Administrative Procedure 4.401
Elgin Community College acknowledges that a student or group of students, such as a student club or organization, may have a difference of opinion with regard to policies, practices, and procedures of the College. Assurance is given by Community College District 509 that should genuine grievances arise, students adhering to the following procedures have the right to a hearing and resolution of complaints in a prompt and fair manner without fear of retribution.
This Complaint Procedure is not intended to limit the options of the College or of a student or group of students, but to resolve any difference mutually and when appropriate informally.
1. Types of Complaints
Students may file a complaint seeking investigation and possible resolution of grievances on topics including, but not limited to, the following:
- Academic regulations. (Academic regulations may have specific procedures.)
- Privacy (See Administrative Procedure 4.103 Student Academic Records.)
- Administration of ECC policy, practices, or procedures.
- Official Incident Reports from ECC Police detailing on-campus incidents may be considered as complaints.
- Disciplinary charges. (See Administrative Procedure 4.402 Student Code of Conduct.)
- Complaints about the treatment of students by college employees. (Students filing a complaint about a college employee should follow step 2.)
- Discrimination because of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex/gender/gender identity, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law in matters of admissions, programs, courses, activities, facilities, financial aid, or student employment. Discrimination complaints are addressed in Administrative Procedure 3.404 Anti-Discrimination Harassment and Retaliation Policy and Procedure. (The process begins with a meeting with the Title IX Officer.)
- Sexual harassment. (See Administrative Procedure 3.403 Sex Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Interpersonal Violence Policy and Procedure. (The process begins with a meeting with the Title IX Officer.)
- Disabilities accommodations. (See Administrative Procedure 3.501 Individuals with Disabilities.)
2. Filing a Complaint Against a College Employee
Discrimination, sexual harassment and disability complaints will be redirected to the appropriate authority. For all other types of complaints, when appropriate every attempt should be made to resolve a complaint informally at the point of origin (faculty, staff, administrator). The procedures are listed in sequence as follows.
- Within fifteen (15) school days of the situation, the student communicates in person or in writing with the individual or group with whom the student has a complaint, to informally resolve the issue.
- If informal resolution of the issue is unsuccessful, the student may submit a formal written complaint, using this Complaint form to the Dean of Students or their designee via DeanOfStudents@elgin.edu. The incident or situation should be described as specifically and completely as possible. It is the responsibility of the student to provide sufficient and tangible documentation or evidence to support their allegation. A statement of what outcome the student believes would resolve the situation must be provided. The student may request support from the Dean of Students or their designee in this process. Complaint forms may be obtained in the Vice-President of Student Services & Development office, Building B, room B 105, or by emailing DeanOfStudents@elgin.edu.
- Upon receipt of the formal written Complaint, the charges will be investigated and responded to by all parties to the complaint. At the end of the investigation a written report setting forth findings, recommendations and a resolution will be filed by the Associate Dean of Student SuccessDean of Students; the student will be notified of the resolution. Complaints concerning refunds will be forwarded to the Dean of Enrollment and Financial Services for resolution and response. Confidentiality of personnel records prevents the outcome being reported to the complainant in most cases.
Should the complaint have the potential to result in employee discipline, the supervisor of the employee should consult with the Chief Human Resource Officer to ensure that the interface between the student’s right to a hearing of their complaint is balanced with the employee’s contractual protections.
3. Filing a Complaint Against a Student
Any member of the college community may file a complaint against any student for misconduct, as defined by the Student Code of Conduct (Administrative Procedure 4.402). A complaint involving a student must be filed in writing with the Dean of Students within twenty (20) school days of the alleged incident. Official incident reports from the ECC police detailing violations of the Student Code of Conduct may be considered as complaints. The Dean of Students must forward a copy of the complaint to the Associate Vice-President of Student Services and Development. The Dean of students must also notify the student accused of the infraction in writing.
The Dean of Students will conduct a preliminary investigation of the complaint to determine if any violations of the Student Code of Conduct occurred. If it is determined that a violation has occurred, the Dean of Students shall determine if the complaint or any charges can be disposed of by mutual consent of the parties involved on a basis that is acceptable to the Dean. If the charges cannot be disposed of by mutual consent, the Dean of Students may, after investigation, decide to inform the student(s) involved or call for a hearing.
