Student complaints can be placed with the Michigan College of Optometry or with the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) at a national level. Please review the following information as both processes are outlined below.
MCO Student Complaint Information
Outline of MCO Process
The Michigan College of Optometry (MCO) at Ferris State University is committed to fostering a positive environment for all students. The college and university have established policies and procedures to promote this commitment. As part of this commitment, MCO is providing students with an avenue to express concerns and work with college representatives for a resolution. MCO believes in engaging in an fair and honest process which can also be a valuable educational experience for students to transfer as they address issues in their profession after college.
This policy applies to all Michigan College of Optometry (MCO) students.
This policy does not apply to complaints that are covered by other college/university policies such as, Complaints about sex discrimination, harassment/ or retaliation which are handled under Title IX.
Informal Complaint Process
Many times issues can be resolved with open and honest communication between the parties involved. A student is encouraged to first attempt to resolve the issue informally. This can be done by identifying a safe place and time to talk with the person(s).
Formal Complaint Process
If a problem is not resolved through the Informal Complaint Process, student can refer to the MCO Student Complaints Policy to determine next steps in registering a complaint with the Associate Dean’s Office.
To file a formal complaint, click on the Student Complaint Form Icon at the top of this page. You will need to complete the form and all required fields. Once submitted, the form will be reviewed by the Associate Dean’s office. If necessary, a follow up meeting may be scheduled to discuss the matter further.
Student Anonymity (Confidentiality)
A student can request that their identity remain confidential. Every effort will be made to honor this request unless there is a justifiable reason to do otherwise. If possible, the student will be notified beforehand.
ACOE Student Complaint Information
The Council will only consider concerns related to matters that are allegations of noncompliance to the Standards of accreditation or to the ACOE procedures as complaints where the alleged event(s) must have occurred within no more than one (1) year prior to the date of submission of the complaint. Concerns received that do not relate to ACOE’s Standards of accreditation or procedures, do not relate to event(s) within the past one (1) year, or that do not have sufficient documentation to warrant an investigation will be disposed of in an appropriate manner at the discretion of the ACOE Executive Committee. An exception to the one (1) year limitation may be made, at the discretion of the Executive Committee. When it is determined that no investigation is warranted, the complainant shall be so informed. The ACOE provides the program sufficient opportunity to respond to the complaint prior to making a decision regarding a complaint. The ACOE takes follow-up action, as necessary, including enforcement action, if necessary, based on the results of its review. Pursuant to USDE requirements, evaluation visit teams will receive records of any complaints pertaining to a program being reviewed that have been received since the program’s previous evaluation visit. The costs related to the complaint process will be divided equally between the Council and the program.
An individual or group desiring to file a complaint with the ACOE shall submit the written complaint in signed by the complainant(s) via emailed attachment to the Director or the Chair of the Council. The complaint must be specific in detail and include all information the complainant wishes considered. Upon request and if possible, the Council may withhold or protect the identity of the complainant(s). The ACOE Executive Committee convenes to evaluate the submitted complaint and determines whether it is relevant to the ACOE Standards and/or procedures, in alignment with this Policy. Upon receipt of a relevant complaint, the Council will forward within twenty (20) business-days a copy to the chief executive officer of the program for response. When the name of the complainant is being withheld/protected, the Director shall summarize the complaint or redact identifying information prior to forwarding to the program.
The program will have twenty (20) business-days to respond to the complaint and to provide all information it would like considered. The Chair of the Council may grant an extension of time to respond to the complaint if warranted. A request for delay must be submitted in writing within the twenty (20) business-day period referenced above. If an evaluation visit is scheduled to begin within ninety (90) days of the receipt of the complaint, then the Council will also refer the complaint to the chair of the evaluation visit team visiting the program for investigation and action during the regular course of the evaluation visit process. When the complaint is not referred to the chair of the next evaluation visit team, the chief executive officer of the program, or other appropriate person, will be asked to provide the Council with a written summary of actions that led to the complaint and any actions taken as a result of the complaint, including appropriate documentation available to support the summary. If the response received from the program satisfactorily demonstrates that the program is in compliance with the ACOE Standards, then the ACOE Executive Committee may dispose of the complaint in a manner it deems appropriate or opt to refer the matter to the Council as a whole for further consideration.
If the complaint’s allegations appear to be substantial and tend to suggest lack of compliance with one or more Standards and requirements of accreditation, then the Chair of the Council will appoint two (2) members of the Council who have no conflicting relationship with the program in question, including one public member, who will investigate the complaint. The public member will preside and direct the investigation. The investigation may, but need not necessarily, include a visit to the program against which the complaint was filed and may involve such hearings as deemed appropriate. This two-member investigative team shall have access to any and all information relevant to its inquiry. Upon completion of the investigation, the chair of the team shall report to the Council at its next regularly scheduled meeting. The Council shall take appropriate action, including but not limited to dismissing the complaint, requiring an interim visit, scheduling a full evaluation visit, or other appropriate corrective action to bring the program into compliance with the accreditation Standard(s) in question. The complainant and the program will be informed of the results of the investigation within thirty (30) business days of a decision