The following narrative summarizes TTUHSC’s student complaint or grievance policies and procedures.
It is the policy of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center to affirm the right of its students to a prompt and fair resolution of a complaint or grievance involving allegations of inappropriate behavior by other TTUHSC students or by TTUHSC personnel toward students. Policies and procedures exist for the following areas of student complaints:
The Office of the Ombudsman for Students, which is located on the Texas Tech University campus in Lubbock, serves as a neutral, objective third party to provide students in the Texas Tech University System including TTUHSC with informal assistance in resolving student-related problems, conflicts, and disputes. The Student Ombudsman is available by phone to assist all TTUHSC students in identifying appropriate complaint-resolution procedures and resources.
Policies and procedures governing complaints regarding the general or academic misconduct of students are defined in the Code of Professional and Academic Conduct (Student Code), which is published as Part II of this handbook. Students, faculty, and staff are all encouraged to report violations of the Student Code in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedures outlined in the Student Code.
This handbook identifies several policies intended to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all members of the university community. The processes for filing complaints are detailed in the TTUHSC Operating Policies and Procedures. The following list identifies key institutional policies governing complaints regarding discrimination:
HSC OP 77.13, Student Education Records, provides detailed information about filing complaints relating to student records.
Information about employment grievances for students who are employed at TTUHSC is provided in HSC OP 70.10, Non-faculty Employee Complaint and Grievance Procedures. This policy covers complaints concerning issues pertaining to wages, hours, working conditions, performance evaluations, merit raises, job promotions, job assignments, or similar matters involving management decisions concerning the employee.
The processing of formal grade appeal procedures is the responsibility of the school which administers the course. Relevant school policies are listed below:
Students who feel that they have been mistreated in a manner that is not directly addressed by any of the specific policies identified above are encouraged to refer to the policies and procedures governing student complaints, grievances, and appeals within their school. Relevant school policies include the following:
• School of Allied Health Sciences: Student Complaint Resolution and Hearing Policy (addresses academic and non-academic issues, including grade appeals) and Academic Misconduct Policy (addresses academic complaints against a student)
• School of Medicine–Lubbock: Student-Faculty Dispute Resolution Policy, Student-Student Dispute Resolution Policy, Sexual Harassment Policy, and Dismissal and Appeals Policies and Procedure
• Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at El Paso: Student Faculty Dispute Resolution Policy
• School of Nursing: Academic Grade Challenges/Appeals and Complaint or Grievance Resolution (Non-Grade Related)
• School of Pharmacy: Accreditation-Related Student Concerns and/or Complaints and Grade Appeals Policy
• Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences: Appeals Policy for Students and Grade Appeals Policy
Students should process their complaints or appeals through the appropriate channels. Procedures are delineated in the policies identified above. Students are encouraged to bring their concerns to the designated student affairs officer of their school. The student affairs officer in each school is as follows:
• School of Allied Health Sciences: Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs
• School of Medicine-Lubbock: Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
• Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso: Associate Dean for Student Affairs
• School of Nursing: Senior Director
• School of Pharmacy: Assistant Dean for Student Services
• Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences: Assistant Dean
The deans of the schools have final authority in resolving disputes related to academic issues, such as grading and promotion, and in non-academic issues involving the school’s faculty and staff.
Every effort should be made to resolve complaints against faculty and other school personnel at the school level. If the complaint is about personnel or services at the institutional level, the student is advised to contact the TTUHSC Office of Student Services in accordance with the following institutional-level student complaint procedures. These procedures are also published on the Office of Student Services website.
The procedures defined below apply to student complaints that fall outside the scope of other institutional and school-based policies and procedures governing specific types of student complaints (Student Complaint or Grievance Policies and Procedures), including, for example, student complaints against staff members employed at the institutional level or against TTUHSC administrators. The TTUHSC Office of Student Services will administer this institutional policy and will insure that due process is afforded to all concerned.
1. Early Resolution
a. Prior to contacting the TTUHSC Office of Student Services, the student shall attempt to resolve the issue with the individual(s) involved. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome after meeting with the individual or does not feel comfortable talking to the administrator or staff member involved, the student may contact the Director of Student Services. The student shall address the issue and initiate action under this policy within 30 days of the event giving rise to the complaint.
b. The Director of Student Services may counsel the student to discuss the issue with the involved administrator or staff member. If the student does not feel comfortable talking to the person involved, the Director of Student Services will investigate the complaint, attempt to reconcile differences, and propose a solution. The Director of Student Services will provide a written statement of his or her recommendation to all parties within ten working days following the initial receipt of the student’s report of the complaint. All involved parties will then have ten working days to respond. Every effort should be made to resolve the issue without going beyond this level. The Director of Student Services will attempt to facilitate a resolution before proceeding with a hearing, as described below.
(If the complaint is against the Director of Student Services, the student should meet with the Vice President for Academic Services, who will follow the procedures outlined here.)
2. Filing a Hearing Request
a. If the student is not satisfied with the recommendation of the Director of Student Services, he/she may file a request for a hearing by submitting a written complaint to the Director of Student Services (Attachment F). The hearing request must include a specific statement of the student’s complaint, an explanation of what remedy the student seeks, and a copy of the Director of Student Services’ recommended resolution.
b. If the student files a request for a hearing, a Student Hearing Committee as defined below must convene within 15 working days.
3. Hearing Procedure
Upon receipt of a written request for a hearing, the Director of Student Services will appoint a Hearing Committee according to the following procedure:
a. Each party will propose in writing a list of four TTUHSC faculty, staff, and/or students to serve on the Hearing Committee. The Director of Student Services will contact one person from each list in order of the submitting party’s preference to determine the person’s willingness to serve. Through this process, one person will be selected from each list. The two people selected will then select a third member (a TTUHSC faculty or staff member) and these individuals will comprise the Hearing Committee. This group will select a chair from among themselves.
b. The Director of Student Services will provide technical assistance and support to this committee.
c. As soon as the hearing is scheduled, the chair of the Hearing Committee will send a written notice to all involved parties. The notice will specify the time, place, and nature of the hearing, plus a brief description of the complaint. The notice will also confirm the right of all involved parties to present witnesses and evidence and to be accompanied by counsel for advisory purposes only.
d. At least three days prior to the hearing, all parties will provide to the chair of the Hearing Committee and the Director of Student Services a list of the names of any witnesses or counsel who will attend the hearing. If the student will be represented by counsel, the University will be represented by the Office of General Counsel. The student and the involved individuals(s) shall have access to all information to be considered by the Hearing Committee, including the names of all persons giving evidence.
e. The student and the involved parties shall attend the hearing and be offered an opportunity to state their positions and present testimony and other evidence relevant to the case. The responsibility of establishing the validity of the complaint rests with the student.
f. The Hearing Committee chair shall keep a recording of the hearing, which shall include date, time, and location of the hearing, names of those present, and any evidence introduced (e.g., records, written testimony, duplicated materials).
4. Committee Decision
a. After completion of the hearing, the Hearing Committee shall meet in closed session and prepare a written recommendation. Copies of the Hearing Committee chair’s report shall be forwarded to the involved parties within five working days.
b. The student may request a reconsideration of the case in instances where he or she is dissatisfied with the decision of the Student Hearing Committee. The appeal must be made, in writing, within five working days, to the Vice President for Academic Services.
c. The Vice President for Academic Services will review the complaint resolution and render a decision within five working days. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Services is final.
d. If the Vice President for Academic Services is serving as a mediator in the case, then the President or his designee will review the complaint resolution and render a decision within five working days. The decision of the President is final.