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College Policies | College Catalog

Academic Grievance Policy

The College recognizes that problems will occasionally arise between students and faculty regarding academic issues, including disputes regarding grades awarded. This academic grievance policy is intended to address those concerns. The primary objective of the policy is to ensure that students have the opportunity to present grievances regarding actions of members of the faculty and that the College has a consistent process for resolving those grievances in a fair, confidential and just manner.

Informal Resolution

The first step is for the student to attempt to resolve the grievance informally by discussing it with the faculty member. The discussion should take place within a reasonable time of the

action of the faculty member with which the student takes issue. If the matter is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction at this level, the student should discuss the grievance with the faculty member’s department chair within five (5) days of receiving the response from the faculty member. The department chair will meet with the student and, as appropriate, the faculty member, and reach a decision, which will be communicated to the student. Generally, no record will be maintained regarding a grievance resolved informally.

Formal Resolution

If the matter is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction at this level, the student may request review by the appropriate division head by submitting a written statement to the division head within thirty (30) days of the action of the faculty member with which the student takes issue. The statement should include an explanation of the problem and a description of the desired resolution. The division head will then meet with the student to discuss the grievance, and, as appropriate, the faculty member. After reviewing all relevant information, the division head will inform the student in writing of his/her decision regarding the grievance.

If the decision of the division head does not resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction, the student may request further review by submitting a statement of the problem in writing to

the associate dean for academic affairs within five (5) days after the date of the division head’s decision. The statement should include an explanation of the problem and a description of the desired resolution, along with a copy of the division head’s decision. It is within the sole discretion of the associate dean whether to accept the student’s request for review of the grievance. The decision of the associate dean is final.

Documentation of Grievances

Records related to grievances under this policy will be maintained by the office of the associate dean for academic affairs.

The full policy also is found in the student handbook, The Eagle, as well as on the College’s website at bridgewater.edu/files/EagleStudentHandbook.pdf.

Title IX

The following is a summary of the College’s Policy and Procedures for Student Sexual Misconduct Complaints. The full policy is found in the student handbook, The Eagle, as well as on the College’s website at bridgewater.edu/files/EagleStudentHandbook.pdf.

Bridgewater College endeavors to provide students and employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, an educational and work environment free from discrimination. Sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct and violence, interferes with a student’s opportunity to receive an education free from discrimination. Sexual misconduct, as defined by the policy, comprises a broad range of behavior that will not be tolerated, including exploitation, gender based harassment, non consensual sexual contact and intercourse, stalking, dating violence and domestic violence.

The policy applies to complaints of alleged sexual misconduct committed by Bridgewater College students, faculty, staff, or third parties, regardless of whether the complainant is a Bridgewater student. As with other forms of misconduct, the policy applies to sexual misconduct committed against or by a Bridgewater College student that occurs on or off the Bridgewater College campus, taking into account the effects of off-campus misconduct when evaluating whether there is a hostile environment on campus. Sexual misconduct violates Bridgewater College policy and federal civil rights laws and may also result in criminal prosecution.

Bridgewater College seeks to foster a community that promotes prompt reporting of sexual misconduct, support for those who have been subject to sexual misconduct, and prompt, fair and impartial resolution of sexual misconduct complaints. Sanctions for a violation of the policy may range from a reprimand to suspension or expulsion.

To report a possible violation of the College’s sexual misconduct policy, please contact one of the Title IX coordinators listed on page 2 of this catalog, a staff member from the Department of Student Life, or a member of the Campus Police and Safety department.

Harassment and Discrimination Grievance Procedure

The following is a summary of the Harassment and Discrimination Grievance Procedure. The full policy is found in the student handbook, The Eagle, as well as on the College’s website at bridgewater.edu/files/EagleStudentHandbook.pdf.

This procedure is available for any student who believes that he or she has been assaulted, harassed or discriminated against by any member of the College community. Allegations of sexual misconduct, including harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation, are addressed in a separate policy (see above).

Students are encouraged, but not required, to discuss their concerns directly with the person or persons involved, either in person or in writing. If a student is uncomfortable directly discussing the concern with the involved individual(s) or, after discussing it, believes that the concern is not adequately resolved, the student may utilize a more formal process.

A student may submit a formal grievance by written notification to the associate dean of students, if the act or omission giving rise to the grievance relates to conduct by a student(s), or the executive vice president if the act or omission giving rise to the grievance relates to conduct by a college employee(s). Once notified, the associate dean of students or the executive vice president, as the case may be, will seek to help the student resolve the complaint informally, if possible.

