This policy outlines the process for investigating and addressing complaints to EmergingEd from students about any part of their experience with EmergingEd services during which the student feels they were treated unfairly. Because no policy is one-size-fits-all, EmergingEd reserves the right to deviate from this policy if the circumstances of a particular complaint or investigation call for additional flexibility.
Informal Complaint Policy
In most cases, students should first attempt to resolve their concerns in writing or orally with the individual(s) most directly connected to the student’s complaint.
If the student is not comfortable discussing the matter with the individual(s) directly involved, they can take their complaint to a liaison not directly involved, such as Customer Support.
Under these informal procedures, the student may, at any time, elect to stop further action by withdrawing the complaint. Complaints addressed informally may not be investigated at all or to the same degree as formal complaints, but not all complaints are appropriate for mediation (for example, sexual assault allegations are not appropriate for mediation).
Formal Complaint Policy
If the informal route is not appropriate, or doesn’t have a successful resolution, the student can file a formal complaint to the Managing Director.
1) When to File a Complaint
Complaints should be filed as soon as possible so that they can be appropriately addressed in a timely manner.
2) What to File
A formal complaint should be in writing and include the following:
- Student’s name, email address, and phone number
- Description of the concern or issue, including date, location, and all involved individuals
- Description of what efforts, if any, have been made to resolve the issue informally
- A statement of the resolution requested
For more information on the complaint process or to receive the Managing Director’s contact information, the student should contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Where to File Complaint
The complaint should be filed with the Managing Director of EmergingEd. The written complaint can be submitted electronically or by mail. In cases where the Managing Director is directly involved in the concern, an alternate point of contact will be provided by Customer Support.
4) Notice of Receipt
Upon receipt of the formal complaint, the Managing Director will provide the student with a written notice acknowledging its receipt and will review the complaint.
The Managing Director will initiate an investigation. The extent and components of the investigation will vary depending on the allegations and circumstances. For purposes of illustration, an investigation may include the following steps, as appropriate:
- Review the student’s written complaint.
- Gather additional information or statements from the student as necessary.
- Gather information from any witnesses or other people with potentially relevant information.
- Review relevant documentation and policies.
- Obtain a response or written statement and other information from the individual or individuals who may be the subject of the student’s complaint.
- Convene a panel to review as appropriate.
- Assess the information gathered and determine findings and a resolution for the student.
Complaints initiated through the formal process may be withdrawn by the student, subject to the confidentiality provisions noted below, and with the understanding that, depending on the nature of the allegations, EmergingEd may be obligated to investigate the complaint with or without the student’s involvement.
6) Findings and Notification
Upon the investigation’s completion, the Managing Director will report the findings of the investigation and the resolution to the student. It is EmergingEd’s goal to conduct an appropriate investigation and report back in a timely manner. The circumstances in particular cases may make a shorter or longer investigation necessary or appropriate.
Within 10 calendar days of the issuance of the final report, the student may appeal to EmergingEd’s Board of Directors. Appeals must be submitted in writing and must state a basis for the appeal. Bases upon which a student may appeal are the following:
- There is new evidence that was unavailable at the time of the original investigation that would affect the outcome of the original decision.
- There were procedural irregularities in the complaint process that affected the outcome.
- The proposed resolution was not reasonable based on the evidence compiled during the investigation.
The decision of the Board of Directors is final. Students not satisfied with the final disposition of the complaint process may contact the state licensing authority.
Unresolved complaints may be reported to the Illinois Board of Higher Education through the online complaint system (http://complaints.ibhe.org) or by mail to 1 N. Old State Capitol Plaza, Suite 333, Springfield, IL 62701-1377 or at (217) 557-7359.
EmergingEd will maintain confidentiality to the extent possible and consistent with EmergingEd’s obligations when investigating complaints. Once an individual discloses identifying information to EmergingEd through the processes described above, they will be considered to have filed a complaint with EmergingEd. While the confidentiality of information received, the privacy of individuals involved, and compliance with the wishes of the student or witnesses cannot be guaranteed, they will be respected to the extent possible and appropriate.
EmergingEd prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports an incident of alleged harassment, discrimination, or other unlawful conduct, or any person who assists or participates in a proceeding, investigation, or hearing related to such allegations. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment. All complaints of retaliation should be reported in accordance with the complaint procedures outlined above.