Student Consumer Complaint Process, Policies and Handbooks | Earlham College
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Student Consumer Complaint Process

On July 1, 2011, the “Program Integrity Rule” amendment of Title IV of the Higher Education Act took effect. This amendment requires institutions of higher education authorized to offer postsecondary education in one or more states to ensure access to a complaint process that will permit students to address the following:

  • Alleged violations of State consumer protection laws that include but are not limited to fraud and false advertising;
  • Alleged violations of State laws or rules relating to the licensure of postsecondary institutions; and
  • Complaints relating to the quality of education or other State or accreditation requirements.

As an institution authorized to provide postsecondary education in the State of Indiana, Earlham College will provide the following information about our accreditation and complaint processes to all current and/or prospective students.

Definition of a Formal Complaint

A formal complaint arises when a student believes, based on established College administrative policies and procedures, that he or she has been treated in a capricious or arbitrary manner by a College official and informal methods of resolving the concern have remain unaddressed or unsatisfactory.

Complaints not addressed through this process include:

Complaint Process

Earlham College strongly encourages all members of the community to engage one another informally, within the spirit of Principles and Practices, which promotes integrity, peaceful resolution of conflict, as well as responsibility. Resolving concerns in an educational setting, particularly one as diverse as Earlham, requires patience, civility and a commitment to listening. The vast majority of concerns arises from communication and misunderstanding and once addressed, can be resolved in a timely manner. Students are encouraged to go first to the source of their concern, be it a faculty or staff member, department or director. When concerns cannot be resolved satisfactorily, students may register a formal complaint to the respective office listed below.

Process for Filling a Complaint

If informal concerns have remained unaddressed, students may file a Formal Complaint in writing, addressed to contact named in the administrative area of the complaint. Students should specify the following:

  • Contact information of the person submitting the complaint;
  • Identity of the individual or department of concern;
  • A description of the specific individual behavior or action;
  • Brief outline of what steps have been previously taken, e.g., information regarding previous reports of discussions, whether any resolution occurred, with whom the student met, etc.;
  • The date or period of time in which the behavior occurred and the location of the incident;
  • A listing of all individuals who witnessed any part of the incident in dispute.

The College administrator assigned to the area of the complaint will review it and respond in writing to the student within 15 calendar days of the submission of the complaint.

Personnel in the offices of Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar, Academic Affairs, Student Life, Athletics and Human Resources can address and resolve most if not all of the questions and concerns you may have:

Admissions and Financial Aid

Admissions eligibility & processes:

  • Contact the Director of Admissions, Susan Hillmann de Castaneda, in Tyler Hall.
 765-983-1330 or

Financial aid, federal and institutional loans or aid, grants:

  • Contact the Director of the Financial Aid Office, Kathy Gottschalk, in Tyler Hall.
 765-983-1217 or

Final reports related to admissions or aid processes will be forwarded to David Hawsey, 
Vice President for Enrollment Management.

Academic Affairs

Academic programs or experience in the classroom:

  • Contact the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rebecca Thomas, in Carpenter Hall.

    765-983-1318 or

Academic records, credits, transcripts, enrollment verification:

  • Contact the Associate Registrar, Julie Stout, in Carpenter Hall.

    765-983-1515 or

Final reports related to academic concerns will be forwarded to Academic Dean, Becky Thomas.

Student Life

Student housing, student conduct, and health or counseling services:

  • Contact the Vice President for Student Life, Bonita Washington-Lacey, in Earlham Hall. 

    765-983-1311 or

Student life, student activities or leadership, bias response:

  • Contact the Vice President for Student Life, Bonita Washington-Lacey, in Earlham Hall. 

    765-983-1311 or

Sexual assault, harassment, stalking or intimidation:

Students may elect to contact any of the following:

  • Vice President for Student Life, Bonita Washington-Lacey, in Earlham Hall. 

    765-983-1311 or
  • Director of Public Safety, Christopher Little, at the Public Safety Office in Bolling House.
    765-983-1465 or
  • Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator, Stephanie Bishop, in Carpenter Hall.
    765-983-1628 or
  • Richmond Police Department, City of Richmond Building, 50 N. 5th St., Richmond IN.

    In emergency, 911.
    765-983-7247 for non-emergency reports.

Final reports related to student and campus life concerns will be forwarded to Hagi Bradley, Vice President of Student Life.

Public safety and human resources:

  • Public safety:

    Director of Public Safety, Christopher Little, at the Public Safety Office in Bolling House.
    765-983-1465 or
  • Student employment, work-study:

    Contact the Director of Human Resources, Stephanie Bishop, in Carpenter Hall. 

    765-983-1628 or

Tuition and fee payments and refunds:

  • Contact the Controller, Cathy Habschmidt, in the Accounting Office, in Carpenter Hall.
    765-983-1772 or

Final reports related to finance and operations will be forwarded to Stacy Davidson,
 Vice President of Finance and Administration.


  • Contact the Senior Director of Athletics, Julie Kline, in the Athletics and Wellness Center.


Final reports will be forwarded to President, Alan Price.

If unsure or your concern isn’t listed:

Contact the Office of Student Life, in Earlham Hall, at 765-983-1311.

Some student concerns or complaints may pertain to alleged violations of State consumer protection laws such as fraud and false advertising, alleged violations of State laws or rules relating to the licensure of postsecondary institutions, and complaints relating to the quality of education or other State or accreditation requirements. Additionally the College has designated a Title IX Coordinator to oversee complaints related to sexual harassment, and ADA Coordinators (for employees as well as students), to address complaints related to violations of varying disability regulations, and the provision of accommodations.


If within ten calendar days of receipt of the administrator’s decision, the complainant remains unsatisfied, he or she may appeal by submitting the following:

  • Copy of the original complaint in writing;
  • Copy of the administrator’s decision in writing;
  • Statement of reasons indicating how the decision is unsatisfactory.

This information should be submitted to the Vice President in the respective area of the initial complaint. If the administrator or focus of the complaint is the Vice President, the student may submit the appeal to the Director of Human Resources who will determine an alternative administrator of the appeal, in consultation with the President. The process of appeal will be limited to a review of the basis for the administrator’s original finding, only, i.e. whether procedures in reviewing the original complaint were followed. The complainant will receive the outcome of the appeal in writing within 30 calendar days of the assignment of the appeal.

Records of all formal complaints will be maintained by the Director of Human Resources.

Procedures for Annual Complaint Review

Annual review of formal complaints will occur on or about June 10 or each year. This review will be led by the Director of Human Resources and the designated review team. Patterns of concern, indicating remediation of processes or procedures will be forwarded to the divisional Vice President(s), with copies to the President, for his or her review.

Filing Complaints Outside of Earlham College

In rare instances, a student may not feel that these administrative procedures have adequately addressed the concerns. If a complaint has not been properly addressed within the College, it may be filed with other organizations at the state, regional or national levels. In such cases, the following independent resources are available to the student:

  • State of Indiana

    Indiana State Commission on Higher Education

    101 West Ohio Street, Suite 550
Indianapolis IN 46204

    317-464-4400 ext. 0
  • Regional Institutional and Academic Program Accreditors

    Earlham College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Contact HLC at (800) 621-7440 ext. 198 or  for further information.
  • National

    Complains in regard to civil rights violations or discrimination, are overseen the Office of Civil Rights, within the U.S. Department of Education. The regional office, with responsibility for Indiana, is in Chicago, IL.

    Office for Civil Rights/U.S. Department of Education

    Citigroup Center

    500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475

    Chicago IL 60661-4544

    Telephone: 312-730-1560

    FAX: 312-730-1576; TDD: 800-877-8339
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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.