Concerns and Grievances, Disciplinary Matters and Dispute Resolution

Northwest Baptist Seminary makes every effort to provide a safe, enjoyable, positive learning environment for all students. Nevertheless, we recognize that in a fallen world populated by imperfect men and women, situations may sometimes arise where members of our community are concerned, dissatisfied, or where they feel threatened or come into conflict. In all cases, it is our desire that students find healthy resolution to such issues, and that they feel safe in approaching NBS staff and faculty for assistance.

All iterations of Immerse have appointed management teams, with appropriate representation of the network’s leadership and Northwest Baptist Seminary to provide oversight and assistance in all matters of Immerse management, including grievances and disciplinary matters. Most matters will be resolved with the assistance of this team. In addition, Immerse is governed by a Joint Immerse Governance Team, which has the ability and mandate to assist in resolving any issues that occur between Immerse iterations or between the owners and other iterations of Immerse, should their assistance be required.

Concerns and grievances come in varying degrees, and different strategies may be needed to resolve them.

  • Matters of a minor sort, and those that can be addressed without the assistance of any formal procedures on the part of Northwest Baptist Seminary and its partner agencies, are entrusted to the wisdom and mature efforts of our students, staff, and faculty.
  • Matters that are relatively minor, where some assistance from the appropriate Immerse management team, staff, faculty, or administration is desirable or necessary, but where there is no wish or need to engage in a formal action, may be addressed by bringing forward an informal grievance or expression of concern.

The appropriate steps for addressing an informal grievance follow the principles for dispute resolution laid out in Matt.18:15-20.

  1. Begin by discussing the concern or complaint with the person involved—in a constructive and respectful manner.
  2. If the concern is not adequately addressed in this way, speak with the individual who is responsible for the area where the concern rests: the Network Director if the issue is with a network staff member or mentor; the NBS Dean if the issue is with a faculty mentor; the pastor or board chair if the issue relates to a ministry mentor or a ministry setting.
  3. If the concern relates to a Dean or the Network Director, speak with the NBS President or Network Director.
  4. The Immerse Management Teams are responsible to provide advocacy for students who feel that their concerns are not being adequately heard. Feel free to approach the appropriate person to discuss the issue and explore ways they may assist.

Most suggestions for institutional improvement would also be “informal” in nature. Again, these should be directed either to the staff/faculty member to whom they are most directly relevant, or to the individual responsible for the area concerned.

  • Where an informal process does not successfully address a grievance, or in the case of a serious conflict or problem, students may lodge a formal grievance or expression of concern, which will result in formal action by the seminary and/or network administration. (Formal action includes maintaining an official record of the issue and proceedings.)

Normally, formal grievances fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Interpersonal issues, and issues relating to community experience should be taken up initially with the network’s Immerse Management Team.
  2. Academic issues should be raised with the Northwest Dean.
  3. Issues of harassment should be directed to the NBS appointed harassment officer.

More information on the process for each type of formal action, including appeal procedures, will be provided in cases where a process is initiated.

NBS welcomes all thoughtful, respectful expressions of concern, as well as suggestions for making our program more effective and more satisfying for the community. When students speak freely, we seek to listen carefully, in order to grow institutionally.

Matters of discipline are referred to the respective network’s Immerse Management Team. Violation of the Community Covenant may be reason for the exercise of discipline. In serious cases this could result in a student being dismissed from the seminary.