Student Complaint Process Overview
Our goal is to provide students with quality instruction and services at City College of San Francisco (“CCSF”). CCSF and its employees make every effort to serve students courteously and efficiently, including acting in accordance with college policies and state and federal laws. Individuals dissatisfied with a campus policy or the conduct of a college employee can bring a complaint, a written or verbal notice of dissatisfaction, to the attention of the appropriate faculty, staff, or administrator at any time. Student complaints will fall into the following three categories:
- Academic (Faculty/Student and Grade Review)
- Non-Academic (Student Affairs); and
- Title 5/IX Complaint Process (Discrimination/Harassment)
- Listed below are the complaint procedures available to persons who wish to file a complaint at CCSF. If you have a complaint, please contact the department for the applicable resource and follow the complaint processes of that area.
Informal Complaint Process Overview
Before filing a formal complaint that is either Academic or Non-Academic in nature, individuals should make every effort to raise their complaint(s) directly with the involved faculty and/or manager. Formal complaints will not be reviewed unless an informal process has been completed. If addressing an issue informally does not lead to a satisfactory resolution, the individual may register a formal complaint with the appropriate supervisor or administrator in alignment with the appropriate administrative procedure outlined below.
Formal Complaint Process Overview
If the informal process outlined above does not result in a resolution, the student may file a formal complaint to the appropriate department. Complaints escalating to this level must be submitted in writing with as much detail as possible so that the appropriate administrator can investigate your complaint and respond. The written formal complaint must also outline the steps taken to try and resolve the complaint at the informal level. Each compliant process is unique. A more detailed outline of the process requirement and complaint forms under the appropriate complaint category, linked below.
Informal Process - Complaint Against a Faculty Member
A complaint should first be raised directly with the faculty member concerned.
If a direct meeting does not resolve the complaint, or if either party is unable or unwilling to meet, the complaint should be taken to the faculty member’s supervisor.
The supervisor may take the following action, including, but not limited to:
- Investigating the complaint
- Meeting with any party separately or facilitating a joint meeting
- Recommending appropriate action to any party
- Recommending an evaluation of the faculty member to the Chancellor
- Redirecting the matter as appropriate
If the supervisor fails to resolve the complaint within ten (10) semester instructional days, then the student may file a formal complaint in accordance with the process set forth below. Semester instructional days include only regular business days during the Fall and Spring semesters, and not summer sessions.
If, after the failure of the supervisor to resolve the complaint at the informal level, and the student fails to file a formal complaint within an additional ten (10) semester instructional days, then the matter will be considered dropped unless renewed by the student within the first ten (10) semester instructional days of the next semester.
Formal Process - Complaint Against a Faculty Member
If the student complaint regarding an instructor (faculty member) was not resolved at the informal process as outlined above, a formal complaint can be submitted to the Director of Human Resources at the College whose role is to channel the complaint to the appropriate Vice-Chancellor and to the Academic Senate. If any party chooses to pursue the matter to the formal level, all parties shall be given written notice of that fact.
Any party who wishes to submit a formal complaint must complete and submit the Student Formal Faculty Complaint Form. This form will be routed to the Director of Human Resources. Each complaint must include the following information and should include as much detail as possible:
- The specific nature of the complaint and its history;
- All efforts which have been made to resolve the complaint; including the informal process steps that were taken to resolve the complaint at the lowest level.
- What the appealing party would consider a fair and appropriate resolution of the complaint.
A. Formal Process Complaint Hearing and Decision
Upon receiving a formal complaint, the designated Vice-Chancellor and the Academic Senate shall each appoint one member to a committee. The committee will consist of the two appointed members as well as the designated Vice-Chancellor whose function shall be to hear and decide the matter.
In reaching its decision, the committee may take any action which could have been taken pursuant to the informal process outlined above, except that the committee may not redirect the matter.
The findings and decision of the committee must be made in writing and provided to the student, the faculty member, and the member’s supervisor, and must encompass at least one of the following results:
- Resolution of the complaint to the satisfaction of all parties
- Dismissal of the complaint with or without the consent of all parties
- Recommendation of appropriate action to the faculty member's supervisor. At the committee's discretion, its decision and the underlying student complaint may be inserted into the faculty member's personnel file
1. Formal Complaint Process Timeline
Formal complaints should be resolved as quickly as possible. Except under unusual circumstances, the written findings and decision of the committee should be provided to all parties within forty (40) semester instructional days of its receipt of the formal complaint. The summer session will not be included in the timeline.
