Student Handbook

Administrative Complaints

Student Affairs views Skidmore students as emerging adults responsible for managing, with our support and guidance, their academic and personal affairs. While we are often inclined toward solving problems for our students, we try instead to help them acquire the information and strategies that they need to explore possible remedies for their concerns. We ask parents to trust this educational effort whenever possible, rather than intervene with an office or program on behalf of students.

When students have questions about College policy or practice, we expect them to review the appropriate policies and handbooks and to pursue their concerns directly with the appropriate office or program. As examples, students should direct questions about housing to the Office of Residential Life and questions related to financial aid to the staff of Financial Aid Office. Student Affairs staff are available to advise students about appropriate offices and best strategies in most circumstances.

If a student remains dissatisfied with the decision of an office or program, the student can ask the dean or vice president responsible for the area of concern to review the decision or policy. However, the dean or vice president will not change a decision that seems consistent with general principles of fairness, equity, and College policy. In the majority of academic situations, moreover, the faculty exercise final authority for decisions regarding the classroom, course requirements, and academic standards and expectations.

In most complaint-resolution cases, the dean or vice president’s decision is final. If students or parents remain dissatisfied with the decision, they may ask the President to review the practice or policy. Students and parents should write to the President, explaining the circumstances and describing the conversations that have taken place with other College staff. If the appropriate dean or vice president has not yet reviewed the decision, the President’s Office will generally direct students and parents to the campus office most directly responsible for the area of concern. The President only reviews situations or problems of substantial consequence to students or parents and of broad concern to the College.

Procedures for Filing Administrative Complaints

The College provides a variety of avenues for students and parents to follow should they experience difficulty getting their needs met. Typically, these needs involve issues of student residence and student life, finance, academic requirements, parking, etc. Whenever students and parents have questions about College policy or practice regarding these and other issues, the best course of action is to pursue conversations with the appropriate offices. For example, student housing and student life questions are best directed to the Office of Student Affairs, working with staff first and, if students and parents are not satisfied, progressing to a conversation with the Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs. The same pertains to questions involving finance: The Office of Financial Services and the Office of Student Aid and Family Finance are the first points of contact.

However, should students and parents find that their concerns have not been adequately addressed, they have recourse with the President’s Office via the Special Assistant to the President. Students and parents should call or write the President, explaining the circumstances and describing the conversations that have taken place with other College staff. (If the President’s Office is the first point of contact, students and parents will be directed to the appropriate campus office for resolution.) The Special Assistant to the President, and the president if necessary, will assess cases and then respond to the student or parent in written correspondence, with a phone call, or both. Neither the President nor their staff is prepared to change policy, but contact with the President’s Office may help facilitate resolution in difficult cases.