William James College Student Complaint & Resolution Procedures

NC SARA Approved Institution Round LogoWilliam James College has been approved by Massachusetts to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education.

The William James College student complaint and resolution procedure is a two-step process. The initial responsibility for the investigation and resolution of student complaints resides with William James College, under the details found in Step 1. If additional resolution becomes necessary, students are directed to follow Step 2.

Step 1 - Applies to all William James College Students

William James College makes every effort to resolve student complaints internally using policies and procedures outlined in the current Academic and Student Handbooks (see links below). The complaint process is the same for all students, regardless of physical location. It is expected that students will utilize our outlined procedures to address concerns and/or complaints in a timely manner. The following is William James College grievances policy, as outlined in the Student Handbook. While the following is an excerpt, we encourage students to always reference the most up to date Student Handbook, available on our website, in case changes are made in the future.

In matters that are not concerned with the appeal of course grades or any other subject for which a specific grievance policy/procedure is otherwise provided (e.g., discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation), students must first discuss the matters of concern with their advisor, their Department Chair, or with the Dean of Students to determine whether some informal resolution of a problem can be achieved. In those instances when the matter cannot be informally resolved and the student wishes to pursue a complaint, the student must follow the following process.

Within 21 days of the occurrence of the objectionable behavior or establishment of objectionable condition, the student must submit a written complaint to the VPAA. Complaints must (a) clearly and succinctly state the objectionable behavior or condition, describe the remedy being sought and (b) provide any pertinent background information/documentation to support a justification of an investigation.

On the basis of the written presentation of the complaint and upon information gathered through any other initial fact-finding, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, may (a) dismiss the complaint, or (b) engage parties to the complaint as well as any other appropriate personnel in an informal dispute resolution process, and/or convene a special review panel.

If the VPAA decides to convene a formal review panel, membership shall be comprised of the Dean of Students (or his/her designee) who will chair the panel; and three faculty members, one of whom shall be a member of the Academic Policies and Standards Committee. It will be the review panel’s responsibility to consider the complaint, collect and consider evidence, hear testimony, and to provide a recommended remedy to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs carefully weighs the review panel’s recommendations and then makes a determination.

The Student Handbook also includes specific policies and procedures on:

  • Academic Records and Forms
  • Academic Advising
  • Academic Integrity
  • Communication Policies, including IT, computer, phone, printing, etc.
  • Disability Services Accommodations and Procedures
  • Discrimination Policies
  • Financial Aid Policies
  • General Academic Policies
  • Grade Appeals
  • Guidelines on Professional Behavior
  • Library
  • Facilities, parking, room reservations, safety and security
  • Sexual Harassment, Title IX
  • Social Media and Branding
  • Stages of Enrollment
  • Tuition Fees and Payment Policies

Additional student support resources include, but are not limited to:

Step 2 - If your complaint is NOT resolved in Step 1

Massachusetts Residents: Massachusetts residents may refer complaints to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education through the complaint form located at: www.mass.edu/forstufam/complaints/complaintform.asp

Further information can be obtained through:
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s legal office
Phone: (617) 994-6963
DHE Complain Policy and Procedures: www.mass.edu/forstufam/documents/Final%20DHE%20Complaint%20Policy.pdf

Out-of-State Students residing in all SARA states (every US state except California), may submit complaints to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education through the SARA Student Complaint form: www.mass.edu/foradmin/sara/complaints.asp 

Contact Information
Alex Nally 
SARA Coordinator 
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education 
One Ashburton Place, Room 1401 
Boston, MA 02108 
Email: SARAInquiries@dhe.mass.edu 
State website: www.mass.edu/sara 

Should an issue need further support, it will be referred to the Consumer Protection Division of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Division and/or the Public Charities Division of the Attorney General’s Office. The Consumer Hotline for the Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy & Response Division can be reached at 617-727-8400. 

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