Undergraduate/Graduate Student Grievance Policies and Procedures
The College of Education defines a legitimate grievance as a circumstance that can be substantiated and is regarded by the student as a just cause for complaint. A grievance can be relevant to any incident involving a classroom instructor, faculty advisor, internship supervisor, administrator or faculty member in the College of Education. A grievance may deal with academic issues or other circumstances involving alleged unfair or irresponsible behavior including violations of department, College or University policies.
Procedures Used to Initiate Grievance:
Step 1: Informal Processes
The College encourages students to make every effort to resolve their problems and concerns directly and informally with the faculty members or other involved parties. Discussions among the involved parties (including the department chairperson when appropriate) constitute the first step in the informal process. In some cases the student may wish to discuss the problem initially with the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, the College’s grievance officer. If appropriate, the College officer will initiate an informal discussion among the involved parties to attempt resolution at the informal stage.
Step 2: Formal Procedures at the Department Level
If informal discussions do not result in a resolution of the problem, the student may initiate the formal grievance procedure by submitting a written complaint appropriate to the nature of the complaint. Should the department chair be named in the grievance, the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development will appoint a faculty member in the department to conduct the departmental grievance process. A formal complaint must be filed using the College of Education Student Grievance Form and must be submitted within 30 class days (class days do not include official university approved holidays) of the point in time when the grievant had knowledge or should have had knowledge of the problem being grieved. The department chair or Associate Dean will conduct a formal grievance hearing utilizing existing departmental grievance procedures and will inform the student of a decision within 15 class days. A copy of the Departmental Student Grievance Report will be filed in the department and will be forwarded to the College if the decision is appealed to the level.
The student may also initiate the grievance procedure by submitting the College of Education Student Grievance Form to the College instead of the department. A decision will be made by the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development whether to refer the problem to the department for resolution or to proceed with the grievance process at the higher level.
Step 3: Formal Procedures at the College Level
If, after utilizing the procedures outlined in Step 2, the student’s problem is not resolved, the student has a right to file a grievance at the College level within 15 class days following the decision rendered by the department chairperson. The Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development will appoint an ad hoc panel to conduct a hearing. The ad hoc panel will consist of five members, two of whom are students. The ad hoc panel will be selected from a pool of faculty and students in the standing Student Grievance Committee appointed by the Associate Dean which consists of at least eight faculty members and at least twelve students. A faculty member will serve as chair (appointed by the Associate Dean) of the ad hoc panel and will conduct the hearing according to the Guidelines for the Conduct of Student Grievance Hearings. After the hearing, the ad hoc panel will meet in closed session to determine its recommendations. The recommendations of the ad hoc panel will be forwarded to the Dean of the College by the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. The Dean will inform the student of the College’s decision.
Step 4: Appeal of the College’s Decision
If the student does not find the decision rendered by the College satisfactory, the student should contact the consult with the Associate Dean for information regarding further grievance procedures that may be followed at the university level.
COLLEGE GUIDELINES FOR CONDUCT OF FORMAL STUDENT GRIEVANCE HEARINGS AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL
- A copy of the Student Grievance Form filed by the student will be forwarded to the department(s) and parties involved by the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development.
- Within ten (10) days of receipt of the student’s grievance form, the department(s) will submit any prior responses to the student’s complaint, a list of any witnesses it anticipates involving in the hearing, and copies of any documents to be used at the hearing. Similarly, within ten (10) class days of filing the grievance form, the student will submit a list of any witnesses and copies of any documents the student anticipates involving in the hearing. Each party will receive a copy of the materials and list of witnesses submitted by the other party.
- An ad hoc panel will be appointed by the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. The panel members will be selected from the pool of members on the College Student Grievance Committee and will consist of five members, two of which will be students. One of the faculty members will be appointed to serve as chair. The department(s) and the student will be notified of the membership of the panel within five (5) class days of receipt of the student’s grievance form. Either party has five (5) class days to request that panel member(s) be disqualified for bias. The Associate Dean will consider such requests and make a final decision regarding membership of the panel.
- The Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development will forward all materials to the hearing panel and will schedule an evidentiary hearing within twenty (20) class days of receipt of all written information. All parties involved will be notified as to date, time, and location of the hearing.
- The College officer will serve as hearing officer and conduct the hearing utilizing the following format:
- The petitioner and the respondent will each provide a brief opening statement.
- Each party will make a presentation of position and evidence, beginning with the petitioner. Witnesses may be called at this time. Questioning will be restricted to members of the hearing panel and the hearing officer. Questions by the involved parties to the witnesses will be addressed through the hearing officer.
- Each party will have the opportunity for rebuttal during which additional evidence may be introduced to refute points made by the other party.
- Each party will make a brief summary statement.
- Attendance at evidentiary hearings is limited to the hearing officer, panel members, the petitioner, the respondent, and their respective witnesses. Witnesses may be present only during their own testimony.
- After the hearing the panel will meet in closed session to determine its recommendations that will be forwarded to the Dean. The written recommendations will include a finding of fact regarding the incident and application of College or University policy. The Dean will inform all parties of a decision within five (5) class days after the hearing.