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Complaint/Grievance Policy

Complaint and Grievance Policy

Student Grievance Procedure


  1. The formal grievance procedure in no way infringes upon the important traditional informal channel of communications by which students and instructors may discuss any matter of interest to either party. Practically speaking, it is the student’s responsibility to attempt to resolve a problem with the instructor prior to the initiation of a formal grievance procedure.
  2. This procedure will not infringe upon students’ rights; however, the student who has brought the grievance will have the responsibility at each stage of the proceeding for supporting and proving the accusation. A low grade in and of itself is not the basis for an appeal, nor is the difficulty of a course or test or specific test items.
  3. This procedure will not infringe upon the academic freedom of the instructor, including the right of the instructor to evaluate students fairly and properly and assign grades in the class. Only the instructor is empowered by Northampton University to assign grades, unless a grade change is recommended by the Student Advocacy Committee as a result of the grievance procedure.
  4. At each formal stage, a written summary will be made (respectively by the faculty member, the Dean, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Chairman of the Student Advocacy Committee – if used) including a statement of reasons for any action or revision rendered.
  5. Privacy rights of both students and faculty members will be respected. Access to the summaries for all legitimate purposes will be afforded to all principals until the grievance is resolved. Copies may be retained only by those parties against whom a grievance is alleged. Neither students nor faculty members will have these records made part of any permanent record


Student Complaint Procedure


Students and professors are encouraged to work together to resolve issues that arise in the classroom.  Students and professors are also encouraged to seek assistance should a problem become severe or a resolution unlikely.  There are several options for the students when making a formal complaint.  Students can email anyone at the university and a list of email addresses and the reasons why a particular person should be contacted is available in all of the Resources Classrooms.  Complaints and grievances received by other departments are forwarded to the Executive Vice President of Student Services ( who will then categorize the complaint into one of the following:


  1. Textbooks and Course Materials
  2. Library Services
  3. Facilitation and Professor Performance
  4. Grading Consistency
  5. Administrative Effectiveness
  6. Website Malfunction/Technical Issue
  7. Program Effectiveness/Program Expectations
  8. Course Content and Accuracy

The Executive Vice President of Student Services will then take steps to investigate the issue by gathering information from the necessary departments, services, or individuals.  Working together with the proper entities, the EVP of Students Services will attempt to resolve the issue.  If the issue cannot be resolved, or if the grievance is of a personal nature involving student and faculty issues, then the EVP of Student Services will call a meeting of the Student Advocacy Committee which will meet and make recommendations.  The appropriate actions will then be taken.


The office of the Executive VP of Student Services will maintain the “Student Complaint File” which is a record of the complaint, the date of the complaint, and the actions taken to resolve the issue.  The EVP of Student Services will also complete an “End of Action Report” that will be used to maintain academic excellence and to ensure continued improvement and development of the university classrooms, resources, and services.