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Part IV.  Student Complaint Procedures

A. General Procedures

When a student has a concern about the action of a particular individual or department, the complaint initially should be directed to the person(s) responsible for the individual or department as noted in the University organizational structure. Certain expeditious procedures to redress specific complaints are outlined on the following pages.

B. Access to Personal Records

Policy and procedures concerning student records are based on respect for the privacy of the individual. Guidelines governing student access to individual records and procedures for challenging information on these records can be found in Part III of the Student Policies and Procedures Handbook.

C. Traffic and Parking Complaints

All students driving a car and parking on campus must register that vehicle and display the proper parking permit. Students may appeal violation citations to the University Police Department and file a notice of appeal. Bonds must be posted in the same amount as the fine that would be imposed. Appeals are heard and decided upon by the Montana State University Billings Traffic Appeals Board. A copy of Montana State University Billings Traffic and Parking Regulations is on file at the Montana State University Billings University Police Office.

D. Financial Aid

Specific rules, regulations, and eligibility requirements for obtaining and maintaining financial aid can be found in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. A summary can be found in the General Bulletin. All complaints should be sent in writing to the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

E. Race, National Origin, Sex, Age, or Religious Discrimination

Montana State University Billings is committed to providing an environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member of its community and that is free from harassment and discrimination based upon race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran’s status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Such an environment is necessary to a healthy learning, working, and living atmosphere because discrimination and harassment undermine human dignity and the positive connection among all people at our University. Acts of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation will be addressed consistent with the Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation

All complaints regarding discrimination in the areas covered under this section, if not otherwise resolved, should be registered with the Human Resources/EEO-AA/Title IX Coordinator Office, McMullen Hall 310, Phone (406) 657-2278. 

F. Student Employment

Montana State University Billings is an equal opportunity employer. Students should initiate discrimination complaints with the Office of Human Resources. The Equal Opportunity policy can be found in the Affirmative Action Plan located in the Offices of the Administrative Vice Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellor for Student Access and Success, Human Resources, and the Library.

G. Students with Disabilities

Montana State University Billings does not discriminate on the basis of disability in employment or in access to programs.

Students with disabilities have the right to access programs and services at Montana State University Billings as stated in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, which states:

“No otherwise qualified disabled individual . . . shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance . . .” and in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which states: “ . . . no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity . . . no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.”

Students with disabilities have the responsibility to identify themselves and request appropriate accommodations and reasonable modifications and are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services in the College of Education, Room 135, (406) 657-2283 (V/TTY/VP). 

If students with disabilities have a complaint, prior to filing a formal grievance, they are encouraged to attempt to resolve any problems relating to the stated provisions of Section 504 of the ADA directly with the individual(s) involved, or seek advice and/or assistance from the Director of Disability Support Services. Students will find that most situations can be effectively addressed in this manner.

To file a formal grievance, students may obtain the ADA grievance procedure from the Director of Disability Support Services or the Director of Human Resources.

Any student seeking remedy on the basis of disability must register as a person with a disability with the Director of Disability Support Services and must provide all required documentation of disability. Contact Disability Support Services for more information about Montana State University Billings’ policy concerning documentation.

H. Resident/Non-Resident Classification

The residency status of a student is set by policy established by the Board of Regents. A copy of the regulations used to interpret and establish residency status is available in the Registrar’s Office. Complaints regarding residency status should be filed with the Registrar’s Office, which will make a determination. Contested decisions are heard by the Chancellor. 

I. Student Resolution Officer

The Associated Students of Montana State University Billings (ASMSUB) employ a Student Resolution Officer (SRO) to assist students with various academic and non-academic questions and concerns. The purpose of the Student Resolution Officer is to help students resolve problems at the lowest possible organizational level, refer them to the appropriate University officer for assistance if necessary, and provide support and guidance to them as they follow the student complaint resolution procedure. The Student Resolution Officer (SRO) is located in the ASMSU Billings Student Senate Office in the Student Union Building, Room 213, and can be contacted at 657-2365.

J. Student Complaint Resolution Procedure

When a student has good cause to believe that he/she has a complaint, he/she may utilize the following procedure. The student should meet with the Student Resolution Officer (SRO) to discuss the complaint, clarify the details of the complaint, identify a desired resolution to the complaint, and submit written documentation to clearly state the nature of the complaint. Complaints of sexual harassment (including sexual violence) by students will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator/Human Resources Office, McMullen Hall 310, Phone (406) 657-2278

“Complainant,” when used in this section, refers to the student making the complaint. The individual(s) upon whose action the complaint is based (respondent) has the right and obligation to attend complaint resolution meetings. Failure of either party(s) to attend reasonably scheduled meetings or hearings shall constitute forfeiture of the right to participate in the complaint resolution process at that step. The SRO can help schedule and confirm meetings. In such instances the Campus Hearing Committee shall proceed as indicated in Step IV.

Step I - The student, after meeting with the SRO, will confer with the faculty or staff member against whom the complaint exists. If resolution cannot be reached through discussion, the complaint must be put in writing to ensure that all parties understand the issues. 

Step II - If the student feels the complaint is unresolved after the Step I meeting, the student must then attempt a resolution through discussion with the Department Chair (or supervisor in the case of a staff member) or, in the event the complaint is against a Department Chair or supervisor, with the appropriate Dean or Vice Chancellor. This meeting must take place within ten (10) University business days of the Step I conference with the faculty or staff member and written documentation from Step I must be provided.

Step III - If the student feels that the complaint is unresolved after the Step II meeting, the student shall request a meeting with the appropriate next-level supervisor (Dean, Provost, Vice Chancellor) in an effort to informally resolve the complaint through discussion. This meeting must take place within fifteen (15) University business days of the Step II meeting or within twenty-five (25) University business days of the Step I meeting. In the case that the Step II meeting was with a Dean or Vice Chancellor, the process will move directly to Step IV.

Step IV - If the complainant feels that the complaint is unresolved after the Step III meeting, the complainant may, within ten (10) University business days, file the written complaint as a formal complaint with the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs will review the complaint and make and will contact the Complainant and SRO regarding outcome. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs can refer the complaint to the Chancellor for final determination or resolution. In the event the complaint is against the Chancellor, the final disposition of the complaint rests with the President of Montana State University.

PLEASE NOTE: Online students who are distant from campus will participate in this process via telephone and teleconference in Steps I, II and III. In the case of a Step IV complaint, other technology may be employed or the student may choose to physically come to campus for the hearing.

A complaint against a faculty member shall not result in the forfeiture of said faculty member’s rights as protected under the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Montana State University Billings Faculty Association and the Montana University System.

Next: Part V.  Chartering & Registration Procedures for Student Organizations