Student Concern Procedure
The Athenaeum is committed to the well-being and fair treatment of every student. Students who have concerns, disputes, or grievances are encouraged to report their concerns to the appropriate office and/or faculty or staff member. Reporting options are listed below.
The Athenaeum regularly seeks student feedback through course evaluations and other surveys. Students are encouraged to provide constructive critical feedback. These reviews and surveys are carefully reviewed each semester to determine areas of improvement for the institution.
Anonymous online reporting
Students have the option to report concerns anonymously via an online Student Concern form, which is received by the Registrar and brought to the appropriate office and senior administrator for review.
Students may file a formal complaint either as an appeal of an issue that was not addressed to their satisfaction or as a first recourse for serious issues. Formal complaints must be filed in writing to the President of the Athenaeum and must include the student’s name, contact information, and signature. The Office of the President maintains a record of these formal student complaints, actions taken, their resolution, and any third-party appeals. The student is notified of any decisions and actions taken in response to their concern. Institutionally, the course of action decided upon by the President serves as the final remedy to the concern.
For serious concerns that need to be addressed outside of the institution, students may file reports with various third-party agencies:
• Within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, students can file a report through EthicsPoint, a third-party reporting system that enables anyone to report concerns regarding financial, professional, child protection, or personal misconduct on the part of any employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati or any of its parishes, schools, or ministries.
• Within the State of Ohio, students can file a report with the Ohio Department of Higher Education through their student complaint form.
• Students can also file a report with the Athenaeum’s regional accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, through their student complaint form.
A student with a grievance regarding grades, coursework, or the classroom environment should speak to their instructor. Student grievances regarding instructor quality or behavior should be brought to the Dean of the School of Theology or to the Dean of the Seminary as appropriate. In the case of appeals or serious grievances, students should file a formal complaint and follow the academic grievance procedure outlined in the Catalog.
A student with a concern regarding faculty or staff misconduct should report their concern to the faculty or staff member’s immediate supervisor. In all cases, this would be the director of the office in which they work or the dean of the division in which they teach. For directors and other staff, follow the reporting guide below:
• Report to the Dean of the Athenaeum concerns with the Library Director, Registrar, or Directors of Recruitment & Admissions.
• Report to the President of the Athenaeum concerns with the Dean of the School of Theology, Dean of the Athenaeum, Dean of Students, Director of Development & Relations, Directors of Formation, Liturgy, Music, Diaconate, or Field Education, Senior Accountant, or Business Manager.
• Report to the Business Manager/Director of Human Resources concerns with other staff.
If misconduct is of a sexual nature, it should be reported immediately to the President of the Athenaeum as a formal complaint. Students can also report sexual misconduct to the third parties noted above. More information on sexual harassment procedure can be found in the Seminarian Handbook and School of Theology Handbook.
Misconduct that is of a violent or threatening nature should likewise be reported immediately to the President of the Athenaeum as a formal complaint, and/or to the third parties noted above, as well as to local authorities if necessary.
Concerns of another student’s misconduct should be brought to the instructor. Issues of serious misconduct, such as theft, harassment, or cheating, or issues not occurring in the classroom should be brought to the Dean of Students, Dean of the School of Theology, and/or Dean of the Athenaeum.
If misconduct is of a sexual nature, it should be reported immediately to the President of the Athenaeum as a formal complaint. Students can also report sexual misconduct to the third parties noted above. More information on sexual harassment procedure can be found in the Seminary Handbook and School of Theology Handbook.
Misconduct that is of a violent or threatening nature should likewise be reported immediately to the President of the Athenaeum, and/or to the third parties noted above, as well as to local authorities if necessary.
Health & safety
Concerns about student health and safety include food services, physical plant, and janitorial services. Seminarians should report their concerns to the Dean of Students. School of Theology students should report their concerns to the Business Manager.
Concerns of violence, serious injury, or serious illness should be reported immediately. Students should contact local authorities if necessary.
Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology does not discriminate against students on any basis, including race, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, except where religion or sex is a bona fide qualification for entrance into certain ministry formation tracks leading to Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. Issues involving discrimination by another student, faculty, or staff should be immediately reported to the Dean of the Athenaeum.
It is the policy of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protecting qualified individuals with disabilities. The institution provides reasonable accommodations for known physical or mental disabilities to qualified individuals to the extent required by law, provided that the requested accommodations do not create undue hardships for MTSM and/or do not pose direct threats to the health or safety of the requesting individuals and/or others. Concerns with accommodations should be brought to the Dean of the School of Theology or to the Dean of the Athenaeum.
Sexual harassment policy
Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology is adamantly opposed to any form of sexual harassment toward or by any individuals connected with this institution. Such behavior will not be tolerated and will be investigated. Proven sexual harassment will be cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or expulsion.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
• Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s advancement.
• Submission to, or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions that affect the individual.
• Such conduct has the intention or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or defensive environment.
Sexual harassment may involve persons of the opposite sex or persons of the same sex. It does not include good faith compliments, normal (in the context of commonly accepted) social interaction, and interaction welcomed by the recipient.
Categories of Sexually Harassing Behavior
The following are for descriptive purposes only and may include other types of behavior.
• Physical – forced sex; kissing, grabbing, touching in socially unacceptable places (i.e. breasts, buttocks, knees, groin); touching hair, clothes, hugging, caressing; invading space, blocking movement
• Verbal – requests for sexual favors, especially with implied or explicit threats or promises of academic or other benefit; degrading, abusive or hostile personal or gender-related remarks; requests for a date; sexist or sexual remarks
• Visual – the use, in a seductive way, of posters, drawings, cartoons or other media which are sexual and/or sexist in nature, either blatantly or subtly; inappropriate eye contact, e.g., staring at breasts, buttocks, “undressing with the eyes.”
Reporting of Sexual Harassment
If a student is harassed by another student or by any individual connected with the institution, i.e. faculty, employee, or volunteer, he/she should contact the Rector immediately. The student may also contact the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and file a report through EthicsPoint.
Concern over another student
Seminarians who have concerns over another student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being should report them to the Dean of Students. School of Theology students should report these concerns to the Dean of the School of Theology. If necessary, the dean will contact appropriate outside services for investigation, action, and support.