Student Complaint & Grievance Procedures
LASC and LACCD Student Grievance and Complaint Procedures are established so that students can resolve difficulties/problems they encounter in college-related activities. Student complaints are taken seriously.
Most complaints, grievances, or disciplinary matters should be resolved at the campus level. This is the quickest and most successful way of resolving issues involving a California Community College (CCC). You are encouraged to work through the LASC complaint process first, before escalating issues to any non-LASC resources.
See below for instructions on how to proceed with complaints in various areas.
CLICK HERE to view the 2013 Summary of the LACCD Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures
To Initiate a Complaint About the LACCD Equal Opportunity Policy
Summary of Equal Opportunity Policy
LASC and the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) are committed to the philosophy of equal opportunity/equal access in all its employment, educational programs, and services. Thus, we are firmly committed to a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of actual or perceived ethnic group identification, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, creed, sex (including gender-based sexual harassment), pregnancy, cancer-related medical condition of an employee, marital status, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, or veteran status in our employment and educational programs and activities.
Equal Opportunity Policy Compliance Procedure
In order to ensure compliance with the Equal Opportunity Policy at Los Angeles Southwest College, please direct inquiries to: LASC Compliance Officer, Dean Oscar Cobian at (323) 241-5328, or to Celeste Phelps, Coordinator, Disabled Students Programs and Services, at (323) 241-5480. In addition, inquiries may be directed to the District Office of Diversity Programs at (213) 891-2315.
To Initiate a Complaint About Sexual Harassment
Summary of Sexual Harassment Policy
The policy of the Los Angeles Community College District is to provide an educational, employment, and business environment free of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication constituting sexual harassment. Employees, students, or other persons acting on behalf of the district who engage in sexual harassment as defined in the policy or by state or federal law shall be subject to discipline, up to and including discharge, expulsions, or termination of contract.
Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure
In order to ensure compliance with the Sexual Harassment Policy at Los Angeles Southwest College, please direct inquiries to: LASC Compliance Officer, Dean Oscar Cobian at (323) 241-5328. In addition, inquiries may be directed to the District Office of Diversity Programs at (213) 891-2315.
The specific rules and procedures for reporting charges of sexual harassment and for pursuing available remedies are incorporated in the Board Rules in Chapter 15. The Los Angeles Community College District has a policy which provides formal and informal procedures for resolving complaints. Copies of the policy and procedures may be obtained by calling the District Office of Diversity Programs at (213) 891-2315.
All members of the college community, which includes student, faculty, and staff, who believe they have experienced conduct that may constitute sexual harassment, have the right to seek help from the college. Every employee has the responsibility to report such conduct to the LASC Compliance Officer when it is directed toward students. Potential complainants are advised that administrative and civil law remedies, including but not limited to injunctions, restraining orders, or other orders, may be made available.
To Initiate a Complaint About a Grade
Summary of Policy for Grievances Pertaining to Grades
Grievances pertaining to grades are subject to the California Education Code Section 76224 (a) which states: "When grades are given for any course of instruction taught in a community college district, 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 incompetence, shall be final.”
The grievance procedure does not apply to the challenge process for prerequisites, corequisites, advisories, and limitation on enrollment; actions dealing with student discipline; appeal of residency decisions; or eligibility, disqualification, or reinstatement of financial aid. The appeal procedure for eligibility, disqualification, or reinstatement of financial aid may be obtained in the Financial Aid Office.
Complaints involving discrimination such as sexual harassment, ethnic group discrimination, religion, age, gender, color, sexual orientation, and physical or mental disability discrimination are covered under different procedures. Please see the College Catalog sections on Sexual Harassment and/or Equal Opportunity Policy or contact the District Office of Diversity Programs at (213) 891-2315.
Student Process for Filing Complaints Regarding Grades
Step 1: Consult the Instructor for resolution.
Step 2: Confer with the Department Chair as second level of authority if issue is not resolved.
Step 3: Make an appointment with the Dean of the relevant academic department if there is no resolution at Levels 1 or 2
Step 4: The Dean of the relevant academic department may refer the student to the Dean of Student Services or to the Executive Vice President if there is no resolution at Level 3.
Step 5: Further referral may be to the LASC Compliance Officer.
For assistance and information regarding the Student Grievance Procedure, contact the Ombudsperson, Dean Oscar Cobian in the Student Services Building, Room 209, or by telephone at (323) 241-5328.
To Initiate a Complaint About Academic Disability Accommodations
Every effort will be made to resolve the matter through the informal process. The student should schedule a meeting with the person(s) involved in the dispute, as well as the person’s immediate supervisor, the corresponding Dean of Academic Affairs/Student Services, and a Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) professional.
In situations when an agreement cannot be reached informally, the student may file a written request for a formal hearing with the LASC Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services. An Academic Accommodations Review Committee will be selected to review the grievance. The panel will include two faculty members, two administrative members, and the DSPS Coordinator or designee (non-voting). If the student is dissatisfied with the Academic Accommodations Panel’s decision, he/she may appeal to the College President.
The student may also file a formal discrimination complaint with the LASC Compliance Officer who will then follow the established steps outlined Chapter XV of the LACCD Board Rules. The LASC Compliance Officer can be reached at (323) 241-5328 or at the Dean of Student Services Office at Los Angeles Southwest College, 1600 West Imperial Highway, Los Angeles, CA 90047.
The student still has the right of external appeal to the Office of Civil Rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Contact information: V: 1-800-421-3481 TTY: 1-877-521-2172. The US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights offers guidance on how to file a discrimination complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.
To Submit a Complaint About an Issue Not Resolved at the Campus Level
In accordance with federal regulations, the California Community College Chancellor's Office (CCCCO) administers a state-level complaint process. This is so students and others have a method and process outside of the institution that takes, investigates, and responds to complaints regarding the institution.
Visit the California Community College Chancellor's Office Complaint Process web-page and follow the instructions there to present a complaint to:
- The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) if your complaint is associated with the institution’s compliance with academic program quality and accrediting standards. (ACCJC is the agency that accredits the academic programs of the California Community Colleges.)
- To the CCC Chancellor’s Office Complaints Form if your complaint does not concern CCC’s compliance with academic program quality and accrediting standards.
- To the CCC Chancellor’s Office Legal Affairs website if your complaint involves unlawful discrimination.
Role of the LASC Compliance Officer
The LASC Compliance Officer acts as first contact for student and faculty/staff complaints dealing with alleged sexual harassment, academic disability accommodation complaints, or with age, gender, race or ethnic group discrimination. The LASC Compliance Officer, Dean Oscar Cobian, can be reached at (323) 241-5328. The LASC Compliance Officer will work with the District Office of Diversity Programs to resolve complaints according to established procedures and LACCD Board Rules.
Role of the LASC Ombudsperson
The president of LASC appoints an Ombudsperson to assist students with their grievances (i.e. grades, discipline, etc.). The Ombudsperson facilitates the grievance procedure and assists students to resolve their grievances. The Ombudsperson also will arrange for a Student Grievance Hearing Committee to hear a student grievance when appropriate and arrange for the assistance of a Student Advocate as needed. The Ombudsperson Dean Oscar Cobian can be reached at (323) 241-5328.
LACCD Office of Diversity Programs
The District Office of Diversity Programs and the LACCD Compliance Officers handle complaints dealing with alleged sexual harassment; age, gender, race or ethnic group discrimination; and grade disputes. The District Office of Diversity Programs can be reached at (213) 891-2315.