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Pima Community College has created an Office of Dispute Resolution to address complaints and grievances from students, PCC employees and the community, Chancellor Lee D. Lambert announced at last night’s PCC Governing Board meeting.

The Office of Dispute Resolution will be central to the intake, triage, investigation, tracking and analysis of complaints and grievances, as well as to the identification of process improvements. PCC’s phone- and web-based compliance and ethics hotline will be expanded for use by all constituents as the primary intake point.

The office will report to the Office of Internal Audit, which provides objective appraisal of College operations, including programs, finances and governance. The internal auditor has complete access to College employees, policies, procedures and data, as well as access to the Governing Board.

“Students, employees and community members with a complaint or grievance about PCC should know that their concerns will be addressed consistently, objectively and fairly,” Chancellor Lambert said in a message to the College community.

In placing PCC on probation in April 2013, the Higher Learning Commission, the College’s accreditor, determined that PCC was out of conformity with HLC Assumed Practice A.4, “The institution provides clear information regarding its procedures for receiving complaints and grievances from students and other constituencies, responds to them in a timely manner, and analyzes them to improve its processes.”

The HLC directed the College to write a Monitoring Report outlining its plans to conform with Assumed Practice A.4. In the report, PCC recommended that the College “research the efficacy of and, if deemed appropriate, create a Dispute Management Office or Compliance and Ethics Office . . . for consistent oversight and tracking of complaints, grievances and feedback from all constituent groups.” The HLC endorsed the Monitoring Report in August 2013.

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