Student Grievance Policies and Procedures
For Grievances of Academic Issues Related to Grades, Course Information, Course Content, Faculty Conduct, Performance, or Attitude.
Except in matters pertaining to adding or dropping a class (which is handled by our Registrar), Mid-America allows each individual faculty member to establish grading criteria and the subsequent assignment of grades upon evaluation of a student’s work. Most disputes regarding grades can be resolved between a faculty member or administrator and the student. However, in cases where the issue is not resolved, Mid-America has established the following procedure:
- The student completes, signs, and delivers the Student Grievance Form to the Director of Student Life, who will then contact the appropriate person(s) to attempt a resolution to the grievance.
- If the situation remains unresolved, the matter will be addressed by the Seminary Dean, who will attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance. The student may request a student council representative or another faculty member attend the meeting as well.
- The Seminary Dean will make a final decision concerning the grievance which will be binding upon all parties.
For Grievances of Administrative Issues Related to Support Services:
- The student completes, signs, and delivers the Student Grievance form to the Director of Student Life, who will then contact the appropriate person(s) to attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance.
- If the situation remains unresolved, the matter will be addressed by the Executive Vice President, who will attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance. The student may request a student council representative or another faculty member to attend the meeting as well.
- The Seminary Dean will make a final decision concerning the grievance which will be binding on all parties.
For Grievances of Academic or Administrative Issues Related to Sexual Harassment:
Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary respects the personhood of all individuals, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or religion. The Seminary; therefore, takes seriously any and all accusations of abuse regarding these matters. It is our policy to maintain an environment free from sexual harassment and harassment in any form.
Sexual harassment is prohibited by the Seminary and by federal and state law. Sexual harassment includes all unwelcome sexual overtures or advances including, but not limited to, offensive jokes, comments, innuendos, or other sexually oriented statements; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as terms or conditions of a student’s academic achievement, or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions regarding the student’s academic status, or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a student’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning environment.
Any student who believes that he/she is the victim of harassment should report it to the President’s Office or complete a Student Grievance Form within 48 hours (failing to report an issue within 48 hours will not invalidate a harassment complaint). A written complaint of the harassment should include the names of those involved, the specific nature of the offense, and the date(s) the harassment occurred. The President’s Office will conduct a thorough investigation of the complaint, and appropriate remedial action will be taken. All information gathered in the investigation will be treated confidentially unless the information needs to be shared to aid in the investigation or resolution of the issue. If an internal investigation confirms the harassment allegations, prompt and appropriate corrective action will be taken with commensurate redress to the victim. Students reporting incidents of sexual harassment or cooperating with an investigation thereof will be protected from all forms of reprisals. The confidentiality of the parties involved will be protected throughout the investigation, and only those parties whom the President deems necessary to have knowledge of the case will be informed.
Any employee found to be guilty of violating this policy will face disciplinary action up to and including termination. Likewise, disciplinary measures will be applied in any instance where harassment accusations are found to be fraudulent or fabricated for malicious reasons.
As a Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary student, you are preparing for ministry, which means maintaining a high standard of moral integrity. Each student agrees that he or she will:
- Support and follow the Honor Code
- Only use personally authorized materials and avoid participating with others in cheating
- Not facilitate cheating, and if he or she becomes aware of violations of academic or moral integrity, he or she understands his or her responsibility to the seminary community and will at least say something to the student involved or discuss the situation with a professor or the appropriate Dean.
Academic work is evaluated on the assumption and expectation that the work presented is the student’s own unless designated otherwise. Anything less is unacceptable and is considered academically dishonest. Collaboration, plagiarism, and cheating—all defined below—are considered forms of academic dishonesty, and students guilty of such are subject to disciplinary action.
- Collaboration: Submission of a paper that is paraphrased from or identical to another student’s paper. A “paper” is defined as “any materials submitted by a student for credit in a course.”
- Plagiarism: Submission of a paper in which substantial portions are paraphrased without documentation or are identical to published or unpublished material.
- Cheating: The improper use of books, notes, another student’s tests, or other aids during an examination. It is the responsibility of the student to get approval for the use of such aids prior to the time of the examination, and without such approval, they will be considered improper. An “examination” is defined as “any testing situation in which the score will be used for credit in a course.”
Failure on a student’s part to live up to this Honor Code becomes the concern of the appropriate Dean and faculty advisor. (It is assumed, however, that any matter of concern in this area between members of the Seminary community will first be dealt with according to the principles of Matthew 18:15–22). All disciplinary matters are subject to review before a Student Disciplinary Committee. This Committee is composed of the Dean of Women or the Dean of Men as chairperson, the Faculty Advisor of the student in question, the President of the Student Council, and one other faculty member.
“Due process” in dealing with disciplinary problems is primarily for the purpose of protecting the reputation of a student against false or unsupported accusations. The purpose of disciplinary action is always redemptive, with every effort made to help the student involved to gain insight into his or her own needs and motivations as a potential minister in Christian service. Where there is evidence of personality and character weaknesses that would make it unwise for a student to continue in preparation for the ministry, the student is given counsel to help him or her see that fact.
A Student Disciplinary Committee will handle all cases referred to it by the appropriate Dean and will be the appellate body for decisions made by the Dean that are appealed by the student. The Committee will handle any case involving the possible dismissal of a student, and dismissal may only take place by the action of the faculty. The student will receive a written statement of charges against him or her. He or she may be accompanied by a personal representative, may bring witnesses on his or her own behalf, and may choose not to answer any of the questions directed to him/her. If either the Student Disciplinary Committee or the student deems the advice of a lawyer necessary, such a person may give any advice he or she believes pertinent; but he or she may not enter into the proceedings and/or deliberations of a Student Disciplinary Committee.
Should the situation warrant it, the student may be given a warning, disciplinary probation, required leave of absence, or a dismissal. The appeal of any action of the Student Disciplinary Committee may be made to the faculty in writing. Further appeal may be made after the faculty’s decision to the President of the Seminary. Such an appeal must be in writing, and a personal interview will be granted with the appeal.
If the student feels that he or she has witnessed a violation of the honor code or if he or she has personally violated the honor code, he or she is to take the following steps:
- The student completes and delivers the Student Grievance Form to the Director of Student Life, who will then contact the appropriate person(s) to attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance.
- If the situation remains unresolved, the matter will be addressed by the Academic Vice President, who will attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance. The student may request that a student council representative or another faculty member attend the meeting as well.
- The Seminary Dean will make a final decision concerning the grievance.
Complaint Resolution Policies and Procedures for Non-Tennessee Resident Students in State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement States, commonly known as SARA.
Student complaints relating to consumer protection laws that involve distance learning education offered under the terms and conditions of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) must first be filed with the institution to seek resolution.
Complainants not satisfied with the outcome of the Institution’s internal process may appeal, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Request Complaint Review.
For purposes of this process, a complaint shall be defined as a formal assertion in writing that the terms of SARA or the laws, standards, or regulations incorporated by the SARA Policies and Standards have been violated by the institution operating under the terms of SARA.
For a list of SARA member states, please visit the NC-SARA website. Students residing in non-SARA states should consult their respective state of residence for further instruction for filing a complaint.
For a full list of student policies, please consult the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary’s Student Handbook.