Complaints from Students

Specific Appeals Processes

By directing complaints to the appropriate office or individual, students may be assured of appropriate action, when necessary. Included in the Berea College Catalog and the Student Handbook are policies and procedures for receipt of and response to student complaints or appeals in the following areas: charges of academic dishonesty, academics and grades, administrative withdrawals (suspensions, etc.), refunds, fines and charges, records contents and access, discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct and assault, judicial actions and procedures, housing, convocations, labor matters, and Student Life matters. Written student complaints in other areas should be addressed to the director of the office, service, or program with which the complaint is concerned.

Student Complaint Policy

Please note that complaints that are specific to acts of discrimination and/or harassment, grade appeals, or parking citations are addressed elsewhere in the Student Handbook and/or College Catalog and are not covered under this general policy. Instead, please refer to the Title VII/IX Sexual Harassment Policy, Grade Appeals Policy, or the Motor Vehicle Policy for Students.

Berea College strives to create a supportive, engaging, and responsive educational community that provides all students with a positive learning experience. It is the responsibility of all College employees and students to help ensure that Berea College achieves this goal. Whenever someone feels that the College has fallen short of this goal, the College takes seriously its obligation to investigate the substance of each complaint in a timely manner and make reasonable attempts to find a satisfactory resolution. When a student has a complaint, they are encouraged to first attempt to resolve the issue directly with the other person(s) or area involved. If a satisfactory resolution is not possible at this level, the complainant is encouraged to approach the immediate supervisor, department chairperson, or area supervisor to see whether a resolution can be found without the need of a formal complaint.

When a satisfactory resolution is not possible through these informal channels, the complainant should submit their complaint in writing using the College’s complaint portal found on the “My Berea” homepage. Once submitted, the complainant should receive within 24 to 48 hours a confirmation email that the complaint was received and the name of the College administrator who will be investigating the complaint. A complaint should include specific details of the complaint, as well as the preferred contact information of the complainant (e.g., Berea College email and campus post office box). Although the complexity and individual circumstances of each complaint will vary, it is the College’s goal to resolve all complaints in as timely a manner as possible, ideally within three to four weeks of the complaint being submitted.

The College administrator responsible for investigating each complaint will conduct a thorough inquiry. Upon concluding the investigation, the administrator will provide the complainant with a written response as to the resolution. In most cases, this written response will be provided within three to four weeks of the original date the complaint was submitted. In cases where additional time may be needed to complete an investigation, the complainant will be notified in writing of the delay.

If a complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of an investigation, they may appeal the conclusion and or proposed resolution. Appeals must be in writing and must be submitted within two weeks of receiving the written response from the administrator to whom the complaint was directed. All appeals are to be submitted via the same complaints portal on the “My Berea” homepage (choosing the “appeal” option) and will be reviewed by the President of the College. Once the appeal has been reviewed, the President will render a decision, in writing, within three to four weeks of receipt of that appeal. All decisions and resulting resolutions at this level will be final.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Complaints regarding noncompliance with accreditation standards, policies, and procedures may be made by contacting the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, telephone: 404-679-4500.

Harassment/Sexual Misconduct Complaints

Reports of harassment/sexual harassment should be directed by email to or by phone to 859-228-2323.

Also see Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.

Discrimination Complaints

Questions or complaints regarding discrimination (see “Nondiscrimination Policy” in this section) should be referred to the office or committee responsible for the activity concerned, e.g. athletics, student labor, academic courses, and Student Life. In addition, the College has appointed the following Compliance Officers under these provisions of law:

Disabilities Discrimination

The Vice President for Operations and Sustainability serves as Section 504 Compliance Coordinator. Questions or complaints in the area of disabilities discrimination should be referred to that office in Lincoln Hall 230.  Or call 859-985-3130 (See appeal-process information in Disabilities Services.)

Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination questions or complaints may be directed to the Title VII/Title IX Coordinator via email at or by phone at 859-228-2323.

General Complaints to Ombudsman Person

When a complaint does not fit one of the published processes for adjudication, the student should contact the Ombudsman for Students, Rachel Burnside, for guidance. (Their office is located in Danforth Hall or email Acting in the Ombudsman capacity, they inform relevant parties to such complaints and refers for action, mediates, or otherwise investigates the complaint, providing appropriate documentation of the complaint and action taken.