Student Rights & Complaints

Student Rights & Complaints

Students who would like to request a change of a final grade that they received in any course,  may do so by submitting a Change of Grade form.  A copy of the complete procedures may be found in AP4231. 

A student may file a grievance if they reasonably believe that a decision has affected their right to college services. A copy of the complete procedures may be found in AP5530.

Grade Changes

In any course of instruction in a California Community College District for which grades are awarded, the instructor of the course shall determine the grade to be awarded each student. The determination of the student’s grade by the instructor shall be final in the absence of bad faith, fraud, incompetence, or mistake (Education Code §72224). The legal definitions are as follows:

BAD FAITH - The opposite of “good faith”, generally implying or involving actual or constructive fraud, or a design to mislead or deceive another, or a neglect or refusal to fulfill some duty or some contractual obligation, not prompted by an honest mistake as to one’s rights or duties, but by some interested or sinister motive.

FRAUD - An intentional perversion of truth for the purpose of inducing another in reliance upon it to part with some valuable thing belonging to him or to surrender a legal right; a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury; any kind of artifice employed by one person to deceive another. A generic term, embracing all multifarious means which human ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get advantage over another by false suggestions or by suppression of truth, and includes all surprise, trick, cunning, dissembling, and any unfair way by which another is cheated. “Bad faith” and “fraud” are synonymous, and also synonyms of dishonesty, infidelity, faithlessness, perfidy, unfairness, etc.

INCOMPETENCY - Lack of ability, legal qualification, or fitness to discharge the required duty.

MISTAKE - Some unintentional act, omission, or error arising from ignorance, surprise, imposition, or misplaced confidence.

The removal or change of an incorrect grade from a student’s record shall only be done pursuant to Education Code §76232 or by an alternative method that ensures that each student shall be afforded an objective and reasonable review of the requested grade change. In all cases, the instructor who first awarded the grade will be given written notice of the change.

For more information about the process for requesting a grade change please refer to AP 4231, located here.

To request a Grade Change please use the Student Request for Grade Change form, which requires Adobe Reader (downloaded for free from https://get.adobe.com/reader/), found here.

 

Student Grievances

The procedure is outlined in AP 5530, found here.

The purpose of this procedure is to provide a prompt and equitable means of resolving student grievances. These procedures shall be available to any student who reasonably believes a college decision or action has adversely affected his or her status, rights or privileges as a student. The procedures shall include, but not be limited to, grievances regarding:

  • Sex discrimination as prohibited by Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972

  • Financial aid

  • Course grades to the extent permitted by Education Code §76224(a), which provides: "When grades are given for any course of instruction taught in a community college District, the grade given to each student shall be the grade determined by the instructor of the course and the determination of the student's grade by the instructor, in the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, shall be final." “Mistake” may include, but is not limited to errors made by an instructor in calculating a student’s grade and clerical errors. Prior to filing a grievance, students should refer to AP 4231 for the process to request a change of grade.

  • The exercise of rights of free expression protected by state and federal constitutions and Education Code §76120.

This procedure does not apply to:

a) Student disciplinary actions, which are covered under separate Board Policies and Administrative Procedures (AP 5520).

b) Police citations - complaints about citations issued by the Campus Sheriff's Department for violations such as parking and registration, may be appealed through the     Campus Sheriff's Department, however, citations issued by off campus LASD personnel must be appealed through the County Courthouse.

Informal Resolution:

Students should attempt to resolve the matter on an informal basis prior to requesting a grievance hearing. The student should attempt to solve the problem with the person with whom the student has the grievance, the person’s immediate supervisor, or the local college administration.

If a student is unable to find an informal resolution and believes he or she has a grievance, they must file a Statement of Grievance Form detailing time(s), place(s), and nature of grievance which must be filed with the Office of Vice President of Student Services within 10 days of the incident on which the grievance is based, or 10 days after the student learns the basis for the grievance, whichever is later.  The Statement of Grievance, whether or not the student has already initiated efforts at finding an informal resolution, must be filed within the timeline, if the student wishes the grievance to become official.  Within 10 days following receipt of the Statement of Grievance Form, the office of Vice President of Student Services shall advise the student of his or her rights and responsibilities under these procedures, and assist the student, if necessary, in the final preparation of the Statement of Grievance form.

If at the end of 10 days following the student’s first meeting with the office of the Vice President of Student Services, there is no informal resolution of the complaint which is satisfactory to the student, the student has the right to request a grievance hearing.

To file a statement of grievance please contact the office of the Vice President for Student Services at (661) 722-6303.

Request for Grievance Hearing:

Students must file a request for a Grievance Hearing within 10 days after filing the Statement of Grievance form. Within 30 days following receipt of the Request for Grievance Hearing, the Superintendent/President or designee shall appoint a Grievance Hearing Committee as described above, and the Grievance Hearing Committee shall meet in private and without the parties present to select a chair and to determine on the basis of the Statement of Grievance whether it presents sufficient grounds for a hearing.

The determination of whether the Statement of Grievance presents sufficient grounds for a hearing shall be based on the following:

  • The statement contains facts which, if true, would constitute a grievance under these procedures;
  • The grievant is a student as defined in these procedures, which include applicants and former students;
  • The grievant is personally and directly affected by the alleged grievance;
  • The grievance was filed in a timely manner;
  • The grievance is not clearly frivolous, clearly without foundation, or clearly filed for purposes of harassment.

If the grievance does not meet each of the requirements, the Grievance Hearing Committee chair shall notify the student in writing of the rejection of the Request for a Grievance Hearing, together with the specific reasons for the rejection and the procedures for appeal. This notice will be provided within 10 days of the date the decision is made by the Grievance Hearing Committee.

If the Request for Grievance Hearing satisfies each of the requirements, the grievance officer shall schedule a grievance hearing. The hearing will begin within 30 days following the decision to grant a Grievance Hearing. All parties to the grievance shall be given not less than 10 days notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.

Hearing Procedure:

The hearing will be closed and confidential unless all parties request that it be open to the public.  Witnesses may be called to introduce oral and written testimony relevant to the issues of the matter.  In a closed hearing, witnesses shall not be present at the hearing when not testifying, unless all parties and the committee agree to the contrary.  Within 10 days following the close of the hearing, a written decision will be sent by the committee to the Superintendent/President.

Superintendent/President’s Decision:

Within 10 days following receipt of the Grievance Hearing Committee's decision and recommendation(s), the Superintendent/President shall send to all parties his or her written decision, together with the Hearing Committee's decision and recommendations. The Superintendent/President may accept or reject the findings, decisions, and recommendations of the Hearing Committee.

The decision of the Superintendent/President shall be final, subject only to appeal as provided below.

Appeal:

Any appeal relating to a Grievance Hearing Committee decision that the Statement of Grievance does not present a grievance as defined in these procedures shall be made in writing to the Superintendent/President within 30 days of that decision. The Superintendent/ President’s decision whether or not to grant a grievance hearing shall be final and not subject to further appeal.

Last updated: February 15, 2018