Any student or faculty member involved in a student complaint may, by his/her own initiative, have representation of their choice.
NOTICE: Student complaints may have serious consequences for the faculty member concerned. Students should recognize that differences in personality, opinion, and perception do occur, and can often be resolved by discussion between the parties. Whenever possible, students are encouraged to address such differences directly with the faculty member.
Informal Process - Grade & File Review Petition
A. Meeting with the Instructor and/or the Department Chair:
Students wishing to challenge a grade should discuss the issue with the instructor in an office-hour conference or by appointment. If, for any reason, a student is unwilling or unable to confer with the instructor, they must then consult with the instructor’s department chair. Every effort should be made to resolve the issue at this level.
B. Meeting with the Department Dean:
If the department chair and instructor are unable to resolve the grade dispute, the students shall bring the matter to the attention of the department dean (i.e., the department chair’s supervisor), who will confer with all parties to resolve the dispute.
All parties are expected to make every effort to address the grade dispute in a timely manner. If the grade dispute remains unresolved, the matter will be referred to the Dean of Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, and Ethnic Studies and Social Justice. The informal process must be completed within ten (10) working days after receipt of a midterm grade, and for final grades, within forty-five (45) calendar days from the start of instruction in the immediately following Fall or Spring semester.
1. Important Deadline Information:
Informal Process: All parties are expected to make every effort to address the grade dispute within the allowable time constraints mentioned above. The informal process must be completed within ten (10) working days after receipt of a midterm grade, and for final grades, within forty-five (45) calendar days from the start of the subsequent Fall or Spring semester.
Formal Process: If the grade dispute remains unresolved after the informal process deadline has expired, the student has the option to file a formal Petition for Grade Review. This Petition must be filed within fourteen (14) calendar days after the student is notified in writing that the informal process has concluded.
Formal Process - Grade & File Review Petition
If the grade dispute is unresolved after the informal process has concluded, the students may initiate a formal review process by submitting a Petition for Grade & File Review Form to the Dean of Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, and Ethnic Studies and Social Justice. The Dean shall discuss the merits of the student’s claims and advise the student of the grade review policies and procedures. The Dean shall verify that the petition is complete and that it has been submitted in a timely manner, review the petition with regards to content and advise the student on the appropriateness of further appeal to the Grade and File Review Committee.
The student shall complete and submit the Petition for Grade & File Review Form, with a typed, double-spaced written statement documenting the reason(s) for the grade dispute. The student should also include copies of graded assignments, exams, emails, etc. which may be deemed pertinent to the grade review.
The student shall provide a copy of the petition with their written statement to the instructor and Dean of Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Ethnic Studies and Social Justice. Students should keep a copy for their own records.
Once notified a petition has been filed, the instructor shall within two (2) weeks provide the Dean of Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Ethnic Studies and Social Justice a copy of the course syllabus, attendance and grade records, grade assignment, relevant emails for any additional information deemed relevant to the dispute.
The Dean will forward the file in its entirety to the Committee Chair of the Student Grade and File Review Committee.
1. Grade Review Hearing, if applicable:
Upon receipt of a formal Petition for Grade Review, the Student Grade and File Review Committee shall meet to determine if a formal hearing is warranted. Should the Committee deem a hearing is not warranted, the Committee Chair shall advise all parties of the basis for the decision by email. The grade shall stand and the grade review process shall conclude.
If the Committee determines that a hearing is warranted, the petition will be assigned to a subcommittee composed of a student, a faculty member and an administrator. The subcommittee shall convene to review the petition, request any additional information deemed relevant from the student and/or instructor, hear testimony, question witnesses and consider all available evidence relevant to the case.
The student and instructor shall have the right to present written or oral statements concerning the complaint. Each party may bring a representative; however, the representative may not ask or answer questions, offer evidence or address the subcommittee on behalf of the petitioner or faculty member.
The subcommittee shall weigh the relevance and merit of all written and oral information obtained, limiting its investigation to the specific case under review and make its recommendations to the full Committee.
The Committee shall make a final recommendation and submit that recommendation in a written report to the Chancellor. The Committee shall provide a copy of the final recommendations to the student, instructor, the appropriate department chair, and the appropriate school dean. The Chancellor may concur with or overrule the recommendation of the Committee. Only the Chancellor has the authority to change a student’s grade. The Chancellor’s decision shall be final per Education Code section 76224(a) which reads as follows:
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.
