Student Judicial Affairs
Fair Treatment and Grievance Policy
Detailed Board Approved Policy
All College administration, faculty, and staff support Fair Treatment of all individuals associated with the College. The purpose of this policy is:
- to assure fair and equitable treatment of all students through open communication between students, faculty, administration, and staff
- to provide students with a direction to voice concerns
- to protect student’s rights under the 14th Amendment
- to protect faculty rights to freedom of instruction
- to ensure equal and fair student evaluation by the faculty
A grievance is a student’s claim of unfair and/or non-equitable treatment regarding established policies, procedures, rules, and regulations of Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences. The student has the right to express grievances without prejudice, penalty, or recrimination.
All steps of the fair treatment procedure must be completed in proper sequence with no more than 14 calendar days elapsing between each step. If a resolution of the grievance is obtained in any given step, the resolution is considered final.
The student may seek counsel at any time from appropriate persons, such as the hospital chaplain, Student Services staff, faculty advisor, or administration.
Procedure – Step I:
The student shall schedule a conference with the involved party(ies). The conference must be scheduled within one month of the occurrence or no later than14 days after semester grades are posted/released if the grievance relates to information not known by the student until the end of the semester (see grade appeal policy if appealing a final course grade). If the conference cannot be scheduled within the one month or a 14 day time period, the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences or designee may grant a waiver for extension. The involved party must provide a written response to the complaint within five calendar days of the initial conference.
Procedure – Step II:
If the student is unable to resolve the issue directly with the involved party (ies), he/she may file a complaint with the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences or designee using the Fair Treatment and Grievance form. This form must be filed within 14 calendar days following the conference with the involved party. The form can be obtained through Student Services or on the college website. The written request must contain a statement of the grievance, the date or dates in which a conference(s) was held with the involved party (ies), and a statement outlining the student’s perception of the outcome of that conference. The student must also state his/her rebuttal with rationale to the written response received from the involved party (ies). The student should make three copies of the written Fair Treatment and Grievance Form. The original copy stays with the Dean, one copy goes to the involved party (ies) and the third copy is for the student. The Dean will schedule a conference with the student within 14 days of receipt of the Fair Treatment and Grievances Form. The Dean will conduct an investigation of the complaint, and will provide a written response to the student within 14 days of their conference meeting.
The Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences or designee shall ask the involved party to write their response in narrative form, to the Fair Treatment and Grievance claim that the student has made and submit one copy and the original to the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences.
During the investigation, the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences or designee may arrange to meet individually and/or together with both the Student and the involved party. The parties shall receive a written response from the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences or designee to the grievance within 14 calendar days of the conference. The original forms from the student and the involved party will be maintained in the Director of Student Services and External Relations office in a confidential and secure grievance file.
Procedure – Step III:
If the grievance remains unresolved, either the student or the involved party must submit a request in writing and within 14 days of receipt of the letter from the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences or designee that he/she notify the Student Affairs (SA) Committee Chair requesting a hearing to resolve the complaint. The SA Committee Chair shall set up an appropriate grievance panel to include a minimum of two students not connected with the student’s program and a minimum of two faculty members who are not involved in the grievance or who do not teach in the involved program. There shall be an equal number of faculty/students represented on the committee.
The Director of Student Services and External Relations shall chair the grievance committee. This panel shall conduct a meeting for the purpose of formulating a recommendation regarding the student’s grievance following the guidelines outlined below:
- Meetings are closed.
- Meetings are formal and confidential. The Chair will announce the hearing procedure and direct the flow of the meeting. An appointed secretary from the group shall take minutes.
- Each panel member shall have access to the written statements prior to the meeting.
- To the extent that new information is pertinent to the case under consideration, the panel or either party may ask members of the academic community (students, faculty, administration, and staff) to present information.
- The members of the panel may question both parties. Questions must be relevant to the issues of the grievance.
- Upon request from the panel, it is expected that the student and the involved party shall make available such records as are pertinent to the grievance. The confidential nature of these records shall be safeguarded with the Director of Student Services and External Relations.
- The student and involved party may each bring one Trinity College student, faculty, or staff member for support if they so desire. The support member may not address the committee but may answer questions directed by the committee.
