Complaints and Grievances

It is the intention of Johnson & Wales University to resolve complaints and grievances quickly, informally and as close as possible to the point of origin. The complaint and grievance process set forth below is not intended to be a forum to challenge university policy, but rather a means by which individuals can seek a timely and fair review of their concerns.

Exempt from Johnson & Wales’ complaint and grievance process are those areas for which there presently exists a separate complaint or grievance process or built-in review or appeal. Those exempt areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Actions by the dean of students, including matters that have been referred to Student Conduct
  2. Actions by Residential Life concerning contract release or room relocations
  3. Actions by the Academic & Financial Appeals Committee
  4. Actions by a faculty member, staff member or third party which may constitute harassment or discrimination (which should be referred to the nondiscrimination and Title IX coordinator, a nondiscrimination campus liaison, or Human Resources & Payroll, as set forth in the Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment Policy)
  5. Actions relating to voluntary medical withdrawals
  6. Actions relating to the review of accommodation decisions
  7. Actions relating to academic integrity

Complaint and Grievance Process

For the resolution of academic and administrative issues outside of the exempt areas, please follow the following process:

Step 1

A student should first address the complaint or grievance orally with the faculty or staff member involved within 5 days of the incident. The faculty or staff member will consider the complaint or grievance and notify the student of the faculty or staff member's decision within a reasonable time, usually 5 days.

Step 2

If the complaint or grievance cannot be resolved at the previous level, the student should present the complaint or grievance, in writing, to the appropriate department chair or department director within 5 days of receipt of the faculty or staff member’s decision. The department chair or department director will document his or her decision and provide a copy to the student, faculty or staff member, and dean of the appropriate school or college (in the case of an academic complaint or grievance) or the dean of students (in the case of an administrative complaint or grievance) within a reasonable time, usually 5 days.

Step 3

If the complaint or grievance is still unresolved, the student may request a final review at the dean’s level by submitting a written request for review to the dean of the appropriate college or school (in case of an academic complaint or grievance) or the dean of students (in case of an administrative complaint or grievance) or their designees. The written request should set forth the reasons that the student is seeking a review of the earlier decision and, in particular, should specify if the student feels that relevant, new information has come to light since the decision was made or that the decision was unjust or inconsistent with the circumstances of the incident. The request will be considered by the appropriate dean or designee. The decision of the reviewing dean will be final and a written copy of the decision will be given to the student.

Expedited Review

If there is a legitimate need for an immediate or expedited review of an academic or administrative decision, then written complaints and grievances or requests for review and decisions may not be required. The determination of whether an expedited review is appropriate is determined in the sole discretion of the dean of the appropriate college or school (in case of an academic complaint or grievance), the dean of students (in case of an administrative complaint or grievance) or their designees.

Note: Retaliation against any individual who has made a good faith complaint or grievance or cooperated in the investigation of such a complaint or grievance is a violation of university policy. Anyone found to have engaged in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or dismissal.

Student Complaint Process for Online Students 

Student Complaint Process for Online Students in SARA States 

Information on student complaint processes for students enrolled in the College of Online Education is below. For additional consumer information related to all other aspects of Johnson & Wales University, please see Student Consumer Information.

If you are enrolled as an online student and you have a complaint or grievance that cannot be resolved through Johnson & Wales University’s complaint and grievance process as set forth above, you may file a complaint with the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education (RI-CPE).

The Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education (RI-CPE) has promulgated a policy entitled “Student Complaint Procedure.” That policy is posted on the RI-CPE website. As specified in that policy, JWU students may file the following types of complaints with the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissions:

  • Allegations of consumer protection violations, including fraud and false advertising
  • Allegations of violations of state laws, rules or licensing requirements
  • Allegations of violations of accreditation standards
  • Allegations of violations of standards established by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA)
  • Complaints about education program quality
  • Other complaints as specific in the RI-CPE Student Complaint Policy

As specified in the RI-CPE Policy, such student complaints shall be delivered or mailed to the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (OPC) at the following address:

Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner
560 Jefferson Blvd.
Warwick, RI 02886-1304

Students may contact the OPC by phone at 401-736-1100, or visit the website.

Initial Complaints to be Filed with JWU

Before filing a complaint with the Rhode Island OPC, online students are expected to first file an internal complaint with JWU by following the process outlined above under the Complaint and Grievance Process. The complaint will be reviewed, evaluated and, whenever possible, resolved by the relevant JWU personnel. If the person bringing the complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the internal JWU complaint process, the complainant may file his/her complaint within 2 years of the incident about which the complaint is made with the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner as described above. The resolution of the complaint by the RI-OPC will be final.

Student Complaint Process for Online Students in Non-SARA States 

If you are enrolled as an online student living in a state that is not a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and you have a complaint or grievance that cannot be resolved through Johnson & Wales University’s complaint and grievance process, you may file a complaint with the state in which you reside by referring to the following list of State Agencies. To determine whether your state of residence is a SARA member, please refer to the website.

Notice Regarding Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC) Student Complaint Process

Any person or student who is a legal resident of Georgia claiming damage or loss against Johnson & Wales University may file a verified complaint with the executive director of NPEC after going through the university complaints and grievances process. The complaint must contain a detailed description of the claim, including dates, times and full names of all involved. Verification means that the complaint must be signed by the student or person filing the complaint and notarized, and state that the matters set forth in the complaint are true and correct. The complaint shall be investigated by the appropriate Standards Administrator (SA) of NPEC. The SA shall attempt to resolve the complaint between the university and the student. If the complaint cannot be resolved, the SA will issue a decision and inform each party that either has a right to request a hearing in writing before the executive director of NPEC within 10 days of receipt of the SA’s decision. The executive director may set a date and time for a hearing which shall be delivered to both parties by certified mail.

The Georgia NPEC may be contacted at Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission, 2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220, Tucker, GA, 30084, (770) 414-3330 or online.