Grievance Procedures

It is the policy of Bridgewater College that students should have an accessible process to bring problems or complaints to the attention of the College for review and resolution.  Because those concerns may involve various parties (e.g. other students or faculty/staff) and issues (e.g, academics or student relationships or student services), different procedures have been developed that best address the parties and issues involved.

Academic Grievance Procedure

The primary objectives of the Academic Grievance Procedure are to ensure that students have the opportunity to present grievances to Bridgewater College regarding academic actions or inactions by  members of the Bridgewater College faculty, and that the College has a consistent way of resolving those grievances in a fair and just manner.

The College recognizes that problems will occasionally arise. It is usually in the best interest of both the College and the student to resolve such problems as soon as possible at the lowest possible administrative level. In order that students may be assured fairness in the consideration of such problems, a process of appeal and review to higher levels of authority has been established.

  1. The student should first attempt to resolve his/her grievance informally by discussing it with the faculty member. It is anticipated that satisfactory resolution can usually be achieved at that level. If the matter is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student may seek further review by submitting a statement of the problem in writing to the associate dean for academic affairs. The statement should include an explanation of the problem, a listing of the facts relevant to it, a summary of any action or attempted resolution undertaken by the student, and a description of the desired resolution. The statement must be presented to the associate dean for academic affairs within fifteen (15) days of the occurrence of the problem. The associate dean will then meet with the student to discuss the grievance. After reviewing all relevant information, the associate dean will inform the student in writing of his/her decision regarding the grievance, normally within ten (10) working days after receiving the statement.
  2. If the decision of the associate dean 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 vice president and dean for academic affairs.  The statement should include an explanation of the problem, a listing of the facts relevant to it, a summary of any action or attempted resolution undertaken by the student, and a description of the desired resolution, along with a copy of the associate dean’s decision. The statement must be presented to the vice president within five (5) days after the date of the associate dean’s decision. Whether to accept such request and review the grievance is within the sole discretion of the vice president. If the vice president accepts the request, she/he will inform the student in writing of her/his decision regarding the grievance within ten (10) working days after receiving the statement. The decision of the vice president and dean for academic affairs is final and there is no further appeal following the vice president’s decision.

General Student Grievance Procedure

It is the policy of Bridgewater College that students should have an accessible process to bring problems or complaints to the attention of the College for review and resolution.  The College has policies with specific procedures to address allegations of harassment or concerns related to academic issues. The Student Grievance Policy is intended to provide students with an opportunity to seek resolution for issues not covered by those policies. Please note that the procedures in this Policy may not be used to challenge disciplinary or Honor Council decisions, appeals for which are addressed in other policies.

Informal Resolution

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 her/his concern with the involved individual(s) or, after discussing it, believes that the concern is not adequately resolved, the student should utilize the formal process described below.

Formal Resolution

A student may file a formal grievance regarding a complaint about a student or faculty or staff member according to the procedure outlined below. The grievance must be submitted in writing within ten (10) business days after the action warranting the grievance.

If the action warranting the grievance relates to conduct by a student, the grievance should be submitted to the 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.

Students must submit in writing the following information.

  • Name and phone number of the person filing the grievance.
  • The name(s) of the individual(s) or office against which the grievance is being alleged
  • A detailed description of the action warranting the grievance (to include how the student has been harmed or treated unfairly) and what the student believes would be a fair and equitable resolution.
  • The date or period of time that the action occurred.
  • A list of any other people who were either involved or witnessed the action.

Within seven (7) business days of receipt of a written complaint, the appropriate reviewing authority (outlined above) will initiate an investigation of the complaint. If a hearing is a part of the investigation, representatives of the parties involved may not attend the hearing.

The investigation will be completed in a timely fashion and within a reasonable time frame based on the nature of the complaint. Following the investigation, the appropriate reviewing authority (outlined above) will make a determination and inform the parties involved. The determination shall include remedial actions necessary, if any, to resolve the grievance. The determination of the reviewing authority shall be the final decision on the matter.

