Student Grievance and Appeals Procedures
If you are taking any WSSU courses (online or face-to-face), and you have a complaint about your experience with Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), you have the following options:
You can follow WSSU's process for student complaints, which is located below. Beyond WSSU a student may follow the UNC-General Administration grievance procedure. You may also contact The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is WSSU's regional accrediting agency. Once there search using "grievance" or "complaint."
If you are residing outside of North Carolina while attending WSSU, in many cases you can file a complaint in the state where you are residing: Student Compliant Information by State and Agency or individual state below, as compiled and updated by the State Higher Education Executive Officers.
Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is committed to respecting all members of the University community and providing a quality educational experience for all students. The objective of the student complaint procedures is to ensure that the concerns and complaints of undergraduate or graduate students are addressed fairly and are resolved promptly. Complaints related to these procedures are usually the result of behavior that the student feels is unjust, inequitable, or creates an unnecessary hardship.
Students may file complaints if they believe a problem is not governed by other WSSU grievance or appeal policies and procedures. Complaints regarding student disciplinary decisions administered by the Office of Student Conduct, complaints of sexual harassment administered by the Office of Equal Opportunity, or any other complaints where another university procedure could have been used for the matter being grieved may not be addressed pursuant to this procedure.
The procedures set forth below may be used by grievances who are enrolled as students at Winston-Salem State University at the time of the grievance. The person filing the grievance must be the alleged victim of unfair treatment. A grievance cannot be filed on behalf of another person. Students should seek to resolve the complaint with the individual or office (process) that caused the concern. If the issue is not resolved, the student should file a written complaint with the supervisor of the employee or with the office in which the concern originated and provide the necessary documentation. This process can continue until it reaches the final arbiter of complaint resolution which is the vice chancellor of one of the divisions. If the complaint is with a vice chancellor then the chancellor or his designee is the final arbiter. If the complaint is with the chancellor, then the chair of the Board of Trustees is the final arbiter. All complaints should be resolved as quickly as possible.
Students are encouraged to seek an informal resolution of their complaint directly with the employee or individual(s) involved. Often a complaint can be resolved in this manner. However, if an informal approach is neither successful nor advisable, the student should use the following procedure:
- The student should file a written complaint with the supervisor of the individual involved. The complaint should be initiated within 15 calendar days of the decision, action, or event(s) giving rise to the grievance. This time limit may be extended by the dean or vice chancellor with jurisdiction over the grievance, if the grievance makes the request for extension within the 15 day period, for good cause shown (e.g., an active effort at informal resolution at the department level, division level, or Office for Equal Opportunity). The complaint must be submitted within the same semester as the incident occurred but may be extended for 10 business days into the next semester if the 15th day falls during the summer.
- Upon receipt of a written complaint, a conference will take place with the student and the appropriate supervisor or his or her designee.
- The supervisor will notify appropriate persons and request any information or documentation needed to resolve the complaint.
- The supervisor will attempt to resolve the complaint by taking the appropriate action. The supervisor will make a written record of the action taken and notify the student of the actions taken, when appropriate, or that actions have been taken to resolve the concern.
- The student may request a review of the complaint with the next supervisor in the chain of command if he or she believes that his or her complaint has not been resolved.
- All relative documentation should be forwarded to each level of review by the student and the supervisor(s).
- The burden is on the grievance to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the grievance has experienced an injury that would entitle the grievance to relief and that such injury is remediable.
Within 15 calendar days of receipt of the administrator's decision, a student who is not satisfied with the response of the administrator after the initial review may seek further review by submitting the written grievance, together with the administrator's written decision, to the appropriate vice chancellor. (If the administrator is a vice chancellor, the student should seek further review by the chancellor; if the administrator is the chancellor, the student should seek further review by the Chair of the Board of Trustees.). The senior administrator or officer may delegate another administrator to act on his/her behalf. The senior administrator's action will be limited to a review of the basis for previous administrator's decision and need not involve a de novo factual investigation. The senior administrator may, but is not required to, direct that further facts be gathered or that additional remedial action be taken. Within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request for review, the senior administrator shall submit his or her decision in writing to the student and to the person alleged to have caused the grievance. The written disposition shall include the reasons for the decision, and it shall direct a remedy for the aggrieved student, if any.
A copy of the final decision will be filed in the office from which the decision was rendered. Each of these offices will maintain a file of written complaints and the actions taken to resolve the complaints.
When possible, the final resolution (or a finding of "unresolved") will be filed in one of the vice chancellor's office or the chancellor's office, as deemed appropriate. Each of these offices will maintain a file of written complaints and the actions taken to resolve the complaints.