The purpose of this procedure is to administer Institutional Policy ST-16: Student Complaints.
This procedure applies to all West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine ("WVSOM") students and any student complaints falling under Institutional Policy ST-16: Student Complaints.
WVSOM reserves the right to amend this procedure at any time.
If the final calendar day of any deadline contained in this procedure falls on a weekend, WVSOM recognized holiday, or other non-business day, the deadline shall extend to the next WVSOM business day.
If a complaint filed under this procedure is against a WVSOM administrator responsible for receiving, investigating, or making determinations concerning the complaint, the WVSOM President shall designate an alternate administrator to perform the duties set forth in this procedure in place of the administrator against whom the complaint was filed.
Non-Retaliation. WVSOM prohibits any act of retaliation toward any student filing a complaint.
Filing of False Complaints. WVSOM will not tolerate the filing of false complaints. Deliberately false and/or malicious complaints will subject the false reporter to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from WVSOM.
Students may submit a complaint related to accreditation standards and procedures set by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation ("COCA"). All complaints must be in writing and signed and dated by the student and may be submitted directly to COCA. If submitting by email, the subject line should read, "Complaint Regarding COM", and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Complaint should be based on a violation of a COCA accreditation standard. The complainant should provide a narrative of the allegation as it relates to accreditation standards and include any documentation to support the allegation. This information must be accurate and well documented.
COCA accreditation standards can be found on the AOA website.
The contact information for COCA in the AOA Office of the Predoctoral Education is as follows:
Secretary, Commission on Osteopathic College Acreditation
Division of Predoctoral Education
142 East Ontario Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611-2864
Upon WVSOM's receipt of a complaint on accreditation standards from COCA, the Vice President for Administration and External Relations ("VP for Administration") and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean ("VP/Dean") will be sent a copy of the complaint within one (1) business day.
The VP for Administration shall review the complaint and investigate the allegations of noncompliance. The student complaint and the complaint will be kept confidential during the investigation. The VP for Administration shall report the results of the investigation to the VP/Dean in writing within ten (10) business days of receiving the complaint from COCA. The report shall include a determination of whether non-compliance with COCA accreditation standards and procedures occurred and all relevant facts supporting that determination.
The VP/Dean shall review the VP for Administration’s report and may seek clarification or additional information, if necessary. Within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving the report, the VP/Dean shall:
Make the final decision concerning whether non-compliance with COCA accreditation standards occurred and document that decision in writing;
Notify COCA of findings in writing, including a corrective action plan if the complaint had merit.
Forward a copy of the written decision to the VP for Administration and, if applicable, the appropriate WVSOM administrator(s) to address any non-compliance issues; and
Provide written notification to the student who filed the complaint and, if applicable, a summary corrective action plan.
If the VP/Dean decides that non-compliance occurred, the appropriate WVSOM administrator(s) shall take immediate steps toward addressing the non-compliance and shall provide written updates to the VP/Dean until the non-compliance issue has been resolved. Once the non-compliance issue has been resolved, the appropriate administrator(s) shall provide written notification of the final resolution to the VP/Dean.The VP/Dean will work with the COCA and ensure that corrective action is taken and any non-compliance is resolved.
Records of the receipt, adjudication, and resolution of any complaints related to COCA accreditation standards shall be forwarded to and kept on file in the Office of the VP/Dean for at least 20 years or as specified by COCA accreditation standards.
Students may file minor complaints concerning a matter not covered by a specific WVSOM policy directly with the appropriate department or the Office of Student Affairs for review and resolution. Such minor complaints may be handled directly by the appropriate department without following the formal complaint procedure set forth in this Section 5.
For those complaints not considered minor under Section 5.1 above, students may file a complaint concerning a matter not covered by a specific WVSOM policy to the Office of Student Affairs. All complaints under this Section 5.2 must be in writing and signed and dated by the student.
Upon receipt of a complaint meeting the requirements of Section 5.2, the Associate or Assistant Dean for Preclinical Education shall, as soon as possible, forward the complaint to the appropriate administrator(s), depending on the subject matter involved in the complaint, for review, investigation, and resolution. The Associate or Assistant Dean for Preclinical Education shall also forward a copy of the complaint to the VP/Dean.
The appropriate administrator(s) shall review the complaint, investigate the allegations, and, if warranted, determine any measures necessary to address or resolve the allegations in the complaint. The appropriate administrator(s) shall prepare a written report of the investigation, any determinations made to address or resolve the complaint, and any departmental or procedural changes that should be implemented based on the nature of the complaint. The appropriate administrator(s) shall provide a copy of the written report to the Institutional Continuous Quality Improvement ("CQI") Committee. The Institutional CQI Committee shall assess, as needed, the complaint and written report, including determinations made and any resulting departmental or procedural changes based on the complaint.
Within twenty (20) business days of receiving the complaint from the Associate or Assistant Dean for Preclinical Education, the appropriate administrator(s) shall provide written notification to the student who filed the complaint of the determinations made to address or resolve the complaint. The appropriate administrator(s) shall forward a copy of the written notification to the Associate or Assistant Dean for Preclinical Education and the VP/Dean.
Records of the receipt, adjudication, and resolution of any complaints received under this Section 5.2 related to academic matters shall be forwarded to and kept on file in the Office of the VP/Dean. Records of all other complaints received under this Section 5.2 shall be forwarded to and kept on file by the Associate or Assistant Dean for Preclinical Education. These records shall be kept for seven (7) years from the date of matriculation of the students filing the complaint.
Students with SARA complaints may, after exhausting WVSOM's internal complaint procedures set forth in Sections 5.1 and 5.2 above, contact the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, which is WVSOM's home state SARA Portal Entity, for further investigation into the complaint, at http://www.wvhepc.edu/inside-the-commission/special-initiatives/state-authorization-reciprocity-agreement-sara/.