By Austin Metz
Editor in Chief
As the students sat through the first week of class, they began to notice comments being made by their teacher that seemed off color and borderline inappropriate.
Four weeks into the semester, the comments had continued and became progressively more edgy. While most students wanted to confront the situation, few knew there were appropriate avenues to address the situation.
For students who have been in this situation or a situation like it, Grand Rapids Community College has updated its Ethics Monitoring System that provides students, faculty and members of the community a process to report possible ethical violations.
“This monitoring system provides multiple means to report concerns to the college,” said Kathy Keating, General Counsel at Grand Rapids Community College. “We
are really trying to maintain the highest expectations for our staff because we care about excellence and we care enough to give students an opportunity to be heard.”
Violations covered by the monitoring system include sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying to name a few.
Also, violations of different policies established by the college and the Student Code of Conduct are enforced by the system.
“When we receive formal or informal complaints, we will do an investigation,” Grand Rapids Community College President Steven Ender, Ed.D said. “We will try to work it out between the student and the faculty before we have to do things like take the faculty out of the classroom. We try to solve issues through mediation because a lot of it has to do with communication.”
Keating explained that the policy is in place to take care of situations to help provide a more encouraging learning experience.
“We want to provide an intellectually stimulating environment and atmosphere of encouragement in which academic excellence can flourish,” Keating said. “There are multiple means to report issues to the college which ensures there will be appropriate investigation and a resolution.”
Ender talked about the importance of this system in relation to the trust the college has with its student and faculty body.
“If we as a college ever broke the trust we have with our students then we would go down very quickly,” Ender said. “Trust is an incredibly important virtue. This system reaffirms the quality we are trying to set by investigating student and faculty situations. This is in place to help students who have been put in a powerless situation.”
Ender also encouraged students to become more familiar with the monitoring system.
“Students need to become familiar with the policies and processes the school has in place and they need to take advantage of these tools,” Ender said.
For individuals looking to report a possible violation by students, faculty or the surrounding community, concerns can be turned in through the GRCC Ethics Hotline at (616) 234-3169, to a staff member of the Human Resources Department, the Dean of Student Affairs or to the Office of General Counsel.
In addition to the Ethics Monitoring System, GRCC has added the Administrator Code of Ethics that establishes rules for the school’s administration to abide by. It’s goal to ensure appropriate guidelines are met to promote success for the school and the student body.
“The college continually looks at the guidelines of our accrediting body to ensure we have appropriate policies in place,” Keating said. “In the past, different polices served as a guide for the administration. The new policy is in place to clear up the fuzzy areas because we want people of integrity in everything we do.”
The Administrator Code of Ethics is the first of its kind and was written to ensure the school holds to the values it has set forward and to give the administration acceptable standards to be held to.