Either party, the complainant or the accused, may request a hearing. The Dean of Students will inform the accused person(s) of the decision reached following the investigation in writing, either in person or by certified mail. The student may appeal the decision of the investigation and request a hearing.
In certain circumstances, prior to the hearing before the Student Disciplinary Committee, the Dean of Students or their designee may impose an interim suspension prior to a hearing before the disciplinary hearing board. Interim suspension may be imposed only when it is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of a member of the College community or any persons involved in on or off-campus learning activities, including but not limited to clinical and observation hours; to ensure the preservation of College property; to ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety and well-being or if a student poses a threat of disruption or interference with the normal operation of the College.
During interim suspension, a student may be denied both physical and virtual access to the campus (including classes) and/or other College activities or privileges, as the Dean of Students may determine to be appropriate, for which the student might otherwise be eligible. The Dean of Students or their designee will notify the student in writing either by email or certified mail if an interim suspension is imposed.
The Dean of Students or their designee will notify the ECC Police Department immediately when a student has been put on interim suspension.
The Dean of Students or their designee will set a hearing date as soon as practicable. The Dean of Students or their designee will notify the student in writing either by email or certified mail with the date of the hearing, as well as the hearing procedural information.
The college shall have a Student Disciplinary Committee (hereafter referred to as "the Committee"), the composition of which is established annually, to ensure due process for all students. Membership of the committee shall be composed of the following members, upon recommendation by their constituent groups, and appointed by the President of the College:
- One or two faculty member(s)
- One or two members of the support staff
- One administrative member
- One or two student member(s) appointed by the Student Government or Student Life in the event of a conflict of interest
- The Dean of Students, who is a non-voting member of the Committee, will also serve as Chair.
Functions of the Committee are to hear from a student charged with a Student Code of Conduct violation that the Dean of Students determines cannot be adjudicated through the more direct disciplinary process and that may result in disciplinary action; to make a recommendation to the Dean of Students based only on evidence introduced at the hearing, and to recommend one or more of the following sanctions:
- Dismissal of the charge
- Formal written Warning
- Obligation to make restitution, reimbursement or engage in other restorative justice activities.
- Suspension or termination of specific student privileges
- Educational requirement
- Disciplinary probation
- Disciplinary suspension
- Expulsion/dismissal from the College
- Any combination of the above sanctions
Any member of the Committee may excuse themselves from serving if that person identifies a conflict of interest in serving. The Committee member must inform the Dean of Students prior to the hearing and should work with the person to secure a substitute representative from their group (i.e. faculty, staff, student).
Procedures for Hearings
At least seven (7) school days prior to the date set for a hearing before the Committee, the Dean of Students shall notify the student in writing either by email or a certified letter to the student's last known address providing the student with the following information:
- A restatement of the charge or charges
- The time and place of the hearing
- A statement of the student's procedural rights
With approval from the student, the hearing may be held prior to the expiration of the seven (7) day advance notification period if the Dean of Students concurs with this change.
Procedural Rights of Students include the following:
- The right to counsel or advisement. The role of the person acting as counsel or advisor is solely to advise the student. The counsel or advisor speaks only to the charged student, not to the Committee. The school is not responsible for providing counsel for students. This is a disciplinary hearing, not a trial.
- The right to produce witnesses, documentation, and evidence. The student shall be allowed to present relevant documentation and to produce pertinent witnesses to the incident/issue.
- The right to information. All relevant internal records, not restricted for official use, will be made available to the student(s) for use as documentation in the hearing. A request for relevant records must allow due time for processing and must not be in violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which is described in the ECC catalog found on the ECC website.
- The right to privacy during the hearing. All procedures and meetings, including name and related information, will be confidential unless otherwise mutually agreed upon by the student(s) and College authorities.
- Right to no reprisals or retaliation. Students (s) who are involved in a disciplinary procedure will not be subjected to reprisals, retaliation, or different treatment because of their participation.
- The right to know the identity of the person(s) bringing the charges.
- The right to hear witnesses on behalf of the person bringing the charges unless considered a safety concern.