- If the student and involved party are asked to come to a meeting for questioning and clarification, the meeting may be audiotaped. The audiotape of the meeting(s) will be safeguarded and kept by the Director of Student Services and External Relations in the confidential and secure grievance file.
- A quorum consists of a minimum of four members, excluding the Chairperson of the panel who shall only vote in case of a tie. There shall be an equal number of faculty/ students represented on the committee.
- A simple majority shall be required to make a decision.
- The panel’s decision will be made the day of the meeting.
- The panel shall prepare a written recommendation and provide one copy to the student and one copy to the involved party. Copies will be distributed within 24 hours after the conclusion of the meeting. The original copy will be maintained in the Director of Student Services and External Relations office in a confidential and secure grievance file.
Procedure – Step IV:
In the event that the student does not accept the recommendation of the grievance committee, the student or involved party must submit a request in writing within 5 days of receiving the written findings that the Chancellor of the College review the student’s grievance, and the action recommended by the committee. The Chancellor will conduct an investigation and prepare a written statement within 14 days of receiving the student’s or involved party’s written request. The decision made by the Chancellor will be final.
The Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences is committed to high quality programs at the College. The Dean is open to hearing complaints concerning faculty or curricular matters. If a student has a complaint he/she should first consult with the faculty member involved. If the student continues to have a concern, he/she should put that concern in writing and deliver it to the faculty secretary who will set up an appointment with the Dean. The complaint will remain confidential and only be shared on a need-to-know basis.
Student Services Complaints
Complaints that pertain to financial aid, bursar, admissions, and post-secondary enrollment, career development, student organizations and activities should be referred to the Director of Student Services and External Relations. The student should first consult with the person involved, and if a resolution is not satisfactory, he/she should put the concern in writing and deliver it to the student services secretary who will set up an appointment with the Director. The complaint will remain confidential and only be shared on a need-to-know basis.
Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences is committed to providing an environment that is free of sexual and/or other forms of harassment.
Students who believe they have been sexually harassed should report such activity to the Dean/Program Coordinator/Director of Student Services & External Relations.
Sexual harassment is illegal under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for employees and under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for students. In addition, the State of Illinois discrimination laws prohibit sexual harassment.
Title IX Policy
Title IX of the education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. §1861 et.seq.) prohibits any entity that receives federal student financial assistance from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. Therefore, it is the policy of Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences that no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under an academic, extra-curricular, research, occupational training, or other education program or activity conducted or sponsored by the College. This also includes discrimination on the basis of sex in employment decisions and in admissions. It is the policy of Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences that no action may be taken in retaliation against anyone making a good faith report of a Title IX violation.
Sexual harassment, including acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Sexual violence refers not only to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will, but also to instances in which a person is incapable of giving consent due to his or her use of drugs or alcohol or a mental or other disability. Other forms of sexual harassment include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
The College has designated the Director of Student Services & External Relations as the Title IX coordinator.
Trinity students or employees who believe that they are the victims of sexual or other forms of harassment should bring this fact to the attention of any of the following:
- Director of Student Services and External Relations (Title IX Coordinator)
- Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences
- Employee Relations Manager, Human Resources, Trinity Medical Center
- Corporate Compliance Committee, Trinity Regional Health System
The Title IX Coordinator will ensure that training is provided to students and any employees likely to witness or receive reports of sexual harassment on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to file a complaint that such harassment has occurred. All reports of violations or harassment will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. The Title IX Coordinator will also maintain appropriate documentation regarding training and the receipt of complaints and their investigation and resolution.
All members of the Trinity College community are expected to comply with this policy and violations of it may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from the College. Likewise, all members of the College community are expected to report violations to the title IX coordinator, and if necessary, intervene whenever instances of sexual harassment are observed.
This policy will be disseminated within the College community, including in electronic and printed publications of general distribution that provide information to students and employees about the College’s services and policies.
Office for Civil Rights:
Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX also may be made to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights located at 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
Procedures for Handling Complaints under Title IX: Including Sexual Harassment
Any student, faculty, staff, or other person who believes he/she has experienced or witnessed conduct prohibited by Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences under its Title IX policy must immediately notify the College’s Title Coordinator who is the Director of Student Services & External Relations at 309-779-7700.
All reports of sexual discrimination, including sexual harassment will be promptly and thoroughly investigated by an appropriate College official.
