Purpose

IWS strives to treat all of its students fairly, yet there may be circumstances when students believe that they have been unfairly treated by an institute employee or by another student. In such cases, the grievance procedure provides for the student’s rights to be heard and assure equal opportunity under God for all. This policy does not apply to criminal activities, which are to be reported directly to law enforcement authorities.

Policy

A grievance is defined as any dispute or complaint arising between a student and another student or seminary personnel that significantly impacts a student’s functioning. Students who feel there has been an inconsistent application of policies or procedures or have some other grievance may access the grievance process as well.

IWS recognizes the value of a grievance process that provides for a timely review of student grievances in a fair yet workable manner. The grievance process outlined below encourages the informal and formal resolution of grievances at several stages.

Procedures

Student’s Responsibility

  • When confrontation takes place in Christian community it should be within the context of caring for one another and with openness, honesty and integrity.
  • A student who feels he or she has been grieved must make their dissatisfaction and/or complaint known to the person responsible for the action within 21 days after the occurrence, if the person responsible can be identified.
  • Should a resolution not be reached after the accused person has been approached, or should the grieved student choose not to confront the person responsible, the Dean of the Chapel, the Academic Dean or the President must be notified within the next 21 days to initiate the following steps. The student must narrate the grievance in written form and give it to the Dean of the Chapel, Academic Dean or the President who has been notified.
  • The student must keep a record of the date, times, nature of any incidences and witnesses, if any.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to ensure some grievance procedure is initiated within 42 days of the incident.
  • If the seriousness of the incident requires immediate action, inform the President.

Institute’s Responsibility

  • Assure the complainant within 14 days of being informed of a complaint that a fair examination of the grievance shall take place.
  • Advise the person alleged to be responsible that a complaint has been lodged within the same 14 days.
  • If the complaint is against an employee, the complaint must be reported to the employee’s supervisor, who will attempt to resolve the conflict prior to any further steps being taken.
  • Appoint an ad hoc Grievance Committee, if the complaint cannot be resolved, within 21 days of receiving the complaint. The committee should normally consist of two students (selected by the Dean of the Chapel) and two faculty members (selected by the Academic Dean) or two administrators (selected by the President), who were not involved in the mediation. If the appointment process is contested, the students and faculty or administrators may be selected by their peers. This committee is designed to clarify the issues which have led to the grievance, to enable the parties involved to appreciate each other’s perspective and to facilitate a resolution.
  • Conduct a synchronous meeting of the committee to determine within 21 days from being appointed, whether to intervene and reply in writing to the aggrieved party, with a copy to the President.
  • Conduct a synchronous interview of the complainant and the person(s) alleged to be responsible individually and collectively as soon as possible to gather further information.
    Interview any witnesses, if it is deemed beneficial, consider appropriate measures and attempt to achieve a satisfactory resolution.
  • The person(s) bringing the grievance and the accused shall have the right to present evidence, confront adverse witnesses, and be accompanied by an advocate who is a member of the IWS community.
    Although each party is entitled to seek legal counsel, no lawyers are permitted to attend the internal hearings.
  • Document the situation clearly and completely, which written summary shall be available to both parties to the grievance and to their advocate and/or counsel.
  • Render a written decision within 21 days of meeting and advise the parties of the action to be taken, if any.
    If a higher authority (like the President or the Board) is required to make a decision, forward all relevant material as soon as possible to the appropriate authority and advise all parties of the action taken. The decision of that authority shall be final.
  • Ensure that all information concerning the case be kept confidential. A record of a complaint shall be kept in the complainant’s file if it is determined that the complaint was frivolous or vexatious. Records relating to frivolous or vexatious complaints shall be removed from the accused’s file and any reference identifying the accused shall be removed from the complainant’s file.
  • If the incident involves the President, notify the Board of Trustees, within 14 days.

Accrediting Body

IWS's accreditation agency may be contacted at:

The Association of Biblical Higher Education
5850 T G Lee Blvd, Suite 130
Orlando, FL 32822