Procedure for Grade and Non-Grade Complaints

Early Resolution

  1. Prior to filing a request for a hearing, the student must attempt to resolve the issue with the individual(s) involved.

  2. If not satisfied with the outcome of the effort described in item 1, the student must contact the dean. The dean will investigate the complaint, attempt to reconcile differences, and find an acceptable solution.

    If the grievance is against the dean, the student should contact the associate academic dean.

  3. If not satisfied with the outcome of efforts 1 and 2, the student must contact the assistant vice president of student services. The assistant vice president of student services may counsel the student to discuss the issue with the party involved. If the student does not feel comfortable talking to the person involved, the assistant vice president for student services will investigate the complaint, attempt to reconcile differences, and propose a solution. The assistant vice president of student services will provide a written statement of his/her recommendation to all parties within 10 business days following the initial receipt of the student’s report of the complaint. All parties involved will then have 10 business days to respond. If the grievance is satisfactorily resolved by any of the above discussions, the terms of the resolution shall be reduced to writing and signed by the graduate student, respondent, and administrative superior involved in negotiations.

    Every effort should be made to resolve the issue without going beyond this level.

Formal Complaint

  1. If the student is not satisfied with the assistant vice president of student services’ recommendation, he/she may pursue the matter further by contacting the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) president.
  1. The grievance must be submitted to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS)’s main office within three months of the time that the student knows of the matter prompting the grievance, or the student relinquishes any opportunity to pursue the grievance. The grievance must include a specific statement of the student’s complaint, a clear and concise statement of the policy or procedures violated, an explanation of what remedy the student seeks, and a copy of the assistant vice president of student services’ recommended resolution.
  1. The TTUHSC El Paso president will attempt to resolve the appeal within 10 business days through conferencing with the respondent and student appellant. If not resolved within 10 business days, the TTUHSC El Paso president will appoint a Student Hearing Committee to consider the appeal.
  1. If a Student Hearing Committee is appointed, the committee must convene within 15 business days.
  1. The Student Hearing Committee will forward the request for a hearing to the appropriate faculty member who has been appointed by the dean to serve as the chair of the Student Hearing Committee.

Student Pre-Hearing Procedure

  1. Grievances are heard by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) Student Hearing Committee, which is composed of the following:
    • One faculty member appointed by the GSBS dean to serve as the chair of the Student Hearing Committee
    • Two students
    • Two other faculty members

    The GSBS dean will appoint an administrative staff person to take minutes of the meetings. This staff person will not be a voting member. Both parties will propose, in writing, a list of individuals they want to serve on the Student Hearing Committee. The GSBS dean will contact one person from each list in order of the submitting party’s preference to determine the person’s willingness to serve.

  2. The GSBS dean will provide technical assistance and support to this committee.

  3. As soon as the hearing is scheduled, the chair of the Student Hearing Committee will send a written notice to all parties involved, at least 15 business days prior to the student hearing. The notice will specify the time, place, and nature of the hearing, plus a brief description of the complaint. The notice will also confirm the right of all parties involved to present witnesses and evidence and to be accompanied by counsel for advisory purposes only.

  4. Either party may challenge, in writing, the impartiality of any member of the Student Hearing Committee by submitting reasons for the challenge to the chair of the hearing committee. Challenges must be submitted within 3 business days after receiving the hearing notice. Any member of the Student Hearing Committee whose participation is challenged is required to establish that he/she can serve with fairness and objectivity to the satisfaction of the chair of the Student Hearing Committee. If the member cannot establish his/her fairness and objectivity to the satisfaction of the chair of the Student Hearing Committee, the member in question will be removed and a substitute will be appointed by the dean.

  5. At least 7 business days prior to the student hearing, all parties will provide to the chair of the Student Hearing Committee:
    1. A copy of all written supporting documentation that the party will present at the hearing.
    2. A list of witnesses to be called by the party. Each party is responsible for ensuring that witnesses are at the hearing.
    3. The name of any advocate who will accompany the party to the hearing and whether the advocate is an attorney.

  6. The chair of the Student Hearing Committee will provide all such information to the hearing committee at least 5 business days before the hearing.

  7. The student and the individuals(s) involved will have access to all information to be considered by the hearing committee, including the names of all persons giving evidence.

  8. Student hearings are conducted in closed session. Any request for an exception must be submitted, in writing, to the chair of the Student Hearing Committee, who shall render a final written decision.