If the complainant requests confidentiality or requests that the Report not be pursued, the College will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the Report consistent with the request. In such cases, however, the ability of the College to respond to the Report may be limited. Moreover, requests for confidentiality will be weighed against the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students and employees. Therefore, the request for confidentiality cannot be guaranteed but will be weighed against such factors as, but not limited to: the seriousness of the alleged offense, the complainant’s age, and whether there have been other complaints against the same individual. All participants in any Report are encouraged to respect confidentiality to protect the privacy and reputations of all individuals involved. Obviously, individuals may have appropriate and confidential discussions with the counseling center regarding the matter. Any unauthorized breach of confidentiality may result in disciplinary proceedings up to and including expulsion from the College and discharge from employment.
No person will suffer employment, educational, or other program consequences as a result of making a good faith Report or taking part in the investigation of a Report. However, an individual who alleges a Report against another, which that individual knows to be false or frivolous, will be subject to the full range of corrective action, up to and including discharge or expulsion form the College.
During the investigation, both the Complainant and the Respondent will be given the opportunity to present witnesses and other relevant evidence. The goal is to have the investigation completed within 10 business days. Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be given periodic status updates. If a related criminal complaint has been filed, it may be necessary to delay the College’s investigation of the Report so as not to interfere with the criminal investigation. However, the College’s investigation will not be deferred until final disposition of the criminal proceeding.
The College will act to ensure a respectful environment, which includes considering any interim measure that may be required to ensure that any improper conduct ceases immediately, and taking corrective action to prevent recurrence of the inappropriate conduct.
The validity of the Report will be based on a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard. Final decision on Reports will be made as follows:
Reports against students will be decided according to the Student Code of Conduct.
Reports against faculty will be decided according to the guidelines as outlined in the Faculty Handbook and the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences.
Reports against staff, including administrators will be decided by the Chancellor.
Report against a dean or director will be decided by the Chancellor.
Reports against the Chancellor will be decided by the Chair of the Board.
Trinity College will inform the Complainant and the Respondent in writing of the outcome of the investigation. If a violation is found, the Complainant will also be advised of the sanction or disciplinary action imposed, if any.
Either the Complainant or Respondent may appeal decisions on Reports, including corrective action if any. However, any challenge to the actual finding of a violation must be based on newly discovered evidence, which had it been available at the time of the original investigation, would have had a substantial likelihood of resulting in a different decision. A challenge to the disciplinary action taken must be based on an assertion that it is disproportionate to the offense.
Appeals of Reports against students: The appeal procedures are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct and are incorporated by reference in this policy.
Appeals of Reports against faculty: The Complainant or Respondent may appeal a decision, including corrective action if any, to the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences within 10 business days, absent extenuating circumstances. The decision of the Dean is final.
Appeals of Reports against staff including administrators: The Complainant or Respondent may appeal a decision, including corrective action if any, to the Chancellor within 10 business days of that decision absent extenuating circumstances. The decision of the Chancellor is final.
In cases of the resolution of a Report, against a dean or director, the Complainant or Respondent may seek reconsideration of the Chancellor’s decision and the Chancellor may, in his/her discretion, designate another individual or individuals to recommend a decision on reconsideration. The decision of the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee on reconsideration is final.
In cases of resolution of a Report against the Chancellor, the Complainant or Respondent may seek reconsideration of the Chair of the Board’s decision and the Chair may designate an individual or individuals to recommend a decision on reconsideration. The decision of the Chair of the Board or the Chair’s designee on reconsideration is final.
Appeals must be in writing and contain the following information:
- Name, college address, and email address of the Complainant.
- Name, college address, and email address of the Respondent.
- A statement of all decisions, including corrective action if any, at all levels in the process.
- A detailed statement of the basis for the appeal including the specific facts and circumstances in support of the appeal.
- Requested action, if any.
The College official or his/her designee deciding the appeal may take any and all actions that in his/her discretion she/she determines are in the interest of a fair and just decision. The Complainant or Respondent may request a meeting with the College official, however, the decision to grant a meeting is at the discretion of the College official. The College official may uphold, reverse, or modify any decision or corrective action, forward the matter for action under any applicable College policy, or take any other action in the interest of a full and fair resolution of the appeal. The College official will make his/her decision and notify the Complainant, Respondent, underlying decision maker, and others on a need to know basis in writing as soon as reasonably possible under the circumstances.