Every effort will be made to ensure confidentiality for all parties throughout the grievance process.

Documentation of Grievances

Documents related to grievances will be maintained in the office of the dean of students or the office of the executive vice president, as appropriate.  A report of all grievances handled will be submitted to the president at the conclusion of each academic year.

It is a violation of College policy for anyone to retaliate against any person making a complaint of harassment and/or discrimination or against any person cooperating in the investigation of (including testifying as a witness to) any allegation of harassment and discrimination. For these purposes, "retaliation" includes intimidation, threats or harassment against any Complainant or third party. Retaliation should be reported promptly to Campus Police and Safety or the Department of Student Life and may result in disciplinary action independent of the sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations.

Harassment and Discrimination Grievance Procedure

This process is intended for any student who believes that he or she has been assaulted, harassed or discriminated against by any member of the College community where the allegations do not involve sexual misconduct. Allegations of sexual misconduct are addressed in a separate policy.

Any student that believes that he or she has been assaulted, harassed or discriminated against should promptly notify the dean of students, the associate dean of students, or any area coordinator. If the complaint relates to conduct by a staff member of the department of student life, a student may notify the executive vice president. Once notified, the department of student life (or the executive vice president, as the case may be) will help the student resolve the complaint informally, if appropriate, or will support the student in pursuing a more formal response.

If the complaint relates to conduct by another student, the department of student life will handle the complaint in one of the following ways. Minor complaints will be handled by the department of student life, which will investigate the complaint and determine the appropriate disciplinary action. Serious complaints will be referred to the Judicial Hearing Board, provided, however, that the administration reserves the right to act without Judicial Hearing Board action in cases where the conduct giving rise to the complaint is egregious and not reasonably disputed. Disciplinary action imposed may include a requirement not to repeat or continue the offending conduct, separation of the parties, attendance at relevant education programs, reprimand, reassignment, probation, suspension or expulsion from the College.

If the complaint relates to conduct by an employee of the College, the dean of students (or the executive vice president, as the case may be), or her or his designee, will investigate the complaint and determine appropriate disciplinary action. The action will be communicated to the student who brought the complaint and the person whose alleged conduct gave rise to the complaint. It is anticipated that in most cases this communication will occur within 25 days of the date of the complaint. Disciplinary action imposed under this paragraph 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.

While complaints do not have to be in writing, written complaints are preferred.

If the student bringing the complaint chooses, he or she may participate in a less adversarial process whereby the student and the person whose alleged conduct gave rise to the complaint mediate the complaint with the support of appropriate College staff. A student wishing to mediate his or her complaint should indicate this when bringing the complaint.

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. College action and legal action (criminal or civil) are not mutually exclusive. Students may pursue all remedies available to them.

It is a violation of College policy for anyone to retaliate against any person making a complaint of harassment and/or discrimination or against any person cooperating in the investigation of (including testifying as a witness to) any allegation of harassment and discrimination. For these purposes, "retaliation" includes intimidation, threats or harassment against any Complainant or third party. Retaliation should be reported promptly to Campus Police and Safety or the Department of Student Life and may result in disciplinary action independent of the sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations.

Counseling and Support Resources

On Campus

Mr. Randy Hook | 540-828-5358
Dr. Chip Studwell | 540-828-5370
Dr. Leslie Frere | 540-828-5382
Dr. Robert Andersen | 540-828-5350
John Manson | 540-828-5324
Paige French, Licensed Nurse Practitioner | 540-828-5384
Area Coordinators
Resident Advisors

Off Campus

Crime Victim Assistance Info-Line | 888-887-3418

Sexual Misconduct/Title IX

Bridgewater College is committed to providing all students with an educational environment free from discrimination. Learn more about our sexual assault policy and procedures.

Questions Regarding Grievance Procedures?

Dr. Leona A. Sevick
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
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Dr. Leslie M. Frere
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
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Roy Ferguson
Executive Vice President
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