Student Concerns and Complaint Policy
Westmont’s desire is to provide the best experience possible for students as they pursue their education. Acknowledging that students may on occasion have concerns or complaints about their experience, this policy is established to guide the quick and efficient resolution of concerns or complaints presented to staff members in the Student Life Division.
The Student Life division will seek to resolve complaints about student experiences through the offices that handle issues related to the concern. When receiving a complaint from a student, the student life staff person receiving the complaint will make every effort to determine what office is best able to resolve the student’s concern and connect the student directly to an individual in that office who is able to assist. Examples of student complaints may include but are not limited to:
- Academic Concerns—Records Office and Registrar
- Concerns about student accounts—Business Office
- Concerns about financial aid—Office of Financial Aid
- Residence Hall, roommate concerns, housing issues—Residence Life
- Security or Safety—Office of Public Safety
- Parking Permits—Housing and Parking Office
- Meal plans or food service—Sodexo or Office of Procurement and Auxiliary Service
- Harassment (e.g., racial, sexual)—Student Life Office
- General concerns—Student Life Office
When a student presents a concern or complaint to the Student Life Office that is relevant to the work of student life, the following procedure will be followed: Office personnel (or the staff member receiving the complaint) will determine who in the office (or division) is best able to respond to the student’s concern. When possible, the student’s concern should be addressed and resolved by that individual. As a matter of practice, this should be considered the “normal” resolution process. When concerns can be resolved quickly, no formal record needs to be made.
On occasions when a student’s concern or complaint cannot be resolved through this procedure, or when the student is not satisfied with the resolution offered, students may make a formal complaint. Formal complaints should be presented, in writing, to the Student Life Office. When a complaint is received, the student life personnel receiving the written complaint will forward it to the Dean of Students or the Director of Residence Life (whoever is available and/or appropriate in light of the complaint). This person will review the complaint and determine the student life staff member most able to resolve the situation (a dean, a director, a resident director, etc.). The student will be notified by letter or email within two business days that his or her complaint has been received and to whom it has been assigned for resolution. Student life staff members will make every effort to respond to and resolve the student’s complaint within 10 business days (more quickly when possible). The final resolution will be provided to the student in writing and in person when appropriate. If a student is dissatisfied with the resolution offered, he or she may appeal to the Vice President for Student Life. Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the Student Life office during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) within three calendar days of the decision regarding the resolution offered. If the third day falls on a non-business day, submit appeals via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Following a prompt and effective review, the vice president for student life will communicate a decision on the student’s appeal no later than ten business days. The decision of the Vice President for Student Life is final.
For complaints involving offices outside of Student Life, the Vice President for Student Life will work with the appropriate Vice President to determine resolution and response to appeals. For complaints related to the Unlawful Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures or the Bias, Harassment and Discrimination Policies and Procedures should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator and Compliance Office: Dr. Edee Schulze in the Student Life Office at (805) 565-6028.
Note: When concerns or complaints are first presented by a student’s parent(s), parents will be asked to encourage their daughter or son to present the concern or complaint or write the appeal. As a general rule, written correspondence concerning the complaint will always be directed to the student and meetings concerning the complaint should always happen in the presence of the student.
Records of student complaints and resolutions will be kept by the Vice President for Student Life. Every year the Vice President for Student Life will review the complaints received that year and in the previous years to determine if there are trends or ongoing concerns that need to be addressed. If so, the Vice President will take responsibility for implementing appropriate plans to respond to these trends.
In addition to or in lieu of these college processes, students may file a complaint against the institution with Westmont’s accrediting agency or with the State of California:
WASC Senior College and University Commission
985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833