The University of St. Augustine (USA) is committed to providing a learning and working environment in which complaints are addressed fairly and resolved promptly. All complaints are taken seriously. The procedure for handling complaints encourages informal conciliation, facilitates early resolution, and maintains individual privacy and confidentiality.
This policy covers three general types of complaints:
- Student complaints
- Employee complaints
- Complaints from individuals or agencies outside the University.
This policy does not cover complaints about incidents related to harassment. Complaints of this nature should be directed to the Director of Human Resources. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discrimination complaints are also not covered under this policy and should be referred to the Director of Disability Services. Please refer to the Student Handbook. Complaints regarding the sexual misconduct policy should be referred to the Title IV officer. Please refer to the Student Handbook.
A. Student Complaints
Types of Student Complaints
Students should utilize the following procedure for complaints about service, support, or assistance provided by academic, administrative or support departments of the University. Student complaints include academic issues such as instruction methodology, grading, testing, or assignments, or non-academic matters such as IT support, university services, facilities, policies, financial matters, etc. The following procedure is not for complaints regarding academic or non-academic appeals policies and procedures. Please refer to the Student Handbook for appeals processes.
All information submitted as part of a student complaint will be treated as confidential and will only be available to the appropriate/involved parties. The student should also respect the need for confidentiality throughout the complaint process. A student who submits a complaint should be aware that complete confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed if effective action is to be taken. Where a complaint is in reference to a specific individual, the complaint cannot be investigated if the student does not wish the allegation to be made known to that individual. Anonymous complaints will not be considered.
Student Complaints Procedures
A student should discuss his/her concerns with the person(s) who is directly responsible (course instructor, staff member, etc.) in order to resolve the issue. Depending on the severity of the issue, a written record may or may not be drafted and placed in the student’s permanent record.
- If the complaint cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student should discuss the issue with his/her Program Director. The Program Director will consider the complaint and attempt to bring the issue to a satisfactory resolution.
- In certain situations, the Program Director may refer the complaint to an appropriate University committee. The respective Committee will consider the complaint and provide a written recommendation to the Program Director.
- The Program Director will consider the Committee recommendation and notify the student in writing of the decision.
- Written documentation regarding the resolution will be placed in the student’s file and maintained for six (6) years past the student’s last date of attendance.
- After following the steps above, the student may submit a formal written complaint to the Grievance Committee.
- The complaint will be investigated by the Grievance Committee and a written response will be provided to the student.
- The original written complaint, a copy of the response, and a description of any actions taken as a result of the complaint will be maintained on file for six (6) years past the student’s last date of attendance.
B. Employee Complaints
This policy is intended to provide fair and prompt consideration to all employee complaints. The University encourages all employees to use the complaint procedure without fear of prejudice or retaliation and with the assurance that his/her confidences will be respected.
Types of Employee Complaints
It is the policy of the University to provide an effective and timely method for employees to bring forth workplace issues and concerns. These issues and concerns may include working conditions, performance, policies, procedures or problems with co-workers or supervisors.
Human resources will keep all expressions of concern, the results of fact-finding and the terms of the resolution confidential. However, in the course of fact finding and resolving the matter, some dissemination to others may be necessary or appropriate.
The University expects that employees will attempt to resolve their conflict directly with the other party. Unresolved conflicts may be escalated to their supervisor, or to human resources. If resolution cannot be reached at that level an employee may submit a written complaint to the Grievance Committee. The Grievance Committee will follow the same procedure listed above under Student Complaints Procedures.
Retaliation of any kind by an employee against another employee, as a result of that employee seeking resolution under these procedures in good faith, cooperating in an investigation, or otherwise participating in the process, is prohibited and may be the basis for disciplinary action, including termination.
Complaints that involve harassment or discrimination of any nature should be brought directly to the attention of human resources.
All complaints, investigation notes and written resolution will be maintained in the human resources department for six years in accordance with the University’s records retention policy.
C. Complaints from Individuals or Agencies Outside the University
Individuals or agencies from outside the University should address complaints about the University or a University program to the applicable program director, dean or the University President.
Complaints about a USA employee or student should be resolved by communicating directly with the individual or department head.
- If a resolution is not possible at this level, a written complaint may be filed. Written complaints should be addressed to:
University of St. Augustine
Grievance Committee Chair
St. Augustine Campus
1 University Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32086
- All complaints will be fully investigated by the Grievance Committee and a written response will be provided to the complainant.
- The original written complaint, a copy of the response, and a description of any actions taken as a result of the complaint will be maintained on file for six (6) years following the date of the resolution.
If a complaint cannot be resolved after following the procedures above, the following agencies can be contacted directly. This information will be posted and kept current on the University website.
- WASC Senior College and University Commission: Complaints may be filed with the University’s institutional body by contacting the Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission at http://www.wascsenior.org/comments by reviewing the Policy on Complaints and Third-Party Comments to ascertain the appropriate means to communicate comments and complaints.
- Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology: In addition to opportunities for providing public comment regarding a program’s accreditation status, the CAA has separate procedures for filing a formal complaint about a CAA-accredited program or one seeking a CAA accreditation status. Individuals who wish to file a formal complaint should contact the Accreditation Office to obtain a copy of the complaint procedures, or refer to the Procedures for Complaints Against Graduate Education Programs on the CAA website.
- American Physical Therapy Association: Complaints about the Physical Therapy program can be submitted to CAPTE by requesting the Procedures for Handling Complaints about an Accredited or Developing Physical Therapy Program. This document can be obtained by writing to CAPTE at 1111 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, by telephone 703-706-3245, or visit: www.apta.org.
- American Occupational Therapy Association: Complaints about the Occupational Therapy program are handled as part of the Code of Conduct and Ethics Guidelines for AOTA. For more information on this process please visit: http://www.aota.org/Practitioners/Ethics/FAQs.aspx
- In California: A student or any member of the public may file a complaint about this institution with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling 888-370-7589 or by completing a complaint form at http://www.bppe.ca.gov/enforcement/complaint.shtml.
- In Florida: For information on the Commission for Independent Education’s complaint process go to http://www.fldoe.org/cie/complaint.asp.
- In Texas: For more information on making a complaint to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board go to: www.thecb.state.tx.us/studentcomplaints. Title 19 of the Texas Administrative Code, Sections 1.110-1.120 governs the rules for student complaints http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=19&pt=1&ch=1&sch=E&rl=Y
- Additional States:
- In Maryland contact the Maryland Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, 200 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-528-8662/888-743-0823 (toll free)
- In New Mexico contact the New Mexico Higher Education Department, 2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4, Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100, http://www.hed.state.nm.us/institutions/complaints.aspx.
- In Utah contact the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, 160 East 300 South, 2nd Floor, PO Box 146704, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6704, http://www.dcp.utah.gov/complaints/index.html
The University of St. Augustine has taken the necessary steps to apply and/or receive authorization to deliver education, to market and to affiliate with clinical education sites in all fifty states. For information on a specific state, or to file a complaint click here.