Grievance Procedures

This is an excerpt from the Graduate School Handbook for Students and Faculty.  Please see Part 1, Section 6 for the complete policy.

Procedures for Students

If you believe that a faculty member has violated any of the effective learning and teaching practices discussed in the previous section, you should follow the academic grievance procedure listed in the following paragraphs in the order they are given. You should attempt to resolve the problem at the lowest level possible, moving to the next step only if you still are not satisfied. A student initiating a grievance procedure should be aware that the University Senate has ruled that the final determination of a student's grade remains with the instructor, regardless of the outcome of any appeal procedure. While most instructors will consent to being advised by their colleagues and may change the student's grade on advice from a review committee, they cannot be compelled to do so by any authority in the University. 

  1. Attempt to discuss and settle the issue with the instructor. A goal of the grievance procedure should be to effect reconciliation between instructor and student.
  2. Follow departmental grievance procedures.  Any student has the right to question a grade he or she has received, but the student should recognize the difference between questioning a grade and charging an instructor with a violation of the Good Teaching Practices. The latter is a serious act and should neither be undertaken lightly nor should the desire to have a grade reviewed and changed be the primary motivation. In all cases the student should first meet with the instructor to voice a complaint and to receive an explanation and possible redress. If the student is not satisfied with the explanation, he or she should confer with the chair of the department and ask for a review of the grade through the departmental grievance procedure. The student must at that time ask either for a grade review or may, additionally, charge the instructor with a violation of the Good Teaching Practices. If the student asks only for a grade review, the review of the grade will be handled within the department and the final decision will be made according to the departmental procedures.  If he or she feels that his or her grievance has not been properly adjudicated, he or she should request a conference with the divisional dean.
  3. Follow the divisional grievance procedures.  If after following the divisional grievance procedures the student feels that his or her grievance has not been properly adjudicated at the Divisional level, he or she may request a conference with the Dean of the Graduate School.
  4. Bring the grievance to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Graduate School Grievance Procedures

If the Dean of the Graduate School is unable to reach an informal solution or if the grievant requests that an informal resolution not be sought, and if the Dean of the Graduate School has determined that the grievant has exhausted all departmental and divisional procedures, the grievant must submit to the Dean of the Graduate School a written and signed statement detailing the alleged grievance, identifying the individual(s) grieved against, and specifying the desired resolution. The grievant should also provide the Dean of the Graduate School with the results of the departmental and divisional grievance procedures, but the Dean of the Graduate School will not provide this information to the facilitator or to the grievance committee.

 After receiving the official grievance, the Dean of the Graduate School will send a copy of the grievance to the individuals being grieved against, to the dean of the division, and to the chair of the department in which the action took place. The Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School will immediately identify a university facilitator trained in conflict resolution to attempt to bring agreement between the grievant(s) and those grieved against through a collegial discussion of the issues. No grievance can proceed to the formal review process until the facilitator has reported to the Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School that the resolution of the issue cannot be obtained. The facilitator must report on the outcome of his or her efforts within ten working days of the initial appointment, although an extension may be granted if all parties to the grievance approve.