Student Complaint Resolution

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities/Advocacy (OSRR/A) provides students with information on academic and non-academic matters and advocacy services on behalf of the student body in a fair, equitable and objective manner. Many of the issues presented are addressed through dispute resolution and mediation services. Resources and referrals are also facilitated by OSRR/A for students to effectively navigate through various obstacles and challenges in support of attaining a successful and enriching College experience. The two independent officers of the College who provide these services are the Judicial Officer and the Ombudsman. 

Student Complaint Process

Academic Complaint:

Procedure for handling student complaints against faculty: 

Students are encouraged to attempt to resolve complaints informally with the faculty member or to seek the assistance of the department chairperson or campus ombudsperson to facilitate informal resolution. 

Academic Appeal:  An academic or grade appeal can be initiated if a student wishes to contest their grade for a course, and may include circumstances that impacted the student’s performance in a given class/classes, at any point during the semester in question. 

Note: Other requests for grade changes must first be made to the Instructor of the course(s) and then to the Academic Department Chairperson before filing an appeal. 

Academic Policies 

Academic Appeal Instruction and Form  

Non-Academic Complaint:

Students with nonacademic complaints are referred to the College  Ombudsperson  for direction and clarification of existing policy. The  Ombudsperson  will assist in resolving issues by referring students to the appropriate office, first contacting that office to make them aware of the issue and determine solutions prior to the student following up. If resolution is unsuccessful, the  Ombudsperson contacts the Dean or Director responsible for the Office/staff member that the student is complaining about. Within 48 hours, the Dean or Director contacts the student to resolve the matter and the Ombudsperson is advised of the outcome. 

LaGuardia Community College’s Chief  Diversity Officer  for issues of discrimination 

Procedures for filing a complaint of this nature can be found on Page 81 in the  Student Handbook 

Public Safety  (for criminal and safety concerns) 

Important Note: All written communications will be made using the College email accounts unless other arrangements are made. 

If students seek the services of the College  Ombudsman  in order to facilitate resolution, the following will occur: 

  • Step 1:  Students arrive at the VP for Student Affairs Office, and complete a student intake form. 
  • Step 2:  The Ombudsperson will operate as an impartial party, hearing the student’s concern. 
  • Step 3:  The Ombudsman will advise students regarding next steps and refer students to the professor/academic department to attempt resolution. Students are strongly encouraged to return if the attempt at resolution is unsuccessful. 

If informal resolution is unsuccessful or not possible, the student may file a formal written complaint with the Ombudsperson, the academic department chairperson, or if the chairperson is the subject of the complaint, with the academic dean or a senior faculty member designated by the college president: this person is referred to as the “Fact Finder.” The complaint shall be filed within 30 calendar days of the alleged conduct, unless there is good cause shown for delay, including but not limited to delay caused by an attempt at informal resolution. 

The process for handling student complaints (including academic complaints), along with the Henderson Rules for Maintaining Order, can be found in the  Student Handbook and the  Student Code of Conduct . 


LaGuardia Community College has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). A number of U.S. states and territories have entered into a voluntary agreement called the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) that establishes one set of national standards and regulations for offering certain out of state activities.

Under NC-SARA rules, students have the right to lodge a complaint or grievance if that student’s experience in an online program is not what they anticipate. Note that complaints regarding grades and general student conduct issues are not governed by this distance education complaint process. 

PLEASE NOTE:  Student complaints should first be heard by the program or department which offers the program. If a student’s complaint is not resolved in a satisfactory manner by an academic program or department, a student may contact the campus ombudsperson for further resolution (see above).  

CUNY students who have complaints that have not otherwise been resolved through contact with LaGuardia Community College internal offices (as discussed above) may seek advisement from the New York State Education Department.  

Supervisor of Higher Education Programs 
New York State Education Department 
89 Washington Avenue 
Albany, NY 12234 
(518) 474-1551 

Should a complaint not be resolved through the above entities, the contact information for CUNY’s regional accreditor (Middle States Commission on Higher Education) is provided below. 

Middle States Commission on Higher Education 
1007 North Orange Street 
4th Floor, MB #166 
Wilmington, DE 19801 
Telephone: (267) 284-5011 

For more information, please see: