January 18, 2007

CUNY Proposes New Procedures for Non-Academic Student Complaints

Administrators for the City University of New York have proposed new procedures for student complaints that are not related to either academic freedom or covered by other university policies. The plan would give a "Fact Finder" investigative responsibilities and creates panels to adjudicate those complaints in which an informal resolution cannot be reached. (CUNY Revised Policy.) The proposal states, in part:
The Fact Finder shall separately interview the complaining student, the faculty member and other persons with relevant knowledge and information and shall also consult with the chief student affairs officer and, if appropriate, the college ombudsman. [Emphasis added.]

The proposal is expected to come before CUNY’s board for ratification later this month and has faculty leaders worried that their institution may end up giving conservative activists a victory. Moreover, Myron Schwartzman, Interim Ombudsperson at Baruch College, points out that there already is a structure in place for student complaints at every CUNY college: the Ombudsperson, who is a designated neutral, providing confidentiality to all persons seeking his or her services. (Inside Higher Education.)

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