2-3: Student Concerns and Complaints Policy

Policy Overview

This policy is established to address two levels of conflict involving students at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) identified as:

  • Concerns such as minor disagreements and the like; and
  • Complaints that address more serious issues.

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to all SFCC students.

Policy Statement

The College encourages informal resolution and dialogue around student concerns and complaints. When a student seeks formal review of a concern or complaint, there are generally recognized parameters accepted by the College that establish limits on the scope of what may be reviewed.

  1. Rights and Responsibilities reserved by the College.
    Areas that are reserved by the College as exclusive management rights are not subject to review. The following issues are precluded from review under this policy:

    1. Content of College policies;
    2. Issues concerning SFCC staff or faculty;
    3. Personnel decisions;
    4. Final interpretation by the President of a policy or final decision by the President about the application of a policy or resource;
    5. A review of a decision involving the same student and the same issue but naming another responding person;
    6. Decisions or directives of the Governing Board or other external authorities having jurisdiction or programmatic responsibilities over the College;
    7. Funding and program priorities;
    8. Allocation of resources, staff, equipment or space;
    9. Scheduling of operations, closures, holidays and other events;
    10. Overall allocations for tuition and other fee increases;
    11. Class schedules and assignments of faculty members to classes;
    12. Parking violations; and,
    13. Any action taken in compliance with a court order, arbitration decision, statutory directive, city or county ordinance, or the administrative ruling, rules or regulations of an authority having jurisdiction over the College.
  2. Students are encouraged to use this process to resolve disputes and the College strictly prohibits retaliation against a student who is using this policy to raise concerns and complaints or to resolve conflicts. Any student who either directly or indirectly retaliates against a student who is engaged in this process will be subject to discipline under SFCC Policy 2-2 Student Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action.
  3. SFCC students are functioning in an academic setting, therefore no requirement exists to set a statute of limitation. Matters may be addressed for further review if opened under applicable state statute.
  4. The President has discretion, with cause, to accept, modify or reject, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the College Hearing Panel after meeting with them. If the President’s decision is different from the College Hearing Panel’s recommendation, the President will communicate reasons for that decision in writing or through a meeting with the College Hearing Panel, after which the reasons will be documented. The President’s decision is final and binding upon the parties, unless the concern or complaint is with the President, in which case the matter will be resolved by the Governing Board.


  1. College Hearing Council A list of individuals composed of staff and faculty members who are nominated by the governance groups to be council members, have completed the Office of Human Resources’ training, and may be selected to serve as College Hearing Panel members for appeal hearings brought by employees or students.
  2. College Hearing Panel refers to a three-member panel that is formed from the College Hearing Council pool on an as-needed basis to hear appeals of disciplinary action taken by the College against an employee or student.
  3. Complaints Allegations by a student or students that a specific College decision or action, which directly affects that student or students, constitutes a violation of College policy.
  4. Concerns Refer to minor disagreements a student has with another student or College employee; or about a College action or decision that can be resolved through mediation or discussion; or about a College department, department process or facility issue.

Policy Process

  1. A student may submit a concern to resolve any issue in which the student is directly involved. Student concerns are issues that can be resolved through:
    1. Informal discussion between the parties involved;
    2. A facilitated discussion with the Student Affairs Officer; and,
    3. As a final resolution, mediation.
  2. A student may submit a complaint about an issue directly affecting them regarding a specific management decision or management action which, if true, would constitute a violation of College policy. Examples would include,but not be limited to, discrimination that the student believes was not properly handled, or racial or sexual harassment that the student believes was not properly or adequately dealt with under appropriate College policies.
    1. Student complaints may be resolved using the procedural steps for resolving student concerns; or
    2. A student may request that the complaint be reviewed before a College Hearing Panel within 10 days of the incident or management decision that they are protesting.
    3. A student must submit an official SFCC Complaint and Concerns form.
  3. SFCC will maintain records and analyze trends in compliance with Title IV of the Higher Ed Act of 1965, the Higher Learning Commission, and other regulations. The Student Affairs Officer is responsible for managing and maintaining records of student concerns and complaints, including College Hearing Panel reports. The Student Affairs Officer will manage the records in a manner consistent with FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and the confidentiality requirements of the College.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs or designee and the Student Affairs Officer, shall be responsible for enforcing student-related policies and procedures. The Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and the Student Affairs Officer shall work with College departments and offices to comply with this policy and to develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention and remediation.



Title IV of the Higher Ed Act of 1965
Higher Learning Commission
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99)
Policy 2-1 Student Code of Conduct
Policy 2-12 Student Records
Policy 2-22 Student Sexual Harassment
Policy 2-23 Student Discrimination and Harassment
Policy 2-28 Student Policy on Sexual Violence, Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking
Policy 4-2 Employee Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action

SFCC Governing Board approved: 12/13/06
Revised and Governing Board approved: 11/30/16

Associated Procedures