Complaint Policy

Official complaint policy for the university


In a spirit of continual improvement, Cardinal Stritch University recognizes the value of information provided by students, employees, and others in assessing the University’s performance.  Most issues of concern are resolved informally and relationally, consistent with our Franciscan values of caring community, compassion, and peacemaking.

When addressing a problem or issue informally and relationally, individuals are asked to speak to the person most directly responsible for the matter.  If the issue cannot be resolved at that level and an individual wishes to pursue the issue further, he or she may move up the “chain of command,”  one step at a time, from individual faculty or staff member, to department chairperson, and finally to the appropriate dean or vice president. The Student Success Center is available to advise students and members of the community as to the appropriate people and procedures.  The human resources office is available to advise employees regarding resolution of concerns. 

When concerns cannot be resolved informally, or additional review is required or requested, complainants are invited to file the grievance procedure best suited to their particular situation. Links to specific grievance procedures are provided below.   

The formal complaint process is reserved for times when the complainant believes that informal processes have not yielded an appropriate resolution and there has been a significant violation, or exists a significant flaw, in the University’s standards, policies, and procedures such that the complainant believes he or she is not being treated fairly and/or the situation creates unnecessary hardship.  Where there are grievance procedures, the complainant is expected to utilize those first, engaging in a formal complaint only when a relevant grievance procedure does not exist, or when the formal complaint process is the final step of the grievance procedure.  

The University has established grievance processes for the following issues:

Academic-related Grievances, Appeals, and Concerns

Financial Appeals, Grievances, and Concerns

Program Integrity Rule/Consumer Protection

Ethics/Treatment of Self and Others

Student Life Appeals, Grievances, and Concerns

Complaints Process

The online complaint form goes automatically to the Student Success Center. Complaints cannot be made anonymously.  The Student Success Center determines if a grievance or other resolution process more appropriately applies.  Cases are referred back to appropriate grievance coordinators as appropriate, with clarification and support to the complainant.

If a formal grievance process doesn’t apply, or is exhausted and doesn’t preclude a formal complaint, the issue may be referred to the complaint committee, which is comprised of a broad range of academic and administrative areas of the University.

Filing a Complaint

Individuals must follow procedures as outlined in the University’s Student, Faculty, or Employee Handbooks, and University Catalogs. The University regularly reviews its policies and procedures in each of these areas to ensure their clarity and consistent application, compliance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations, as well as best practices.  It is the complainant’s responsibility to familiarize him/herself with these policies and seek further clarity and assistance from the appropriate University department, where necessary.   The Student Success Center is available to assist students and community members in determining the appropriate process; the human resources office serves this function for employees.

Grievances and complaints must be in writing, and must not be anonymous, using the electronic submission form or by printing and mailing a completed copy of the complaint form.

Whether through a grievance or complaint process, an impartial examination of the situation will occur and a response to the complainant will be provided in a timely manner. After the decision is rendered, an analysis will be done by the department(s) involved to clarify or improve processes as appropriate.

An aggregate report, containing data from formal complaints and grievances, will be prepared semi-annually by the senior director of student success.  This report will highlight trends, and potential areas requiring further review. 

Individuals filing a complaint will be treated with dignity, and their privacy honored to the extent possible to investigate and resolve a complaint.  Retaliation against an individual filing a complaint in good faith is strictly prohibited, and will result in disciplinary action for any employee or student engaging in such retaliatory behavior.