Student Complaints

Students with complaints about their academic experience are expected to discuss them with individual instructors.  If the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, or unwilling to raise the matter in such fashion, the student should bring it to the attention of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Any student at the Charleston School of Law who wishes to bring a formal complaint should follow the process as set forth below.

A. Reporting a Formal Complaint

Any student who wishes to bring a formal complaint regarding the school’s program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA Standards of Approval of Law Schools should submit it in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The ABA Standards of Approval of Law Schools may be found at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/standards.html.

  1.  The writing should describe in detail the behavior, program, process, or other matter that is the subject of the complaint and should explain how the matter implicates the School of Law’s program of legal education and its compliance with a specific, identified ABA Standard(s).
  2. The writing may consist of e-mail, U.S. mail, or fax.
  3. The writing must provide the name, official law school e-mail address, and a street address of the complaining student for further communication about the complaint.

Once received, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will acknowledge the complaint within three business days of receipt of the written complaint. Acknowledgment may be made by e-mail, U.S. mail, or by personal delivery, at the option of the associate dean.

B. Resolving the Complaint

When a formal written complaint has been made in accordance with section A, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall investigate as soon as possible, but in no event later than 20 business days after the filing of the written complaint with the associate dean.  The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall attempt to resolve the complaint, if possible, within the 20-business day period.

The following procedures will apply:

  1. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall either meet with the complaining student or respond to the substance of the complaint in writing.
  2. In this meeting or in this writing, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will submit to the student either a substantive response to the complaint or information about what steps are being taken by the School of Law to address the complaint or to further investigate the complaint.
  3. If further investigation is needed, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will inform the student. When the investigation is completed, and within two weeks of this completion, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will submit to the student either a substantive response to the complaint or information about what steps are being taken by the School of Law to address the complaint.

C. Appeal Process

If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome or resolution, that individual has the right to appeal the decision.  The student should submit his/her written comments in a timely manner to the Dean of the School of Law, but in no case more than two weeks after communication to the student of the findings of the investigation.  The Dean’s decision shall be communicated to the student and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within 20 business days.  The Dean’s decision shall be final.

However, in the event that the student feels he or she has made a reasonable effort to obtain satisfaction but nonetheless failed to achieve it through the School of Law procedures set forth above, the student may file a written complaint with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, 1333 Main Street, Suite 200, Columbia, SC, 29201 803.737.2260, Fax 803.737.2297.  The complaint must disclose the name of the complainant, must include any evidence bearing on the issues, and must include documentation indicating that a reasonable effort was made to resolve the complaint directly with the School of Law. The Commission will review the facts as set forth in the complaint and may intervene, as appropriate, to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion. Such intervention shall be limited to facilitating settlement through negotiation and shall not include legal action for any party.

D. Maintaining a Written Record of the Complaint

The Charleston School of Law shall maintain a copy of each complaint and a summary of the process and resolution of the complaint.  Written records shall be maintained in a confidential manner in the Office of Academic Affairs or the Dean’s Office.  These records will be maintained in accordance with the School of Law’s record retention policy.

E. Protection Against Retaliation

The Charleston School of Law will not in any way retaliate against an individual who makes a complaint under this section, nor permit any faculty member, administrator, employee, or student to do so.

F. Not Exclusive Complaint Policy or Procedure

Please note that the Charleston School of Law Student Handbook contains separate sections pertaining specifically to Sexual Harassment complaints and those complaints that may fall within the parameters of the Code of Student Conduct.  Jurisdiction over any student complaint is not exclusive to any single or combination of School of Law Policies.