Complaints against Administration and Staff
A student who has a complaint about a staff member is encouraged to discuss the complaint directly with the staff member whenever possible.
If the complaint cannot be resolved satisfactorily through discussion, or if a direct discussion with the staff member is not appropriate or possible, or if the student is not comfortable with discussing the matter with the staff member, the student should discuss the complaint with the director of human resources.
The director of human resources will determine if the student wants to make a complaint or just wants to discuss a concern. The student may decide to make a complaint or may elect to take no further action.
If a complaint is filed, the student will be requested to put it in writing and the complaint must:
- identify the staff member and the nature of the complaint;
- provide the facts of the complaint;
- provide copies of any relevant documents; and
- identify any other College employees or students involved in or witnesses to the events which are the subject of the complaint.
The Director of Human Resources will:
- discuss the complaint and the related circumstances with the student;
- review the written materials submitted by the student;
- provide the staff member with a copy of the written complaint and any related materials and discuss the complaint with the staff member;
- determine whether the complaint can be appropriately resolved in an informal fashion and, if so, take the steps necessary to achieve that result and inform the student and staff member of the resolution;
- if an informal resolution cannot be reached, then a formal investigation will take place.
If, as a result of the formal investigation, disciplinary action is taken with regard to the staff member, a copy of the disciplinary action will be placed in the staff member’s personnel file by the Human Resources Department.
Other Resources for Grievances
In accordance with federal law and Department of Education regulations, Trinity students are welcome to file a grievance or bring an unresolved grievance to the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The contact information is listed below:
Connecticut Office of Higher Education
450 Columbus Blvd., Suite 707
Hartford, CT 06103
New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods Dr.
Burlington, MA 01803
NC-SARA and Student Complaints
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by a National Council and administered by four regional education compacts. The Connecticut Office of Higher Education became a member of SARA in 2017, thus allowing Trinity College to apply to be a member of SARA.
Trinity College is authorized to operate under the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA). Approval for institutional participation was granted by the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education in 2021. Further information is located on https://nc-sara.org/
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
CT State Office of Higher Education SARA Portal: http://www.ctohe.org/SARA/Default.shtml
National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements Student Questions Page: https://www.nc-sara.org/studentquestions
Complaints about Connecticut Independent Colleges, Postsecondary Career Schools, and SARA Institutions
The Office of Higher Education is responsible for quality review of independent colleges and the regulation of postsecondary career schools located in Connecticut. As a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the Office also is responsible for the investigation and resolution of out-of-state students’ complaints against all institutions of higher education based in Connecticut and offering distance education via SARA.
If you believe that Trinity College has not fulfilled its promises while operating under SARA, you may file a complaint with the Office of Higher Education. They will investigate complaints concerning matters within their statutory authority and, if justified, take appropriate action. Generally, issues falling under their jurisdiction involve academic quality and licensing; issues regarding student life (such as student discipline, grading and housing) fall solely within the purview of institutions. The Office of Higher Education will act only on complaints that were unable to be resolved through the institution’s internal dispute resolution process. Their agency cannot provide legal advice.
Filing a Complaint with the Office of Higher Education
Before contacting the Office of Higher Education, you must first exhaust Trinity College’s internal grievance or complaint procedures. These policies are published in the Student Handbook. Once you have pursued your concerns using Trinity College’s procedures, and have not reached a mutually agreeable resolution, you may proceed with filing a formal complaint with the Office of Higher Education. To do so, complete an Initial Review form and submit it here.
Emily Bjornberg, Senior Consultant, Academic Affairs[email protected]https://ohe.ct.gov/Connecticut Office of Higher Education 450 Columbus Blvd., Suite 707 Hartford, CT 06103 860-947-1824