directed to the Maryland Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, 200 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-528-8662 or 888-743-0823 (toll-free).

Note to New Mexico Residents

The New Mexico Higher Education Department requires that all students know of their rights in a grievance situation, including contacting the NMHED/PPSD, 2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4, Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100, 1-505-476-8442, or 505-476-8416 if grievances are not resolved at the institutional level. Students can also download the applicable forms at: https://ppsd.smapply.io/res/p/student_complaint/

Note to North Carolina Residents

If the complaint is not resolved at the school level through its complaint procedure, students may file a complaint with North Carolina Postsecondary Education Complaints, c/o Student Complaints, University of North Carolina System Office, 910 Raleigh Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688, or studentcomplaint@northcarolina.edu, or via https://www.northcarolina.edu/complaints. Students who wish to review the Guaranty Bond should contact the Walden Office of the President.

Note to South Carolina Residents

If the complaint cannot be resolved at the school level through its complaint procedure, students may file a complaint with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. The complaint form is available at the following link. http://www.che.sc.gov/CHE_Docs/AcademicAffairs/License/Complaint_procedures_and_form.pdf.

Note to Tennessee Residents

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission requires that all students know of their rights in a grievance situation, including contacting the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Nashville, TN 37243-0830, 1-615-741-5293, if grievances are not resolved at the institutional level.

Note to Texas Residents

If the complaint cannot be resolved at the school level through its complaint process, students may file a complaint with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). Students can contact THECB Office of General Counsel, PO Box 12788, Austin, TX 78711, (512) 427-6101, or access the THECB Student Complaints webpage http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/links/student-complaints/. Rules for governing student complaints can be viewed on the Texas Administrative Code website http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=19&pt=1&ch=1&sch=E&rl=Y.

Note to Utah Residents

The Utah Department of Commerce requires that all students know of their rights in a grievance situation, including contacting the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, 160 East 300 South, 2nd Floor, P.O. Box 146704, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6704. A description of the procedures can be found at the following link: http://consumerprotection.utah.gov/complaints/manual.html