The purpose of this Procedure is to provide an equitable means by which a student may pursue a complaint for an alleged violation of college or district policy concerning any student service area program or staff such as, but not limited to: Admissions & Records, Outreach Office, Financial Aid, EOPS, CalWORKs, Scholarship Office, Matriculation Office, Student Employment, City DREAM, Counseling, DSP&S, Multicultural Retention Services: LSN, APASS, TULAY, AASP, Completion & Retention, Testing/Orientation, Guardian Scholars, HARTS, Veteran's Office, Veteran’s Resource Center, Queer Resource Center, Family Resource Center, Women’s Resource Center, Students Supporting Students, Student Health Services, and Student Conduct & Discipline.
Informal Complaint Process
A complaint should first be raised directly with the student affairs department managers.
If a direct meeting does not resolve the complaint, or if either party is unable or unwilling to meet, the complaint should be taken to the appropriate student affairs dean/associate dean.
The appropriate student affairs dean/associate dean may take the following action, including, but not limited to:
- Investigate the complaint
- Meet with any party separately or facilitate a joint meeting
- Recommend appropriate action to any party
- Redirect the matter as appropriate
Formal Complaint Process
If the Department Dean fails to resolve the complaint within 20 business days, then the student may file a formal complaint on the electronic form with the appropriate Associate Vice Chancellor or designee. The outcome and decision of the Associate Vice Chancellor or designee is considered final.
If, after the failure of the Department Dean to resolve the complaint within the 20 business days outlined above at the informal level, and the student fails to file a formal complaint within an additional 5 business days by submitting the electronic complaint form, then the matter will be considered dropped.
Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of sex in an educational institution’s programs or activities, including employment, academic, educational, extracurricular, and athletic activities (both on and off-campus).
The protections of Title IX extend to sexual assault and misconduct that impairs or interferes with access to equitable educational and employment opportunities. It applies to all members of the campus community, including students, District employees, individuals doing business with the campus, those using campus facilities, and those who engage in volunteer activities
Visit the Title IX Compliance website for more information and resources about sexual assault and harassment reporting as well as discrimination. More information on how to file a report, available resources, staff contact information, and the electronic Title IX Complaint form can be found on the Title IX/ Title 5 webpage.
Title IX Sexual Assault/Harassment
If you are a victim of on-or off-campus sexual assault or harassment committed by another CCSF student/staff member, call Campus Police at 415-239-3200 or visit Campus Police in Cloud Hall, Room 119, to file a report.
Your written complaint will be reviewed, and you may be contacted to submit additional information or to be interviewed. Appropriate action/response may also be taken by the Student Conduct & Discipline Office.
Title 5 Discrimination
If you believe that you are a victim of discrimination based on a protected category (i.e., race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, nationality), you may file a discrimination complaint with the EEO/Title IX Compliance Officer. You will also find additional resources and the electronic complaint form at the Title IX/Title 5 webpage.
Unlawful Discrimination is defined as “unfair or unequal treatment of an individual (or group) based on an actual or perceived characteristic related to ethnic group identification, immigration status, religion, age, sex or gender, gender identification, gender expression, military and veteran status, marital status, medical condition, race, color, ancestry, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability or any other characteristic protected under application federal or state law.” Section 59311(d) of Title 5.
Informal resolution efforts are optional under Title IX and Title 5 regulations and my only be implemented with the complainant’s consent.
External Appeal Process Notice (34 CFR §600.9)
Most complaints, grievances or disciplinary matters should be resolved at the campus level. The campus level is the quickest and most successful way of resolving issues involving a California Community College (CCC). You are obligated to work through the campus complaint process first before escalating issues to any of the following resources. Issues that are not resolved at the campus level may be presented to:
- The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) at http://www.accjc.org/complaint-process if your complaint is associated with the institution’s compliance with academic program quality and accrediting standards. ACCJC is the agency that accredits the academic programs of the California Community Colleges.
- To the CCC Chancellor’s Office by completing the Web form, if your complaint does not concern CCC’s compliance with academic program quality and accrediting standards.
Nothing in this disclosure should be construed to limit any right that you may have to take civil or criminal legal action to resolve your complaints.
(Statue Authorization (a) (1), Section 668.43(b))
External Appeal Process Notice
The “Jeanne Clery” Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act” requires that each institution of higher education in the United States which participates in federal student aid programs must produce and distribute an annual report containing crime statistics and statements of security policy. City College of San Francisco places a high priority on campus safety.
A copy of the Annual Security Report (ASR) for City College of San Francisco may be obtained online by visiting the Clery Act and Crime Activity Log page.