SNU Grievance Policy
SNU strives to follow the Biblical model of Matthew 18 to address complaints, disputes and grievances. The first step of this model says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.” Using this model, a complainant is encouraged to first go directly to the person, office or administrative area to resolve a situation.
If this first step does not resolve the issue, Matthew 18 continues with, “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’” It is at this point that the formal Grievance Process may begin. After all means and processes have been exhausted, a complainant may choose to file a formal Grievance if justifiable cause exists. Justifiable cause for grievance shall be defined as any act that, in the opinion of the complainant, adversely affects the complainant and is perceived as prejudicial or capricious action on the part of any university faculty or staff member or an arbitrary or unfair imposition of sanctions.
Any person enrolled or employed by the University who believes that she/he has been mistreated, treated unfairly, harassed, intimidated, or simply has a major concern about a university decision, practice, or policy that they have not found satisfactory resolution through normal administrative process should follow the process for filing a formal grievance as outlined below.
The following elements are important in seeking resolution to the complaint:
- A complaint should be filed in writing via the formal grievance process (Grievance Form), and shall contain the name and address of the person filing it. The complainant should specify as clearly as possible the nature of the incident(s) and the date(s) when the incident(s) occurred. Complaints will not be disclosed except to the extent necessary to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and the existence or substance of complaints will not be disclosed except on a strict need to know basis. Every effort will be made to keep the complainant’s identity confidential as appropriate to the grievance process, and the complainant will be fully protected from retaliation of any kind for having filed a complaint.
- On receiving a formal complaint and talking with the complainant, the university will make an effort to achieve resolution to the issue at the informal level. Failing this, the designated administrator will take the steps necessary for a formal grievance procedure.
Typically, formal grievance or complaint procedures involves both an investigation, as may be appropriate, and a meeting with all of the impacted or affected university parties to discuss the issues and present information in an open forum with the university administrator.
The University will take reasonable action to assure that the complainant, the alleged offender, and those testifying on behalf of either party or supporting either party in other ways are protected from retaliation. This action may come at any time during or following an investigation of a complaint. Persons who retaliate will be subject to disciplinary action.
If the student pursues the complaint via SNU’s formal procedures for grievances to the highest level possible and still perceives the concerns have not been adequately addressed, the student may file a complaint against SNU with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE).
Complaints must be submitted on the official student complaint form. OSRHE staff request permission to contact the institution on the student’s behalf to identify any possible resolution.
It is important to note that the student must have exhausted SNU’s complaint and appeal process before the OSHRE will attempt to help the student identify any possible resolution with the institution.