Student Complaints Regarding ABA Standard 510

As an ABA-approved law school, Vermont Law School is required to comply with the ABA Accreditation Standards.  We have developed the following policy and procedures for student complaints that directly implicate the program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA Accreditation Standards. Those standards may be found at:

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/standards.html See Standard 510 for details about the complaint requirement.

This policy and the procedures set forth below apply only to complaints that directly implicate the law school's program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools. It does not address or preclude complaints under other Vermont Law School policies and procedures, such as the Honor Code, the Code of Conduct, the Sexual Assault Policy, the Policy against Sexual Harassment and Discrimination, etc.

Complaint Procedure

1. If a student has a concern and wants to file a formal complaint with the law school administration, the student should complete this form:  to officially submit the complaint to the Vice Dean for Students and the Vice Dean for Faculty. 

2. Submission of this form will indicate that it is an ABA Standard 510 Complaint. It should describe in detail the behavior, program, process, or other matter that is the subject of the complaint. It should explain how the matter directly implicates the law school's program of legal education and its compliance with a specific ABA Standard (or Standards). It should explicitly state which ABA Standards are implicated.

3. The complaint must provide the name and official VLS email address of the student for further communication about the complaint. 

4. The complaint must be dated and electronically signed.

Investigation and Resolution

1. The Vice Dean, or their designee, will acknowledge receipt within five business days of receipt of the electronic complaint form via email to the address listed.

2. The Vice Dean may delegate responsibility for investigating the complaint, responding to the complaint, or resolving the matter to another administrator, faculty member, or staff member.

3. Once the complaint has been acknowledged, the Vice Dean, or their designee, will respond to the student as soon as possible but no later than twenty (20) business days after acknowledgement of the complaint. That response may be a meeting with the student or a written response, and it will either be a substantive response to the complaint, information about what steps are being taken to address the complaint, or to further investigate the complaint.

4. If further investigation is needed, the student will be provided either a substantive response or information about the steps being taken by the law school once that investigation is completed. This response will be given to the student, either orally or in writing, within ten (10) business days after completion of the investigation.

Appeal

1. Within twenty (20) business days of issuance of the law school's response, the law student may appeal the decision to the President and Dean of Vermont Law School. The appeal must be in a writing addressed to the Dean, signed by the law student, and it must explain the basis for the appeal.

2. The decision of the President and Dean shall be final.

Records

A record of the student complaint and the response to it, including any decision on appeal, shall be retained by the Vice Deans' Office for a period of eight years.

Non-Retaliation

The law school will not retaliate in any way against an individual who makes a complaint under this policy nor will it permit any faculty member, administrator, employee, trustee, or student to do so.