STUDENT GRIEVANCE POLICY
Many student complaints can be resolved through discussion with the appropriate instructor or staff member and the use of this grievance procedure, and we encourage students to make contact at the first indication of a problem or concern.
This section describes the steps the student should follow so that the problem can be fully and fairly investigated and addressed. The student is not required to use this procedure and will not be bound by any resolution unless he or she agrees to accept it. If the student does not accept a proposed conclusion or resolution, then the student may pursue the matter in arbitration as provided for in the student’s Enrollment Agreement or use other dispute resolution processes provided by law.
In resolving any student concern or difficulty, SUNM will review the facts impartially and always ensure that the representatives responsible for reviewing such matters were not directly involved in the circumstances giving rise to the complaint. SUNM maintains a firm commitment to its educational community that it will ensure that no adverse action will ever be taken against any individual for bringing any complaint or grievance to its attention. Adverse action taken against an individual bringing such a grievance or informing the institution of facts which may support a grievance or complaint constitutes separate grounds for bringing a grievance procedure. Please note that this grievance procedure is intended for problems concerning a student’s recruitment, enrollment, attendance, education, student finance, or career service assistance, or the educational process or other school matters. It does not apply to student complaints or grievances regarding grades or sexual harassment, which are addressed in other sections of this catalog.
STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE SUNM and the student agree to participate in good faith in this grievance procedure. We will receive all information submitted by the student concerning a grievance in strict confidence and we and the student agree to maintain confidentiality in the grievance procedures. No reprisals of any kind will be taken by any party of interest or by any member of SUNM administration against any party involved. We will investigate all complaints or grievances fully and promptly. So long as the student pursues this grievance procedure to its conclusion, the period during which the student is pursuing this process will not count toward any statute of limitations relating to the student’s claims.
Step 1 – Grievances or complaints involving an individual instructor or staff member MUST be put in writing. SUNM cannot take action until the matter is in writing. SUNM will not accept a verbal complaint. The grievance should be given to the President immediately. The Director will investigate the grievance. Within five (5) days of the Director’s receipt of the written statement, the Director will arrange to preliminarily meet with the student to discuss the grievance, and the Director will thereafter conduct an investigation, including providing the student with a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the matter. The Director will insure that no individual directly involved in the circumstances giving rise to the grievance or complaint is involved in the investigation, other than as a witness. The Director will render his/her decision in writing within ten (10) business days after concluding his/her investigation, setting out the Director’s findings, conclusions, and reasoning. The Director’s decision is considered final in all matters as it relates to SUNM. The student’s written complaint, together with the Director’s decision, will become a permanent part of the files of the parties involved.
Step 2 – If the matter is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction in Step 1, the student or his/ her representative may contact the New Mexico Higher Education Department at any time if the student has any questions or concerns about the grievance process or its outcome.
If the grievance cannot be resolved after exhausting SUNM’s Grievance Procedure, the student may file a complaint with:
State of New Mexico Higher Education Department
2004 Galisteo St, Suite 4
Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100
The New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) has authority to help facilitate resolution to student complaints, only after the student has utilized all internal complaint procedures at the educational institution. Please visit http://www.hed.state.nm.us/students/hed-student-complaint-form.aspx for more information about NMHED’s Student Complaint Process for non-distance education students. Complaints regarding grades and student conduct violations shall not be reviewed by NMHED.
1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808
Washington, DC 20036
Further information on the DEAC Complaint Procedure can be found here.
Student complaint process for distance education students:
The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that sets national standards for interstate offering of post-secondary distance education courses and programs. Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine is a NC-SARA approved institution and the New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) is the NC-SARA Portal Entity for New Mexico. Distance Education students attending Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine who would like to resolve a grievance should follow the institution’s established Student Complaint Process. However, if an issue cannot be resolved internally, you may file a NC-SARA complaint with the New Mexico Higher Education Department. Complaints regarding grades and student conduct violations shall not be reviewed by NMHED. Please visit https://hed.state.nm.us/students-parents/nc-sara for more information.
This grievance procedure is designed to address problems promptly and without undue delay. In order to achieve that, the student must initiate Step 1 within ten (10) business days of the incident or circumstance(s) giving rise to the complaint, and must initiate each other Step within ten (10) business days after receiving a response or if more than twenty (20) business days have passed with no response. If the student fails to take any of the steps in this procedure within the required time frames, then the student will be deemed to have accepted the resolution last proposed by SUNM. If SUNM fails to act within the time frames described in this procedure, then the student may elect to forgo any further steps in this procedure. The time periods set forth in these procedures can be extended by mutual consent of SUNM and the student.