Baker Tilly Complaint Process Assessment & Findings
In the fall, we engaged Baker Tilly to review Adelphi’s complaint reporting and resolution process.
This assessment allowed us a deeper look into current processes used to gather and manage complaints from students, faculty, staff, and other members of the University community. Specifically, we looked to determine how complaints were being received, addressed, and followed up on throughout the University. Access the full Baker Tilly Complaint Process Assessment Executive Summary.
Adelphi Participants and Process
As part of the process, Baker Tilly conducted interviews with the following individuals:
- Three interviews/focus groups for representative students
- Two interviews/focus groups for representative faculty members
- Center of Student & Community Engagement
- Dining & Event Services
- Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Office of Internal Audit
- Office of the President
- Office of the Provost
- Public Safety
- Residential Life and Housing
- Student Access Office
- Student Conduct and Community Services
- Student Financial Services
- Title IX Office
Additionally, the firm conducted thorough reviews of policies, procedures, communications, and selected samples of complaints made within the University.
Summary of Findings
Their findings revealed these four top-level conclusions:
- Adelphi students, faculty, and staff must navigate a complex, decentralized system to make a complaint and request a status of their submission.
- Multiple intake points and handoffs during the process is confusing and frustrating. It causes a widespread feeling of informality and inconsistency as well as a lack of care.
- The various complaint processes do not follow a consistently applied process, timeline, and conclusion. This often results in confusion about next steps and expectations. The resulting perception can be one of unfair or inconsistent treatment and a lack of care.
- Because of inconsistently applied processes and unclear expectations, some members of the community described a lack of transparency. This has caused mistrust, feelings of being undervalued and disrespected, and fears of potential retaliation/lack of protection. This can result in hesitation to report concerns.
From these findings, Adelphi faculty, staff, and administration have identified several next steps. Over the next several months, our Adelphi community can expect the following developments:
- Establishment of a centralized Complaint and Investigation Office: This office will be a single point of contact for receiving and processing concerns, complaints, and reports of harassment, hate, racism, bias, and inappropriate conduct by our community members.
- Our new Complaint and Investigation Office will be staffed by legal personnel and a dedicated communications contact who are well-versed in the University’s Title IX, Student Conduct, and Community Standards policies.
- A care manager will be assigned to every matter, and formal complaint tracking software will ensure consistent timelines, expectations, updates and closure of cases for all involved individuals.
- A new website will be developed for the Complaint and Investigation Office to provide a single, comprehensive guide for community members to submit all reports and complaints.
- Review and Updates to the University Code of Conduct and Sanctions: Together with members of our faculty and student leadership, the Division of Student Affairs will conduct a review of our Code of Conduct.
- The review is an opportunity to consider updates to the Code so that it better reflects the University’s values and goals for a safe, inclusive, and welcoming campus culture.
- Informed by current best practices and consistent with professional standards outlined by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), the review will assess prohibited conduct, weaknesses, challenges, and student accountability.
- Creation of Escalation Protocols: Guidance and training will be provided to all relevant offices on escalation protocols, ensuring supervisors, directors, and executive leadership remain informed and involved as needed.