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Federal Requirement 4.5

The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints. (Student Complaints) (See also Commission Policy “Complaints Procedures for the Commission or Its Accredited Institutions.”) 

Judgement: Compliant 


The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) provides a comprehensive and formal procedure by which it addresses student academic, non-academic, and disability-related grievances. USC Upstate accepts responsibility to adhere to and follow these procedures consistently in order to provide the best possible outcome or resolution. All students, including those in distance education and graduate programs, follow these procedures for academic and non-academic grievances. Students may report a given complaint without concerns of recourse. 


Procedure  Statement  

Academic Grievances 

Academic grievances include, but are not limited to, grading, acceptance into programs, academic policies, and transfer credits. Students may submit an academic grievance form per University procedure. The policy and procedure are available to students in the printed or online versions of the 2011-2012 Academic Catalog and 2011-2012 Student Handbook.
Non-Academic Grievances 

A non-academic grievance is defined as a dissatisfaction occurring when a student thinks that any condition affecting him/her is unjust, inequitable or creates an unnecessary hardship.  Such grievances include, but are not limited to, the following problems: mistreatment by any University employee; wrongful assessment and processing of fees, records and registration errors; English fluency grievance; racial, sexual, and disability-based discrimination/harassment.

Harassment based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status and sexual orientation is a form of discrimination in violation of federal and state law and University of South Carolina system policies.

Discriminatory harassment includes conduct (oral, written, graphic, or physical) directed against any person or group of persons because of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability or veteran status that has the purpose or reasonably foreseeable effect of creating an offensive, demeaning, intimidating,  or hostile environment for that person.

Students may submit a non-academic grievance form per University procedure. The policy and procedure is available to students in the printed or online versions of the 2011-2012 Academic Catalog and 2011-2012 Student Handbook.

Parking Violation Appeals Students who perceive they have received a traffic citation either via error or without just cause may submit a parking violation appeal form per University procedure. The policy and procedure is available to students in the printed or online version of the 2011-2012 Student Handbook.

Student Complaints 

Student complaint procedures provide enrolled students with a standardized easy-to-use process for reporting complaints in which conditions and/or treatment by a faculty and/or staff member are perceived as unjust, inequitable or create an unfavorable environment and/or situation. The University’s obligation and commitment to the student is to ensure that all students receive fair and equitable treatment in a timely manner when reporting complaints of any nature.

Example of an Academic Grievance Process 

Student Name: Anonymous 

Grievance: Grade Discrimination for Receiving a Grade Less than C in a Senior Seminar Class

Step 1:
Appealed to faculty member and faculty member denied appeal.

Step 2:
Appealed to Chair of department and Chair denied appeal.

Step 3:
Appealed to Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Dean denied appeal.

Step 4:
Appealed to Academic Grievance Panel and Panel denied appeal.

Step 5:
Appealed to Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Chancellor denied appeal.

Step 6:
Appeals to Chancellor and Chancellor denied appeal.

Step 7:
The resolution of the case was documented and the case closed.

Example of a Non-Academic Grievance Process: 

Student Name: Anonymous 

Grievance: Student was alleged to have committed the following:

  • Theft of Any Kind
  • Theft or Abuse of Computer Time
  • Unauthorized Entry/Presence/Use or Abuse of University Facilities
  • Violations of Local, State or Federal Laws

NOTE: The Dean of Students (DOS) received information from University Police that a current student had been arrested for computer theft. The University Police also issued a no trespass to the student which prohibited the student from being on University property. The DOS then notified the student in writing of theft allegations. Student was immediately suspended from the University.

Step 1:
Allegations were entered into a professional, comprehensive database software system.

Step 2:
The Dean of Students Office contacted the student in writing to request the student make an appointment to meet with the DOS and to notify the student of the suspension.

Step 3:
The DOS met with the student. The student did not accept responsibility and requested that the matter be handled by an Honor Council.

Step 4:
The Honor Council hearing was requested with optional hearing dates and times that work with the student’s schedule.

Step 5:
The DOS notified appropriate University officials and requested availability to meet with the Honor Council.

Step 6:
The student was contacted to confirm the date of the Honor Council and was invited to bring witnesses.

Step 7:
Three faculty and two students were identified to participate in the Honor Council.

Step 8:
The Honor Council reviewed files.

Step 9:
The Honor Council convened and reviewed the case.

Step 10:
The Honor Council met with appropriate University officials.

Step 11:
The student met separately with the Honor Council.

Step 12:
The Honor Council found the student responsible and assigned sanctions for violations.

Step 13:
The DOS notified the student in writing of the findings.

Step 14:
The student was dissatisfied with the findings and filed a written appeal to the Appeals Committee.

Step 15:
The Appeals Committee consisted of three faculty members, reviewed all the facts in the case, and upheld the original decision of the Honor Council. Also, the DOS sent a letter detailing the outcomes of the appeals.

Step 16:
Case was finalized in the database system and the case was closed. 

Support Documents:  

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800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Toll-free: 800-277-8727
Phone: 864-503-5000
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