Processes for Complaints and Grievances

Trinity strives to provide an environment that is conducive to learning, respectful of all persons, and a model for fairness and justice for all students, faculty, staff and guests on campus.  The many policies and procedures listed on Trinity’s website, in the academic catalog, and the various handbooks strive to respect and protect the rights of each person on campus, to accord due process, and to ensure integrity in all matters.

From time to time, individuals on Trinity’s campus may wish to register concerns about various issues, complaints about specific incidents, and to seek redress through internal grievance processes.  This policy statement augments statements about appeals, complaints and grievances found in the specific policies and handbooks.

In general, for all academic appeals of grades, suspensions or dismissals, students should follow the procedures set forth in the academic policy handbooks for their respective academic units.  These procedures are also recited in the academic catalog.

For staff personnel, the Employee Handbook addresses staff complaints and grievance procedures.

For faculty personnel, the Faculty Handbook addresses faculty complaints and grievance procedures.

For other concerns or complaints, please follow these guidelines:

Students:  Complaint Management and Grievance Processes

Students may have concerns or complaints that are not related to the specific issues of academic grade appeals, or appeals from suspensions or dismissals, that have specific appeals processes set forth in the academic policy handbooks of each academic unit.  Additionally, the policy statements on Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and other policy statements contain specific directions for reporting specific incidents.

For all other concerns and complaints, whether about specific academic or co-curricular programs, or about conduct or conditions on campus, students should follow this process:

Reporting Your Concern or Complaint

1.  If the matter is about a specific issue involving a staff or faculty member, the student should first attempt to resolve the complaint directly with the staff person or faculty member responsible for the topic in question.

2.  If the concern or complaint is about an academic program, the student should address the complaint to the dean of the academic unit.

3.  If the concern or complaint is about an administrative department or service, the student should address the complaint to the head of the department.  See the list of contact information at the end of this section.

4.  If the student cannot resolve the complaint through direct contact with the staff or faculty member, the academic dean or administrative head of the department, the student may register the concern or complaint directly to the Provost for all academic matters, and to the President for all other administrative and service issues.

5.  In all cases, Trinity’s preferred practice is to receive complaints or statements of concern in writing.  Written statements make it possible to preserve records of the issues, to ascertain the facts accurately, and to avoid confusion that can arise with oral communications.  For this purpose, Trinity urges students to submit concerns or complaints in writing via email to the responsible persons listed below.

6.  Upon reviewing the statement from the student, the dean or other manager may respond directly to the student; may ask the student to meet for further discussion; or may send the statement on to the most appropriate person for review and response.  Responses will be in writing to ensure thoroughness, accuracy of facts and clarity of the resolution of the matter.

7.  If the matter remains unresolved at lower levels of review, the student may address the concern or complaint to the President for an additional final review.

Students need to be aware that not all complaints result in a resolution in the student’s favor.  Students have a right to be heard, to have the complaint taken seriously and reviewed for appropriate application of Trinity’s policies and procedures.  Students do not have a right to a specific requested result.

Contact Information for Administration of Student Complaint Processes:

Academic Concerns and Complaints

College of Arts and Sciences:
Dean Sita Ramamurti

School of Professional and Graduate Studies:
Dean Thomas Mostowy

School of Nursing and Health Professions:
Dean Brigid Noonan

General Academic Concerns and Complaints:
Dr. Carlota Ocampo, Provost

Administrative Concerns and Complaints:

Issues in Student Life, Residence Life, Athletics, Health Services:

Dr. Karen Gerlach, Vice President for Student Affairs

Dean Michele Bowie, Dean of Student Services

Financial Aid, Registration, Enrollment Processes:

Ms. Cathy Geier, Vice President for Enrollment Services

Campus Safety:

Director of Public Safety, Andrea Glascoe

Technology Services:

Mr. Michael Burback, Vice President for Technology Services202-884-9812

Human Resources:

Ms. Tracey Prince Ross, Executive Director of Human Resources

For all other complaints and final appeals:

President Patricia McGuire

Students who have exhausted the university’s grievance process without a satisfactory outcome may file a complaint with the Higher Education Licensure Commission.  The HELC does not however mitigate grade complaints or financial disputes.

HELC contact information:

Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Higher Education Licensure Commission
1050 First Street, NE 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20002

Read more about HELC’s complaint process