Complaint Against a College Employee

A claim by any student who reasonably believes a college decision or action has adversely affected his/her/their status, rights, or privileges as a student, a grievance includes, but is not limited to, claims regarding:

  • Course grades, to the extent permitted by Education Code Section 76224 subdivision (a), which states: "When grades are given for any course of instruction taught in a community college district, the grade given to each student shall be the grade determined by the instructor of the course and the determination of the student's grade by the instructor, in the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, shall be final.” “Mistake” may include, but is not limited to errors made by an instructor in calculating a student’s grade and clerical errors; or
  • The exercise of rights of free expression protected by state and federal constitutions and Education Code Section 76120.

A grievance is not for

  • Complaints regarding student disciplinary decisions
  • Parking citations
  • Discrimination, harassment, or retaliation complaints
  • Title IX or sexual misconduct

Informal Resolution

Each student who has a grievance shall make a reasonable attempt to resolve the matter on an informal basis prior to requesting a grievance hearing and shall attempt to resolve their grievance with the person whom the student has the grievance, that person's immediate supervisor, or the college administration.

At Cerro Coso Community College, the college president has appointed an employee who shall assist students in seeking resolution by informal means. This person is called the grievance officer. The grievance officer and the student may also seek the assistance of the Student Government of Cerro Coso in attempting to informally resolve a grievance.

Informal meetings and discussions between persons directly involved in a grievance are essential at the outset of a dispute and should be encouraged at all stages. An equitable solution should be sought before persons directly involved in the case have stated official or public positions that might polarize the dispute and render a solution more difficult. At no time shall any of the persons directly or indirectly involved in the case use the fact of such informal discussion, the fact that a grievance has been filed, or the character of the informal discussion for the purpose of strengthening the case for or against persons directly involved in the dispute, or for any purpose other than the settlement of the grievance.

Any student who believes they have a grievance shall submit a Statement of Grievance form within fourteen (14) calendar days of the incident upon which the grievance is based, or fourteen (14) calendar days after the student learns of the basis for the grievance, whichever is later. The Statement of Grievance may be filed prior to, in the middle of, or after efforts at an informal resolution. The Statement of Grievance must be filed regardless of having already initiated efforts at an informal resolution if the student wishes to make the grievance official. Within seven (7) calendar days following receipt of the Statement of Grievance, the grievance officer shall advise the student of his/her/their rights and responsibilities under these procedures.

Within fourteen (14) calendar days following the student's first meeting with the grievance officer, if an informal resolution of the complaint is not achieved to the satisfaction of the grievant, the student shall have the right to request a grievance hearing.

Request for Grievance Hearing

Any request for a grievance hearing shall be filed on a Request for a Grievance Hearing form within fourteen (14) calendar days following the student’s first meeting with the grievance officer.

Within fourteen (14) calendar days following receipt of the request for grievance hearing, the college president, or designee, shall appoint a Grievance Hearing Committee to determine whether sufficient grounds for a hearing have been presented on the basis of the Request for a Grievance Hearing.

The determination of sufficient grounds for proceeding with the grievance hearing, and whether an informal resolution has been provided to the student, shall be based upon the following:

  • The statement contains facts which, if true, would constitute a grievance under these procedures;
  • The grievant is a student as defined in these procedures, which includes applicants and former students;
  • The grievant is personally and directly affected by the alleged grievance;
  • The grievance was filed in a timely manner; and
  • The grievance is not frivolous, without foundation, or filed for purposes of harassment.

If the grievance does not meet each of the requirements above, the chair of the Hearing Committee shall notify the student in writing of the rejection of the Request for a Grievance Hearing with the specific reasons for the rejection and the procedures for appeal. This notice will be provided within five (5) calendar days of the date the Hearing Committee makes its decision. An appeal of this notice to the College President is possible as described in AP 5530.

If the Request for Grievance Hearing satisfies each of the requirements, the college grievance officer shall schedule a grievance hearing. The hearing will commence within fourteen (14) calendar days following the decision to grant a grievance hearing. All parties to the grievance shall be notified at least three (3) calendar days in advance with information pertaining to the date, time, and place of the hearing.

College Vice President’s Decision

Within seven (7) days following receipt of the Hearing Committee's findings and recommendation(s), the appropriate vice president shall inform all parties of their written decision, together with the Hearing Committee's findings and recommendations. The decision of the college vice president is final.

Time Limits

Any times specified in the procedure may be shortened or lengthened by mutual consent of all parties.