- The right to testify or to refuse to testify without such refusal being detrimental to the student.
The Conduct of Committee Hearings:
Hearings before the Committee shall be confidential and shall be closed to all persons except the following: student, student advisor/counsel, witnesses who shall be defined as persons related to the incident, who can give testimony singularly and in the absence of the other witnesses and leave the hearing meeting room immediately upon completion of the testimony.
The hearing will be recorded electronically until the Committee goes into a closed session. A record of the open session will be prepared by the Dean of Students. The recording will be destroyed at the end of the hearing or the appeal (if one occurs).
The Dean of Students will write the narrative of the process and forward the recommendation of the Committee to the Associate Vice-President of Student Services and Development.
The Dean of Students will advise the complainant and the accuser in writing of their determination and of the sanction(s) imposed by the Associate Vice-President of Student Services and Development, if any, within five (5) school days.
The Associate Vice-President of Student Services and Development may impose any one or a combination of the following disciplinary sanctions. The sanctions that may be imposed may include but are not limited to the following:
- Dismissal of the charges.
- Formal written warning: This is a strong, written warning that the same conduct or other conduct in violation of the Elgin Community College Student Code of Conduct during that student's enrollment at the College shall result in additional disciplinary action. A copy of the Disciplinary Warning will be placed in the student's confidential file for five (5) years from the disposition of the case.
- Obligation to make restitution or other Restorative Justice activity: A student may be required to pay for the repair or replacement cost for any damage that person causes to either ECC property, real or personal property. A student may be required to provide specific in-kind services, or participate in restorative justice activities in an attempt to repair relational harm done.
- Suspension or termination of specific student privileges: A student may be prohibited from attending one or more classes or courses, undertaking College employment, entering a building, participating in some or all extra-curricular activities sponsored by the College, representing the College in an official capacity, or using other services provided by the College. Such exclusion shall be:
- for a definite period of time or
- until certain requirements placed on the student are completed, or
- Educational requirement: A student may be required to participate in a specific program(s), either of an educational nature or counseling nature, including but not limited to instruction or research. The student is responsible for all expenses arising out of or related to the requirements of this Sanction, including expenses for education, counseling, or treatment, where such expenses are incurred.
- Disciplinary Probation: A student on disciplinary probation may continue to attend classes but may not participate in any student activities or intercollegiate activities during the period of Disciplinary Probation. Probation is for a designated period of time. Any further violations of the Student Code of Conduct may lead to suspension or expulsion from the College.
- Disciplinary Suspension: A student may be suspended from the College for a specific period of time. Such suspension may include being withdrawn from courses(without refund beyond the limits of the published refund policy), denial of participation in any College-sponsored activities, and/or employment with the College during the term of suspension. Upon completion of the terms of the Disciplinary Suspension, the student must meet with the Dean of Students to begin the process of being readmitted to the College.
- Expulsion/Dismissal from the College: Where a student has committed very serious violations of the Elgin Community College Student Code of Conduct and/or has a record of multiple violations and/or disciplinary actions, the student may be permanently dismissed from Elgin Community College.
More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.
Disciplinary sanctions shall not be made part of the student's permanent academic record but shall become part of the student's confidential record. A disciplinary record will be maintained in the Dean of Students’ office for five (5) years after the final disposition of the case.
The following sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations:
- Disciplinary Sanctions listed above, plus
- Deactivation: Loss of all privileges, including college recognition, for a specified period of time.
In each case in which the Committee determines that a group or organization has violated the Student Discipline Procedure, the sanction(s) will be recommended by the Committee and communicated by the Dean of Students, who writes and submits the narrative to the Associate Vice-President of Student Services and Development. The Associate Vice-President of Student Services and Development is not bound by or limited to sanctions recommended by members of the Committee. Following the hearing, the Associate Vice-President of Student Services and Development will advise the complainants and the accuser in writing of the determination and the sanction(s) imposed, if any, within five (5) school days.
The student or student club/organization has the right to appeal the decision according to the Administrative Procedure 4.408 Appeal.
5. Record of Complaint
After the process is concluded, all records will be maintained for a period of five (5) years.