Hearing Procedure

  1. Both parties must attend the hearing and both will be offered an opportunity to state their positions, and present testimony and other evidence relevant to the case. The responsibility of establishing the validity of the grievance rests with the student. Evidence is presented by the student and then by the respondent.
  1. The student may have an advisor present at the hearing. The advisor must be a member of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) community. However, if the student is also the subject of a pending criminal investigation, indictment or charge arising out of the same circumstances, he/she may be allowed to have an attorney serve as his/her advisor, at his/her own expense, to participate in the same manner as any other advisor. If an advisor for the student is an attorney, an attorney from the Office of General Counsel will also attend the student hearing on behalf of TTUHSC El Paso. TTUHSC El Paso will provide legal counsel for the student hearing if the Student Hearing Committee chair deems it necessary.
  1. The student is responsible for presenting his/her own information, and therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any student hearing before the Student Hearing Committee. A student should select as an advisor a person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time of the student hearing. Delays due to advisor scheduling conflicts are not allowed, except at the discretion of the Student Hearing Committee chair, upon written request seven business days in advance of the scheduled student hearing.

  2. Members of the Student Hearing Committee may question all witnesses, followed by the parties. Questioning by both parties may be limited by the sole discretion of the chair of the Student Hearing Committee for such reasons as preserving the civility of the hearing, avoiding redundant and irrelevant questioning, and/or providing for the efficient administration of the hearing. Witnesses are permitted to attend the student hearing only during the time they are providing testimony, or are being questioned by either party or the committee, unless the Student Hearing Committee chair, by his/her sole discretion, determines otherwise.

  3. Both parties may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information to the Student Hearing Committee. Both parties are responsible for arranging the voluntary attendance of their respective witnesses.

  4. By its sole discretion, the Student Hearing Committee may call other witnesses not identified by either party. If, prior to the hearing, the Student Hearing Committee anticipates calling additional witnesses, the committee must notify the Student Hearing Committee chair. The chair will then arrange for the voluntary attendance of the witnesses identified by the committee. The chair will notify both parties of the additional witnesses. If any witness called by the Student Hearing Committee intends to present written information to the committee, the chair is responsible for forwarding such information to both parties and the committee prior to the hearing.

  5. Following the presentation of evidence, the committee will permit each party to present a brief closing statement.

  6. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) shall record, either digitally, through audiotape, or otherwise as deemed appropriate, the hearing committee’s proceedings until such time that the student hearing committee begins discussion and deliberation and prepares its findings and recommendations. Deliberations are not recorded. The record is university property. Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, the student will be allowed to review, but not to copy, the hearing record, 34 C.F.R 99.10 (2003). Neither party nor any witnesses are permitted to make any independent record of the proceedings.

  7. The student is expected to attend and participate in the Student Hearing Committee. If either party elects not to attend a hearing after appropriate written notice, the case will be reviewed as scheduled on the basis of the information available, and a recommendation will be made by the committee. Although no inference may be drawn against the student for failing to attend a hearing or remaining silent, the hearing will proceed and the conclusion will be based on the evidence presented. No decision will be based solely on the failure of the student to attend the hearing or answer the charge.

Hearing Committee Findings and Final Disposition

  1. After completion of the hearing, the hearing committee shall adjourn and meet in closed session to discuss, deliberate and prepare its finding and recommendations.
  1. The Student Hearing Committee will determine the recommendations by a simple majority (more than half of the votes cast) of members present at the hearing.
  1. The committee’s findings and recommendation report will be forwarded to the GSBS dean. A copy is also sent to both parties for review and determination of necessary action.
  1. The GSBS dean will forward a letter to all parties involved, enclosing copies of the Student Hearing Committee report, and directing what action will be taken within 10 business days from the conclusion of the hearing. This letter will be sent via certified mail to the student’s last known official mailing address, as provided by the student to the Registrar’s Office and electronically to the student’s ttuhsc.edu email account.
  1. The decision of the GSBS dean regarding the hearing committee’s findings and recommendations is final.

Appeals

Within 10 business days of receipt of the decision of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) dean, if either party believes that the due process procedures have been violated, an appeal may be made, in writing, to the president of the university. The president will review the case and notify all parties of his/her decision within 10 business days. If a written appeal is not submitted within 10 business days following receipt of the GSBS dean’s letter, the right to appeal is thereby waived and the dean’s decision is final.

Only the following may be presented for consideration by the president:

  1. Whether a procedural deviation occurred that substantially affected the outcome of the case
  2. Whether there is new information sufficient to alter the findings or other relevant facts not available or mentioned in the original hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original Student Hearing Committee.

At his/her sole discretion, the president will review the findings and recommendations, and the record from the Student Hearing Committee and supporting documents, and transmit his/her decision in writing to both parties, the Student Hearing Committee chair, and the GSBS dean. The president’s decision is final.

Confidentiality

Members of the Student Hearing Committee may not retain in their possession any personal files, materials received during the appeal procedure, or notes taken during the hearing. The administrative staff person will collect all materials and return them to the GSBS office to be retained in a confidential file.

No part, committee member, or other participant or observer in the hearing procedure may reveal any facts, documents, or testimony gained through participating in or observing the hearing to any other person, unless required by a court of law to do so or upon the advice of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s legal counsel.

Throughout this document, the phrase “business days” refers to days when the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences administrative offices are open, and excludes weekends and holidays