As an ABA-approved law school, Vermont Law School is required to comply with the ABA Accreditation Standards, and 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 512 for details about the complaint requirement.
1. 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, and the like.
2. Complaints that do not directly implicate the law school's program of legal education and its compliance with ABA Standards or that are not governed by other policies as indicated in the above paragraph may be addressed to:
a. the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity if the complaint concerns the behavior of a student;
b. the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs if the complaint concerns the behavior of a faculty member; or
c. a staff member's immediate supervisor if the complaint concerns the behavior of a staff member.
1. If a student has a concern and wants to file a formal complaint with the law school administration, the student should submit the complaint in writing to the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity. The written complaint may be submitted in person to the appropriate Dean's office on the second floor of Debevoise Hall or it may be submitted by U.S. mail, campus mail, or e-mail from the student's VLS e-mail account.
2. The writing should indicate that it is an ABA Standard 512 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. If the complaint is submitted by U.S. mail, it must also provide the student's local mailing address.
4. The complaint must be dated and signed. A complaint submitted by e-mail is deemed to be signed by the student from whose e-mail account the complaint is submitted.
Investigation and Resolution
1. The dean to whom the complaint is submitted will acknowledge receipt within five business days of receipt of the written complaint. That acknowledgement may be made, at the option of the dean, by email or by U.S. mail.
2. The dean to whom the complaint is submitted 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 appropriate dean or the dean's 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 or 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.
1. Within twenty (20) business days of issuance of the law school's response, the law student may appeal the decision to the Dean and President of Vermont Law School. The appeal must be in a writing addressed to the Dean and President, signed by the law student, and it must explain the basis for the appeal.
2. The decision of the Dean and President shall be final.
A record of the student complaint and the response to it, including any decision on appeal, shall be retained by the Dean's Office for a period of eight years.
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.