At Relay, a grievance is considered a formal difference or dispute between a student and an employee of the institution about (a) the interpretation and/or application of the institution’s non-academic policies and procedures, or (b) provision of services, by members of the institution’s faculty or staff, that negatively affects the student. Relay provides its students a grievance policy so that there is a process for seeking to resolve alleged policy violations that directly affect students, where the violation is caused by any employee of the Relay community while acting in an official capacity (e.g., faculty member, administrator, staff member). Students have the right to file a grievance without fear of unfair treatment from Relay faculty or staff.
A grievance may be based on one of the following claims:
- failure to provide services;
- arbitrary and/or capricious actions by an employee of the institution;
- policy or procedure applied unfairly and/or in a different manner than it was applied to others;
- administrative error in the application of the policy or procedure.
A grievance differs from an appeal of an academic decision (e.g., grade appeals, academic dismissals, sanctions as a result of academic dishonesty, etc.), as it deals with service issues and not the actual outcomes of coursework.
A student may file a grievance in the cases of an unresolved difference or dispute between themselves and employees of the institution related to services rendered or non-academic decisions. This policy covers matters outside the scope of other institutional policies.
When a student has a grievance with a Relay employee, the student is strongly encouraged to address the faculty or staff member directly to see if a prompt and fair resolution is feasible. Relay provides an Ombudsman to support students with scheduling and facilitating such discussions. If the discussion with the faculty or staff member is not successful, or the student feels they cannot raise the issue directly with the person, the student can appeal to the employee’s manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If no satisfactory resolution is made through these means, the student may file an official grievance by submitting a student grievance form within 30 calendar days of the action or error. The student should indicate the nature of the grievance, the remedy they are seeking, and any previous attempts to resolve the grievance.
A representative from the Student Affairs and Student Services team will receive and review the formal grievance and respond to the student within 3–5 business days. The representative from the Student Affairs and Student Services team will share a copy of the grievance with the relevant Relay faculty and staff members, serve as a facilitator of the grievance process, and maintain copies of the grievance and all supporting documents.
Please note that the details of the grievance, including any written statement, may have to be disclosed in whole or in part with the person against whom the grievance has been raised in order to reach a resolution.
If the student is not satisfied with the institution’s response to the grievance, they may file an appeal, in writing, to the Student Affairs and Student Services team via email@example.com within 5 business days of receiving the outcome.
If a grievance is not settled to the student’s satisfaction, the student may contact Relay’s accrediting agency, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and/or the relevant state agency where Relay is authorized to operate. See Appendix A for a listing of Relay’s accreditors and state authorizing bodies and their contact information.
Student grievances relating to consumer protection laws offered under the terms and conditions of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) must first be filed with Relay to seek resolution. If a satisfactory resolution is not found, the student may appeal Relay’s decision to the New York State Education Department’s Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE), in its capacity as the state portal entity for the state of New York under SARA. Be advised that OCUE will only consider complaints that were previously unresolved by Relay and may refer a complaint to another agency for investigation if necessary.
For grievances pertaining to educator preparation program requirements and educator certification/licensure, students may also contact the relevant state teacher-certifying/licensing agency.
California Students: The full institutional grievance process is available to California students in Relay’s online programs. Relay encourages students located in California to utilize the institutional grievance process; however, California students have the right to file a complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs at any time.
Texas Students: Certification candidates or former certification candidates in Relay’s Texas Alternative Certification Program or Texas Post-Baccalaureate Certification Program, applicants for candidacy in the Relay educator preparation programs, employees or former employees of Relay, cooperating teachers, mentors, and administrators in partnering school districts, charter schools, or private schools may submit a complaint pertaining to educator preparation program requirements listed in Title 19 of Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §§ 227, 228, 229, ethics (19 TAC § 247), fingerprinting (19 TAC §§ 227, 232), and certification (19 TAC §§ 230, 231, 232, 239, 241, 242) for investigation and resolution in accordance with the Texas Educator Preparation Program Complaint Policy.