Do I need to file a complaint or an appeal?
General Academic and Non-Academic Complaints
General student complaints typically relate to topics that do not necessitate an appeal, but provide a means of communicating a need or concern to faculty, staff, and/or administrators.
A general student complaint should be reported as soon as the student is confronted with the issue. Examples may include, but are not limited to:
- Advising (e.g. My advisor is not available by phone or in person.);
- Buildings, parking, or other facilities (e.g. The temperature in my classroom in Arnold Hall is unbearably cold in summer.)
- Course-related issues not related to academic fairness or the final grade (e.g. No syllabus was provided for my course.)
- Information Services (e.g. The computer lab hours are limited and make it difficult to access the technology needed for my class.)
- Other Student Services (e.g. insufficient seating in Cougar Caf; the dining hall is out of lettuce every day by noon)
Some complaints require a specific reporting process. To file a complaint in one the following areas, follow the directions below.
Complaints related to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
In compliance with The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 38 CFR.105; 35.150 (c) and (d) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, the Center for Accommodation and Access offers this on-line form to report unresolved disputes or complaints directly associated with the student's accommodations registered with the Center for Accommodation and Access. Click here to submit an ADA complaint.
Complaints regarding Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity
Columbus State University's Equal Opportunity Policy is as follows and is included in faculty, staff, and student handbooks:
It is the policy of Columbus State University to ensure fulfillment of equal opportunity for all employees, students, applicants for employment and student applicants. No person shall be excluded from participation in, denied benefits of or be subject to discrimination under any University program or activity on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or age. Any student with a complaint or concern that is related to these standards should contact the Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Office at 706-507-8920. This office is located in Richards Hall.
Complaints are handled by the Human Resources Director/Equal Opportunity Officer or designee. Typical procedure is to interview the complainant, then to interview the campus member against whom the complaint is made and witnesses as appropriate. Documentation is requested as appropriate as well. While it preferable to have the complaint made in writing, it is not required as our philosophy is that any valid discrimination claim, whether in writing or not, should be reviewed.
When the investigation is complete, action taken is based on the findings. If it is determined that inappropriate behavior has occurred, action is taken. If it is determined that inappropriate behavior has not occurred, the complainant is informed and if appropriate is directed to pursue the matter as an academic matter.
Complaints regarding FERPA Compliance
A student has the right to file a complaint with the Registrar concerning alleged failure by Columbus State University to comply with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Complaints related to potential FERPA violations should be submitted in writing to the following address:
Office of the Registrar
Columbus State University
4225 University Avenue
Columbus, GA 31907
The Registrar, or his/her designee, is charged with investigating the complaint, determining if a violation of FERPA occurred, and communicating the findings to the student. If the complaint is not resolved by the university to the satisfaction of the student, the student may file a complaint to the office that administers FERPA, Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-4605. Records related to those complaints are maintained by the U.S. Department of Education
Complaints regarding Sexual Misconduct
Columbus State University is committed to creating and maintaining a University community in which all persons can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of all forms of harassment. Therefore, sexual harassment within the Columbus State University community is expressly prohibited. Furthermore, Columbus State University is opposed to sexual assault, and such behavior is prohibited both by state law and by university policy.
Sexual harassment can be reported directly to the Equal Opportunity Officer in the Department of Human Resources (706-507-8920 or Richards Hall, Room 228).
Sexual assault/misconduct should be reported immediately to the appropriate campus authorities if it occurred on campus or to local law enforcement if it occurred off campus. Staff in the Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, Student Affairs, or University Police can assist the campus member with reporting sexual assault/misconduct. Reporting sexual assaults may reduce the possibilities of future assaults and continued criminal behavior by the accused.
Academic and Non-Academic Appeals
Appeals typically fall into two categories: Academic or non-academic. Academic appeals relate to subjects such as course grades; academic fairness; the award of transfer credit; or withdrawal from courses due to medical reasons. Non-academic appeals include issues related to financial aid or readmission to the university.