If an informal resolution is not accomplished, and the complaint relates to conduct by another student, the grievance will be resolved pursuant to the College’s existing student disciplinary procedures, including any appeal process provided in those procedures.

If the complaint relates to conduct by an employee of the College, the executive vice president or designee will investigate the complaint and determine an appropriate resolution within a reasonable timeframe. The resolution will be communicated to the student who asserted the grievance and the person whose alleged conduct gave rise to the complaint. Disciplinary action imposed under this policy may include a requirement not to repeat or continue the offending conduct, separation of the parties, attendance at relevant education programs, reprimand, reassignment, denial of pay increase, demotion, suspension, or termination of employment with the College. The decision of the executive vice president or designee is final and there is no appeal from the decision.

While all complaints are handled discreetly and on a “need-to-know” basis, the student bringing a complaint should understand that the College cannot guarantee total confidentiality in the investigative process.

General Student Grievance Procedure

The following is a summary of the General Student Grievance Procedure. The full policy is found in the student handbook, The Eagle, as well as on the College’s website at bridgewater. edu/files/EagleStudentHandbook.pdf.

It is the policy of Bridgewater College that students should have an accessible process to bring problems or complaints regarding the actions of a student, or a faculty or staff member, to the attention of the College for review and resolution. The College has policies with specific procedures to address allegations of harassment or discrimination or concerns related to academic issues. This student grievance policy is intended to provide students with an opportunity to seek resolution for issues not covered by other policies.

Students are encouraged, but not required, to discuss their concerns directly with the person or persons involved, either in person or in writing. If a student is uncomfortable directly discussing the concern with the involved individual(s) or, after discussing it, believes that the concern is not adequately resolved, the student may utilize a more formal process.

A student may submit a formal grievance in writing within ten (10) business days after the action giving rise to the grievance. If the action warranting the grievance relates to conduct by a student, the grievance should be submitted to the associate dean of students. If the action warranting the grievance relates to conduct by a faculty or staff member, the grievance should be submitted to the executive vice president. At the discretion of the associate dean of students, a grievance asserted regarding the conduct of a student may be resolved pursuant to the College’s existing student disciplinary procedures. Following receipt of a written complaint, the appropriate reviewing authority or designee will conduct an investigation of the complaint and make a determination regarding the grievance and inform the parties involved.

Every effort will be made to ensure confidentiality for all parties throughout the grievance process. While all grievances are handled discreetly and on a “need-to-know” basis, the student asserting a grievance should understand that the College cannot guarantee total confidentiality in the investigative process.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (“FERPA”) governs the privacy of student education records maintained by Bridgewater College. FERPA provides students access to their education records while also protecting their right to privacy, by limiting the transferability of records without the students’ consent. The following is a summary of the College’s FERPA policy and is intended to assist all members of the Bridgewater College community in understanding the provisions of FERPA as they apply to Bridgewater College. A complete and current statement of the College’s FERPA policy may be found on the College’s website at bridgewater. edu/ferpa.

Notification of FERPA Rights

FERPA affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
  3. The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA or another statute or regulation authorizes disclosure without consent.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-8520

Disclosure without Consent

FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in

34 C.F.R. §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Those conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • To other College officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. A College official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
  • To officials of another College to which the student seeks or intends to enroll, or in which the student is already enrolled.
  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received.
  • To a parent(s) of an eligible student if the student is a dependent of the parent(s) for IRS tax purposes.
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • In connection with a health or safety emergency if the College determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
  • To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the College, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the College determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.

Directory Information

The College has designated the following categories of student information as “Directory Information.” FERPA permits the disclosure of Directory Information at the College’s discretion, without prior written consent of the student.

  • Student Name
  • Address (permanent, local, campus, email, IP
  • Telephone number (home, campus, cell, mobile)
  • Date and place of birth
  • Previous educational institutions attended and degrees awarded
  • Current enrollment status
  • Dates of attendance
  • Current classification (e.g. freshman, full-time/part-time)
  • Major(s)/Minor(s)
  • Degree(s) sought
  • Expected date of completion of degree requirements and graduation
  • Degree(s) earned and dates awarded
  • Past and present participation in officially recognized activities, sports and organizations
  • Height and weight of members of athletic teams
  • Scholarships, honors, awards and special recognitions (including Dean’s List)

Photographic and videotaped image

The College may disclose any of this information at its discretion, without prior consent, unless the student notifies the registrar in writing that she or he does not wish to permit such disclosure. Requests for nondisclosure by the student are in effect from the date received in writing from the student until rescinded in writing by the student.