Policies & Standards

Grievances

The District's grade grievance policy (AR- 5530) outlines the procedures for challenging grades given in any course of instruction offered in the District. Board policies are accessible online at the south Orange County Community College District website: www.socccd.edu

A student has the right to an informal review and explanation of their grade by the instructor that assigned the grade, and the instructor has the obligation to provide such a review.

By law, the instructor is solely responsible for the grades assigned; no instructor may be directed to change a grade except in certain narrow circumstances authorized by the California Education Code, Section 76224 (a).

The grade given to each student shall be the grade determined by the instructor of the course and the determination of the student's grade by the instructor, in the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, shall be final.

However, an assigned grade may only be formally appealed when there is evidence of one or more of the following conditions on the part of an instructor:

  • Mistake: An unintentional act, omission or error by the instructor or the college.
  • Fraud: A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.
  • Bad Faith: An intent to deceive or to act in a manner contrary to law and/ or a grade assigned in violation of the protections described in California Education Code and Title 5, California Code of Regulations, guaranteeing students' rights to participate in college programs free from discrimination and harassment. If it is determined that a grade was the result of discrimination or harassment, the grade may be changed as a remedy for the discrimination or harassment.
  • Incompetence: A lack of ability, legal qualification, or fitness to discharge a required duty.

Procedure for Grade Appeal

Stage 1 - Informal Resolution

Any student who believes he or she has a grade grievance should make a reasonable effort to resolve the matter on an informal basis with the faculty member who assigned the grade. If a resolution of the problem with the course faculty is not possible, the student should contact the dean of the instructional area for the class.

Deans of Instructional Areas

The Arts

Dean: Joseph Poshek (949) 451-5453

  • Art
  • Art History
  • Communication Studies
  • Dance
  • Digital Media Art
  • Fine Arts
  • Interactive Media Arts
  • Music
  • Theatre Arts

Business Sciences

Dean: Traci Fahimi (949) 451-5310

  • Accounting
  • Business/Management
  • Computer Information Management
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Real Estate

Guidance and Counseling

Dean: Dr. Angel Hernandez (949) 451-5319

  • Counseling

Humanities

Dean: Dr. Brooke Bui (949) 451-5232

  • English
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Journalism
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies

Integrated Design, Engineering and Automation (IDEA)

Dean: Debbie Vanschoelandt (949) 367-8301

  • Design Model Making and Rapid Prototyping
  • Drafting Technology and Engineering
  • Electrical Technology
  • Electronic Technology

Kinesiology, Health and Athletics

Dean: Dr. Keith Shackleford (949) 451-5398

  • Health
  • Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Kinesiology
  • Nutrition
  • Public Health

Languages and Learning Resources

Dean: Dr. Brooke Bui (949) 451-5232

  • Chinese
  • ESL and AESL
  • French
  • Japanese
  • Sign Language
  • Spanish

Library Services

Dean: Joseph Poshek (949) 451-5453

  • Library Research

Life Sciences and Technologies

Dean: Dr. Lianna Zhao (949) 451-5238

  • Biological Sciences
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Health Sciences

Mathematics and Computer Science

Dean: Dr. Lianna Zhao (949) 451-5450

  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics

Physical Sciences and Technologies

Dean: Dr. Lianna Zhao (949) 451-5561

  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Geology
  • Marine Science
  • Physical Science

Social and Behavioral Science

Dean: Traci Fahimi (949) 451-5717

  • Administrative of Justice
  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Human Development (Early Childhood Education)
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Recycling and Resource Management
  • Sociology

Stage 2 - Grievance Process

To initiate the formal grievance process, a student must complete the Statement of Grievance form stating the basis for the grade grievance. The student must file the form with the appropriate dean or designee no later than 45 college business days after the completion of the term in which the grade in question was completed. Students are required to submit the form before the deadline even if the efforts for an informal resolution are in progress.

Statement of Grievance form is available here.

Stage 3 - Requesting a Grievance Hearing

The request for a grievance hearing can only be initiated upon the conclusion of the Grade Grievance review. The Request for a Grievance Hearing must be filed with the appropriate dean or designee within 30 college business days after the notification of the outcome from the Statement of Grievance review.

Students may obtain the Request for Grievance Hearing form from the respective course/instructional office. See the list above of Instructional Area Dean Contact Lists.

The Grievance Hearing Panel

Within 15 college business days following receipt of the Request for Grievance Hearing, the Grievance Hearing Panel meets to select a chair and review the Statement of Grievance. The panel consists of the appropriate dean or designee, a representative appointed by the Associated Student Government and a faculty member appointed by the Academic Senate. The grievance panel will review the statement and supporting documentation. The panel's determination is regulated by specific requirements set forth in Board Policy 5530.

These include but are not limited to whether the grievance is frivolous, without foundation, or filed for purposes of harassment, and whether it was filed by a duly enrolled student in a timely manner.

If the panel determines that the written Statement of Grievance does meet each of the requirements, the chair will schedule a grievance hearing no later than 45 college business days from the decision of the Hearing Panel. All parties to the grievance will be notified in writing by the chair of the date, time and location of the grievance hearing 10 college business days prior to the grievance hearing.

If the panel determines that the written Statement of Grievance does not meet the requirements as set forth in Board Policy 5530 section C.3., the chair will notify the student in writing within five college business days of the Hearing Panel decision that the Request for a Grievance Hearing has been denied. The notice will include the specific reasons for the denial of a hearing and the procedures for appeal.

Hearing Procedures

The hearing will be closed and confidential. It will include the presentation of oral and written testimony relevant to the issues alleged in the grievance by each party. The burden shall be on the grievant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the facts alleged are true. Further details concerning the conduct of the hearing are described in AR 5530: Grade Grievance.

Hearing Panel Decision

Within 15 college business days following the close of the hearing, the Grievance Hearing Panel will prepare a written decision that includes the specific factual findings regarding the grievance and the specific conclusions regarding whether a legal basis for a grievance has been established.

The Hearing Panel decision will also include a specific statement regarding the relief to be afforded the grievant, if any. The Hearing Panel decision will be based only on the record of the hearing, and not on matters outside the record. The record consists of the written Statement of Grievance, any written response by the respondent and the oral and written evidence produced at the hearing.

Stage 4 - Requesting an Appeal

Written Statement of Appeal

Within 10 college business days following the Grievance Hearing Panel decision regarding the merits of the grievance, any party to the grievance may file a written Statement of Appeal with the college president stating the specific basis for the appeal. This statement will be sent to all parties.

The college president will review the record of the hearing and the documents submitted in connection with the appeal but will not consider any matters outside of the formal record. The college president may decide to sustain, reverse or modify the decision of the Grievance Hearing Panel. The president's decision will be in writing and will include a statement of reasons for the decision. The college president's decision shall be final.

The decision on appeal will be reached within 20 college business days after receipt of the appeal documents, and copies of the decision will be sent to all parties.