Student Complaints and Grievances

Definitions

Complaint - An informal claim raised by a student alleging improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory treatment involving the application of a specific rule or procedure.

Grievance - A written claim by a student alleging improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory action involving the application of a specific LSSC Board Rule or LSSC Administrative Procedure.

Appeal - A formal written request for reconsideration of an application of a rule or procedure due to serious circumstances beyond the student’s control.

How to resolve a complaint or grievance

For students who wish to file a complaint, a grievance, or appeal a decision, LSSC has adopted both an informal and formal process to ensure that students have access to a fair, equitable and timely course of action. As outlined in LSSC Administrative Procedure 4.14, students have the right to appeal administrative decisions and are encouraged to use available informal means in the resolution of the complaint prior to filing a formal grievance or appeal. 

If the matter cannot be resolved through the informal process as shown in the LSSC Resolution of Student Complaints/Grievances Chart below, the student may elect to proceed through a formal written grievance or appeal process.

LSSC Resolution of Student Complaints/Grievances Chart

Issue First Response Next Level Next Level
Admissions Assistant Director Admissions  Director of Enrollment Management VP Enrollment & Student Affairs
Advising Student's Assigned
Academic Advisor
Dean of Students (SL & SU) or Associate Dean of Students (LE)
VP Enrollment & Student Affairs
Bookstore Manager Bookstore AVP Business Affairs & Controller
Executive VP
Counseling Student's Assigned
Academic Advisor
Dean of Students VP Enrollment & Student Affairs
Accessibility/Disability Services Assistant Director, Student Accessibility Services
Associate Dean of Students
VP Enrollment & Student Affairs
Discrimination/Equity Dean of Students Equity Officer/Director of Human Resources
VP Enrollment & Student Affairs
Testing Manager, Testing Services
Dean of General Studies
AVP General Studies
Faculty Concerns Instructor Program Manager or Associate Dean of Discipline Area
Dean of General Studies or Dean of Workforce Programs
Nursing Faculty Concerns Instructor Dean of Nursing
VP Academic Affairs
Financial Aid Assistant Director Financial Aid Director Financial Aid Executive VP
Florida Residency Assistant Director Admissions Director of Enrollment Management VP Enrollment & Student Affairs
Grades Instructor Program Manager or Associate Dean of Discipline Area
Dean of General Studies or Dean of Workforce Programs
Graduation Assistant Registrar Registrar Director of Enrollment Management
Learning Center Manager, Learning and Development Center Dean of Library & Learning Center
VP Academic Affairs
Library Dean of Library & Learning Center
VP Academic Affairs N/A
Orientation Student's Assigned Academic Advisor  Associate Dean of Students
VP Enrollment & Student Affairs
Parking Director Campus Safety
Executive VP
N/A
Records Assistant Registrar Registrar
Director of Enrollment Management
Registration Assistant Registrar Registrar
Director of Enrollment Management
Security Campus Security Supervisor Director Campus Safety Executive VP
Starfish Instructor Student's Assigned
Academic Advisor
Dean of Students 
Student Accounts Assistant Bursar
Director of Cash Management
AVP Business Affairs & Controller
Student Activities, Student Life, Clubs & Organizations

LE Students: Director of Student Life
SL Students: Coordinator of Student Life

SU Students: ESA Manager Sumter Center

 Dean of Students
VP Enrollment & Student Affairs
Student Conduct Dean of Students VP Enrollment & Student Affairs N/A
 Title IX
 Title IX Coordinator/Director of Campus Safety
 Executive VP
 Designated Appeals Officer (Executive Officer)
Transcripts/Records Assistant Registrar
Registrar
Director of Enrollment Management

Student Administrative Appeals Committee

Students who are unable to resolve their complaint, grievance, or appeal through the chain of command described above may appeal in writing to the Student Administrative Appeals Committee, chaired by the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs or their designee as outlined in LSSC Administrative Procedure 4-14.  

Appeals must be based on substantive or procedural errors that are allegedly or believed to have occurred during the process or if new evidence not presented at the hearing is discovered. These errors should be addressed in the written appeal and are described as follows:

Procedural errors - when published procedures were not followed and the error(s) egregiously violated the student’s, club’s or organization’s rights.

Substantive errors - when the evidence presented at the hearing was not sufficient to justify the decision reached or if the sanction(s) imposed is (are) unreasonably harsh based upon the circumstances of the case and the prior record of the student.

New evidence - when information, existing at the time of the hearing, was not available or known to exist at the time of the hearing.

The Student Administrative Appeals Committee will review the request and determine whether or not there is sufficient justification to proceed with a formal hearing. If justification is not found, the chair will notify the student. If justification is found, the committee chair will move forward with a formal hearing within established College guidelines. The committee's decision is final and not subject to further review.

College Ombudsperson

The Title IX Coordinator serves as the College's Student Ombudsperson. Pursuant to Florida Statute 1006.51, each institution in the Florida College System must have an established procedure by which a student may appeal to the office of the ombudsman a decision that is related to the student’s access to courses and credit granted toward the degree. The Ombudsperson offers a safe and confidential environment for students to discuss concerns, problems or complaints. As an advocate, the Ombudsperson serves as an independent and unbiased mediator as students resolve academic challenges. In this vein, the Ombudsperson helps students understand College procedures, assists students in exploring possible options for resolution, and makes referrals to appropriate internal and external resources.

College Complaint Procedure Information

Federal regulations and State laws require that public colleges in The Florida College System have processes for students, employees, and applicants to file complaints against their respective college. In almost every situation, the college's process for resolving complaints must be followed first.  If a student believes that their complaint has not been addressed satisfactorily after exhausting the college's complaint or grievance procedure, they can pursue filing a complaint with the Florida Department of Education. Click here for more information.

Additional Information: Lake-Sumter State College is committed to providing prompt and equitable resolutions to students' complaints in accordance with college policy, state statutes and federal regulations. If a student or prospective student believes their complaint has not beenaddressed satisfactorily after exhausting all available complaint procedures outlined by the College, they have the right to file an external complaint with the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), the College's accreditation agency, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Office of Civil Rights and for distance education students the FL-SARA PRDEC Council:

  • SACSCOC--should be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support the College's noncompliance with an accreditation requirement or standard. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500.
  • A student may file a complaint of discrimination with the Office of Civil Rights at www.ocrcas.ed.gov.

Distance Education students, who have completed the internal institutional grievance process and the applicable state grievance process, may appeal non-instructional complaints to the FL-SARA PRDEC Council. For additional information on the complaint process, please visit the FL-SARA Complaint Process page.