The School of Teaching ESL assures that all students are free to raise grievances without any threat of retaliation or unfair treatment for doing so. Students have the right to express complaints and raise concerns/issues relating to grading, academic procedures, or personnel, such as alleged violation of school policy, procedural or regulatory policies that are perceived to be unfair, alleged inequitable treatment, or retaliation. Wherever possible, grievances will be handled with the utmost discretion in order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of students concerned.

We encourage students to seek resolutions to grievances at the most immediate level. Addressing grievances as they arise and engaging in direct communication will lead to more clarity and greater success in resolving issues before they become more serious problems.

If speaking to the immediate person(s) involved doesn’t lead to a resolution that is acceptable to the student, then the student must follow this Grievance Procedure in order to proceed with a formal complaint.

S-TESL policies are contained in course packets and in the Student Handbook. Grading Guidelines are detailed in all course packets.

Discrimination & Harassment Statement

The School of Teaching ESL prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, ethnic and national origin, age, sex, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, or other unlawful basis in the administration of any of its education, admission, and other school-administered policies and programs. Applicants must, however, be fluent in English listening, speaking, reading and writing to be deemed qualified to teach English.

Disability Statement
If you are enrolled in a Seattle Pacific University course and require accommodations for a documented disability, please contact Disability Support Services at or 206-281-2272. Students needing accommodations are encouraged to arrange accommodations and obtain approval before the start of an S-TESL class.

Guidelines for Filing a Grievance:

  • Grievances must be initiated in writing no later than 5 days after the incident or final class session.
  • At each grievance level, the parties will attempt to resolve the issue according to ethical practices, School of Teaching ESL and Seattle Pacific University policies.
  • Academic appeals may be made only on the grounds of unfair treatment and not against the professional judgment of the instructor(s).
  • The student should provide the necessary documentation to substantiate the grievance.



The grievance letter must be standard letter format, typed, dated, and signed. Emails are not acceptable. The grievance letter must…

  1. provide a full explanation of the grievance, including any staff involved, relevant details, dates of occurrence, and relevant supporting documentation
  2. indicate what outcome or solution is sought to resolve the situation
  3. be addressed to the party involved (instructor or other personnel)
  4. be submitted no later than 5 business days after the last class session or the incident

Whenever possible, the party involved will respond in writing and suggest a possible solution within three business days. However, some complaints may warrant more time to respond. Therefore, a response may take up to ten business days after receiving the complaint. A face-to-face meeting may be requested with the student. The Director may be invited to attend this meeting.

If the student is not satisfied with this Stage 1 response, they may submit a written complaint to the S-TESL Director as described in Stage 2 below. If the student is uncomfortable approaching the instructor or personnel with their complaint, they may start the process at Stage 2. However, the student must include an additional written statement explaining why they were unable to begin at Stage 1.


A written complaint submitted to the Director must include:

  1. the original student grievance letter
  2. the written response from the instructor or personnel
  3. an update explaining why the student is unsatisfied with the response in Stage 1

The Director will review the claim and will issue a final report to the student with 10 business days unless the student has been otherwise notified due to unfinished and/or pending investigative procedure. The Director may request a face-to-face meeting or phone call with the student and the personnel involved.

If the student is not satisfied with the Director’s response and does not find the suggested solutions to be adequate, they may submit a written complaint to the S-TESL Board of Directors as described in Stage 3 below.


A written complaint submitted to the Board of Directors must include:

  1. all prior grievance letters and written communication between the student and S-TESL from STAGE 1 and STAGE 2
  2. an update explaining why the grievance procedure has thus far failed to generate a workable solution and any new outcomes or solutions being requested.
  3. At its discretion, The Board of Directors will conduct its own inquiry. The Board will provide a final report highlighting its findings and any actions that will be taken within 10 business days of receipt of the Stage 3 grievance unless the student has been otherwise notified in writing due to unfinished and/or pending investigative procedure. The decision of the Board in any student appeal is final.