Student Grievance Procedures - Graduate
A grievance is defined as a complaint by a currently enrolled graduate student(s) alleging that some member(s) of the University community has unjustly caused the student(s) to suffer some specific harm related to a matter within the authority of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Matters of academic judgment, are not grievable. In addition, grievances which have been brought to a hearing under other University grievance procedures cannot be brought to a hearing under this procedure. Every attempt should be made by the parties involved to resolve the complaint informally. For the purpose of this procedure all days are working days. The time limitations may be extended by the parties by mutual agreement.
I. Informal Conciliation
A.Within 15 days of the event that precipitates the grievance, the grievant shall inform the University faculty, staff member (hereafter known as the respondent), graduate program director or designee of his or her complaint and shall discuss it with him/her. Each party shall endeavor in good faith to clear up all misunderstandings and disagreements that may have risen.
B. If the two parties are unable to reach a settlement, they shall meet with the graduate program director to discuss the matter. The latter shall make his or her best effort to resolve the grievance. This meeting must occur within 10 days of the notification cited in I.A. (If the graduate program director is a party to the grievance, the department chairperson shall perform the function described. Where there is no department chairperson or the department chairperson is the graduate program director, the Dean of Graduate Studies will appoint the person to perform the function described.)
II. Formal Conciliation
A.Should the informal conciliation process fail, the grievant may submit to the Dean of Graduate Studies within 10 days of the time the grievant is informed of the outcome of the informal conciliation process cited in Section I.A detailed but concise written statement of his/ her grievance. The statement shall (1) identify grievant and respondent, (2) present the particulars of the case specifying both the harm allegedly suffered and the alleged cause thereof, (3) indicate the relief sought, and (4) describe the dates, times, forms, and results of the discussions held under the informal conciliation procedures. If this statement is not submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies within these 10 days of the event the grievance shall be considered terminated. In any event, the University member named as the respondent will be notified of the grievance.
B. Upon receipt of the grievance in II.A, the Dean of Graduate Studies shall then arrange for the creation of an ad hoc Grievance Committee (hereinafter “the committee”) to conduct a hearing on the matter and to report to him/her as described below. This committee shall be selected within 10 days of the Dean of Graduate Studies receiving the written grievance, and shall consist of three disinterested current members of the University faculty, staff, or graduate student bodies, as follows:
- one person to be chosen by the grievant.
- one person to be chosen by the respondent.
- a Chairperson to be chosen jointly by the persons named to the committee under (1) and (2) above; or if no such person can be agreed upon, to be chosen by the Dean of Graduate Studies.
C. Once the committee is selected, the Dean of Graduate Studies or his/her designee will convene the committee and act as the facilitator. The committee has 15 days to meet and report to the dean. At this initial meeting the committee will develop its own guidelines and procedures to best resolve the grievance. All parties to the grievance will be notified as to the time and place of the meeting at which the committee will deal with the grievance. At the same time the parties shall be informed that they may, if they wish, make statements to the committee at the time of the meeting. They may also suggest witnesses who will be interviewed by the committee. Legal counsel for the parties will not attend the meetings called for in this procedure. The proceedings may be taped. The committee may proceed and make its findings and decisions even in the absence of any person who fails to appear. The committee may not base its findings or decision on the fact that a person fails to appear. The committee may grant a postponement to either party for good cause.
D. At the conclusion of the 15 days, the committee will issue a signed report to the Dean of Graduate Studies which will include its findings as well as its recommendations. Both the findings and recommendations will be arrived at by a majority vote. Upon review and acceptance or denial of the report by the Dean of Graduate Studies, copies of the dean’s decision will be sent, via certified mail, to the grievant and the respondent.
E. Upon receipt of the accepted report and its recommendation(s), if the recommendation(s) of the committee is not acceptable to the grievant, the respondent, or the Dean of Graduate Studies, they may within 10 days submit a written appeal to the Provost. If an appeal is submitted, the Provost will review all the materials and render a ruling within 10 days from the receipt of the appeal. The Provost’s ruling may accept, reject, or modify the recommendations of the committee. Copies of the Provost’s ruling will be sent to those who received copies of the committee’s report, as well as to committee members. The Provost’s ruling is final.
III. Final Disposition
This procedure will be deemed to have been exhausted once the ruling of the Provost has been rendered.