Complaint and Grievance Procedure

Under Board of Trustees Policy BP 4.03, students have the right, using the Complaint and Grievance Procedure for Nicolet College Students, to:

  1. Appeal sanctions imposed for behavioral or academic misconduct;
  2. Contest a policy or practice of the College or College staff that is considered improper or unfair, or;
  3. Contest situations where there has been deviation from or misapplication of a policy or practice unrelated to discrimination.  

For the purposes of this procedure, days are defined as Monday through Friday when the College is open for business.  Weekends, holidays and days when the College is closed are excluded. 

Step 1- Complaint Procedure

A student must take the following steps to try to resolve the complaint prior to filing a formal grievance:


  1. If a student has not been able to informally resolve an issue with the appropriate College employee, the student must initiate this complaint procedure within ten (10) days of the action causing the complaint.  The College employee will make a decision and respond to the student within two (2) days of the student initiating the complaint procedure.  The College employee will also inform the student of the appeal process.
  2. If resolution is not achieved at the College employee level, the student should appeal to the employee’s immediate supervisor or designee to resolve the complaint.  The appeal must be initiated within five (5) days of the employee’s decision and the supervisor must respond within two (2) days of the student initiating the appeal.
  3. If resolution is not achieved at the supervisory level, the next level of appeal is with the supervisor’s Vice President or designee.  The appeal must be initiated within five (5) days of the supervisor’s decision.  The Vice President or designee must respond with a written determination to the student within two (2) days of the student initiating the Vice President or designee appeal.  The Vice President or designee will also inform the student of the steps in the grievance process.
  4. If the student disagrees with the decision, the student may file a written grievance.

Step 2- Grievance Procedure

  1. If the student is unable to resolve a complaint using the complaint procedure described above, the grievance must be filed in writing with the Director of Human Resources or designee within ten (10) days from the date of the Vice President’s or designee’s written determination.  Written grievances may be filed in person, by U.S. mail, or through email.  The student may withdraw the grievance at any point during the grievance procedure.
  2. In accordance with Federal requirements, 34 CFR Ch. VI 602.16 (a)(1)(ix), Human Resources will create a record of the student’s grievance and add it to a log of student grievances.  The log will be maintained and updated through the remainder of the process.
  3. Human Resources will send acknowledgement confirming the receipt of the grievance form to the student.  Human Resources will notify the person(s) against whom the grievance has been filed (hereafter referred to as the employee).  The employee will also receive a copy of the grievance.
  4. A Grievance Committee will be appointed by Human Resources at the time of the grievance filing.
  5. A Vice President or designee not involved previously in the process, or their designee, will serve as the investigating officer in the grievance.
  6. The investigating officer will:
  • Meet with the student and the employee separately.
  • Examine documentation and interview witnesses.
  • Consult with the employee’s supervisor.
  • Prepare a written investigative report within five (5) days of the grievance filing.
  • Copies of the investigative report will be forwarded to the Grievance Committee, the student, the employee, and the appropriate administrator(s).
  1. The Grievance Committee will review the grievance and the findings of the investigating officer and determine whether or not the facts warrant a hearing.  

         The Committee’s decision will be limited to one of the following statements:

  • Based on the evidence presented, we determine a hearing is warranted; or
  • Based on the evidence presented, we determine a hearing is not warranted.

Within two (2) days of receiving the investigative report, the Grievance Committee’s written decision will be sent to Human Resources who will notify the grievant and the involved individuals of the decision.

  1. If the Grievance Committee’s decision is that no hearing is to be held, the student may submit a written appeal to the President within two (2) days from the date of the Grievance Committee’s decision.  The appeal must specify why the student feels a hearing is warranted.   The President will respond in writing within five (5) days.  The President may uphold the decision of the Grievance Committee, and at that point no further appeals within the College will be considered.  Or, the President may instruct the Committee to go forward with the grievance hearing process.
  2. If a hearing is held (in person or by distance technology), the hearing will be held within five (5) days of the decision by the Grievance Committee or the President.  

         The hearing will be conducted following these guidelines:

  • The Grievance Committee will select a chair.  The chair of the Grievance Committee will establish a date for the hearing.  A notice establishing the date, time, and place of the hearing will be provided to all involved parties.
  • The student and the employee and any others the Grievance Committee deems necessary must appear for the proceedings unless they can verify to the Grievance Committee that their absence is unavoidable.
  • The student and the employee will be permitted to have a third party of their choosing to act as advisor and counsel.
  • The hearing will be closed to all except those persons directly involved in the case as determined by the Grievance Committee.  Statements, testimony, and all other evidence given at the hearing will be confidential and will not be released to anyone and may be used by the Grievance Committee only for the purpose of making decision(s) related to the grievance.
  • The Grievance Committee will file the final determination with the President, the Vice President, the student, and the employee after the conclusion of the hearing.  The determination of the Grievance Committee is final.
  1. If a student believes there has been misinterpretation or misapplication of the policy or procedure, an appeal may be made to the Nicolet College Board of Trustees Chair for procedural review.  The appeal must be in writing, specify in detail what aspect of the grievance procedure or process is being appealed, and be submitted to the Office of the President within ten (10) days of receipt of the determination by the Grievance Committee.  The written appeal will be forwarded to the Board Chair who will determine if review by the Board of Trustees is warranted.  If warranted, the Board of Trustees review will be limited to determining whether the appeal process was properly followed by College staff.

All required meetings may take place in-person or via distance technology.  Written materials may be submitted and shared as paper copies or electronically.  Students must work through the Step 1 - Complaint Procedure before moving to the Step 2 - Grievance Procedure.

Timeline Requirements

If the College fails to give a written answer at Steps 1 or 2 within the designated timeframe, the student may immediately proceed to the next step. Failure by the student to meet applicable deadlines may be the basis for dismissal of any complaint. If it is impossible to comply with the time limits specified because of extenuating circumstances, these time limits may be extended by mutual consent in writing.

Distance Learning Students

Nicolet College participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).   As a participant in SARA, any current or former student of a distance education program offered by Nicolet College may file a complaint with Wisconsin’s Distance Learning Authorization Board (DLAB) for Nicolet College distance education activity conducted across state lines under specific and limited circumstances.   For more information on the types of complaints handled by DLAB, steps to be taken before filing a complaint with DLAB, and the process to file a complaint with the DLAB, see DLAB’s student complaint process