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Campus Map
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Class Schedule
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Student Complaints

The San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) colleges are committed to the concept that, in the pursuit of their education, students should be free of unfair and improper actions on the part of any member of the academic community. If, at any time, students feel subject to unjust actions or denied rights, the student may file a grievance, or an appeal of the decision/action taken in response to a grievance, using the process described here.

Informal Resolution: Initial College Review: As a first step, try to resolve the matter on an informal basis directly with the person with whom the student has the grievance, that person’s immediate supervisor, or the local college administration.

Formal Process for Non-Grade Grievances

(Note: For grade grievances, see “Grade Grievances” at the end of this section)

Step 1. Filing a Grievance: Student files a Statement of Grievance available on the college website or from the Vice President, Student Services. The form must be filed within one year of the incident on which the grievance is based. In presenting a grievance, the student shall submit a written statement to include, where appropriate, the following information:

  1. A statement describing the nature of the problem and the action which the student desires taken.
  2. A statement of the steps initiated by the student to resolve the problem by informal means.
  3. A description of the general and specific grounds on which the grievance is based.
  4. A listing, if relevant, of the names of all persons involved in the matter at issue and the times, places, and events in which each person so named was involved.
  5. The Statement of Grievance must be filed whether or not the student has already initiated efforts at informal resolution, if the student wishes the grievance to become official.

Step 2. Review of Grievance: Within five days following receipt of the Statement of Grievance Form, the Vice President, Student Services shall advise the student of his or her rights and responsibilities under these procedures. In general, the requirements for the Statement of Grievance to present sufficient grounds for a hearing shall be based on the following:

  • The statement contains facts which, if true, would constitute a grievance under these procedures;
    The grievant is a student which includes applicants and former students;
  • The grievant is personally and directly affected by the alleged grievance;
  • The grievance was filed in a timely manner;
  • The grievance is not clearly frivolous, clearly without foundation, or clearly filed for purposes of harassment.
  • For a grade grievance, the grade given to a student shall be the grade determined by the instructor. In the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith or incompetency (according to Education Code 76224) the grade issued by the instructor may not be changed. The appropriate Division Dean and Vice President of Instruction will assist in determining if the student’s grievance meets the criteria established by the Education Code. For the specific steps for filing grade grievances, contact the Vice President, Instruction.

Step 3. Grievance Hearing Process: If hearing is to be conducted, a Grievance Committee, consisting of a faculty member, staff member, and student will review the grievance. Each party to the grievance may call witnesses and introduce oral and written testimony relevant to the issues of the matter. A recommendation is made and student notified.

Step 4. Appeal to the President: The student may appeal to the President within five working days after receipt of the decision. A student may appeal of there is: 1) new information, or 2) due process was not followed.

Step 5. Appeal to the Chancellor: The student may appeal, in writing, to the Chancellor- within five days after receipt of the decision of the President. The Chancellor-, or his/ her designee, shall provide the student with a hearing, if requested, and shall review the appeal. A written notice of the decision of the Chancellor-Superintendent shall be provided to the student within five days of the review of the student’s written appeal.

Step 6. Appeal to the Board of Trustees: The student may appeal, in writing, to the Board of Trustees, or its designee, within five days after receipt of the decision of the Chancellor. The Board of Trustees shall provide the student with a hearing, if requested, and shall review the appeal. A written notice of the decision of the Board shall be mailed to the student and to appropriate staff members, within twenty days following the review. The decision of the Board of Trustees is final.

Grade Grievances

Informal Resolution of Grade Grievances

  1. Any student who has a grievance shall make reasonable effort to try to resolve the matter on an informal basis prior to pursuing a formal grievance, which includes a hearing, and shall attempt to solve the problem directly with the instructor. The student may bring a person of his/her choosing who is an observer only to meet with the instructor.
  2. If the grade grievance is not resolved informally with the instructor, the appropriate division dean will review the student’s grievance and obtain information from the instructor.
  3. In attempting to resolve the grade grievance at the informal level, the student should be prepared to provide a written statement to the division dean to include the following information:
    1. A statement describing the nature of the problem and the action which the student desires taken.
    2. A statement of the steps initiated by the student to resolve the problem by informal means.
    3. A description of the general and specific grounds on which the grievance is based. The student must be able to demonstrate mistake, fraud, bad faith or incompetency in accordance with Education Code 76224. In the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith or incompetency, the grade issued by the instructor may not be changed.
  4. A written notice of the division dean’s decision shall be provided to the student within 20 days of the student’s meeting with the division dean or as soon as the division dean has completed his/her investigation.

Formal Process for Grade Grievances:

For a grade grievance, the grade given to the student is the grade determined by the instructor. In the absence of mistake, fraud, bad faith or incompetency (according to Education Code 76224). the grade issued by the instructor will may not be changed. If a student feels one of these has occurred and has not been resolved using the informal resolution process, he/she may file a grade grievance by contacting the Vice President, Instruction.

Informal Student Grievance Procedure
AreaFirst Level of actionSecond Level of action
Academic Matters: Grades, Testing, Class Content, Assignments Instructor Division Dean
Admissions/Late Withdrawal Dean, Counseling Services Vice President, Student Services
Discrimination Matters Vice Chancellor, Human Resources Chancellor
Fee Payments or Refunds Cashier Director, Business Services
Financial Aid Director of Financial Aid Dean, Counseling Services
Academic or Progress Dismissal Dean, Counseling Services Vice President, Student Services
Registration Registrar Dean, Counseling Services
Residency Determination Registrar Dean, Counseling Services
Security and Parking Supervisor, Campus Safety Director, District Safety
Sexual Harassment Vice Chancellor, Human Resources Chancellor
Student Records Registrar Dean, Counseling Services
Time, Place and Manner Coordinator of Student Activities Vice President, Student Services
Waiver of Academic Requirements Disability Resources Director Vice President, Student Services

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