Ouachita Baptist University is committed to serving its constituents with integrity and fairness. The university takes complaints seriously, works to resolve them in ways that honor our Christian mission and values, and provides appropriate avenues of appeal for students and constituents who seek redress of grievances. This policy provides a procedure for registering complaints and seeking their resolution. The policy and the formal complaint form may be accessed from the Consumer Information web page, here.
NOTE: This policy does not apply to sexual-harassment complaints. Such complaints, whether involving students or employees, should be reported to Ouachita’s Title IX Coordinator, Mr. Phil Hardin.
The Faculty-Staff Manual, Tiger Handbook, and the university catalogs (General Catalog, OBU at New Life Church Catalog, and Ouachita Online Catalog) include procedures for addressing certain specific complaints and grievances not mentioned below. This policy does not replace those procedures.
I. INFORMAL RESOLUTION
Individuals who have complaints or concerns should first seek to resolve them informally by communicating directly with the individual(s) involved or responsible. Anyone who wants to make an informal complaint but is unsure which office or individual to contact may call the university’s toll-free number at 1-800-342-5628 or send an email message describing the situation to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
II. FORMAL COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS
In the event that a complaint cannot be resolved informally, an individual may file a formal, written complaint or appeal. Such formal complaints fall into two categories: Student Academic Appeals and Constituent Complaints.
A. Student Academic Appeals
Students who are currently enrolled in Ouachita Baptist University (including courses and programs offered online or off-campus) and those who were enrolled the previous semester or term may file a formal appeal for addressing an academic complaint. These appeals include, but are not limited to, the following. Appeals should be made in writing as indicated below. Do not use the online complaint form for student academic appeals.
1) Academic policy appeals: A student who seeks an exception to academic policy or believes a particular application of policy is unfair, arbitrary, or otherwise harmful may appeal in writing to the Academic Deans’ Council. Appeal forms are available in the Office of the Registrar and on the Registrar’s web page, here.
2) Grade appeals: A final grade assigned in a course may be challenged by the student through Monday of the tenth week of classes of the next full semester. A formal grade appeal will not be considered until the student has first informally communicated with the instructor. If informal communication has not resolved the issue, the student may submit in writing an appeal first to the instructor, then, in sequence, to the department chair, dean, and vice president for academic affairs. If the appeal is denied at each level of review, the student may submit a final written appeal to the University Registrar, who will convene a three-person subcommittee of the Curriculum and Academic Standards Committee to consider the appeal. This subcommittee will not include any member previously involved in the appeal. The results of this subcommittee’s decision are final.
3) Academic integrity appeals: A student charged with violating the Covenant on Academic Honor may appeal the decision of the Judicial Council in writing to the Academic Deans’ Council.
B. Constituent Complaints
Both students and non-students may file constituent complaints, including but not limited to issues regarding facilities, events, programs, services, and campus activities, using the form available here.
Formal complaints must be submitted in writing within one year after the alleged grievance occurred. Student academic appeals should be submitted as indicated in II.A. above. Constituent complaints must be submitted using the form available below. Each submitted complaint will receive an email response to verify that the complaint has been received. If there has been no prior attempt by the complainant to resolve the matter informally, the complainant will be advised to follow the informal process first. Policies stated in the Tiger Handbook, Faculty-Staff Manual, Catalog, or in other official university publications and websites will apply.
Based on the complaint and information obtained through investigation, the responsible individual(s) will decide the facts surrounding the issue, determine the complaint’s validity, and attempt to resolve the matter. Complaints deemed frivolous or harassing in nature may be summarily dismissed. For all other complaints, the complainant will receive written notification of the final decision.
IV. RECORDS AND CONFIDENTIALITY
All formal complaints, appeals, and related correspondence shall be kept on file for a minimum of ten years, and will be made available to regional accrediting bodies upon request.
Unless significant risk of harm to the complainant or others is present, student complaints shall be treated as confidential in accordance with Ouachita Baptist University policies regarding the confidentiality of student records.
To file a complaint, please visit Ouachita Baptist University’s formal complaint form.