The University undertakes, within the limits of its resources and the limits imposed by due respect for the professional rights of the faculty, to supply an appropriate remedy for legitimate student grievances. The limits of the University’s resources proceed from factors that, while subject to its influence, are not always subject to its control.
I. Academic Grievances
A. For the purposes of this Article, a grievance is an allegation filed by a student against a faculty or staff member within the time periods set forth in Section III.C below.
B. A grievance may (1) allege a violation of any of the academic rights of students under this document, (2) challenge an academic evaluation on the grounds that the evaluation was based entirely or in part upon factors (e.g., race, sex, personal animus) other than a good faith judgment of the student’s academic performance, including compliance with applicable professional standards, or (3) contest a penalty grade based on a charge of academic dishonesty.7
C. A student who has been dismissed by a college for lack of academic progress may file a grievance under this section alleging procedural violations. Students may not file a grievance challenging such a decision to dismiss on substantive grounds.
D. Where an instructor or a committee has rendered a judgment regarding a student’s academic performance, that judgment is presumed to be made in good faith and the grievant bears the burden of proving the contrary, with the exception of allegations of academic dishonesty. In those cases, the instructor bears the burden of proof.
II. Academic Complaints
A. For the purposes of this Article, a complaint is an allegation filed by a member of the University community against a student within the time periods set forth in Section III.C below.
B. A complaint may allege academic dishonesty, violation of professional standards, or falsification of academic or admissions records8 (“academic misconduct”). (See also Integrity of Scholarships and Grades policy.)
III. Filing a Request for an Academic Grievance Hearing
A. If problems arise in the relationship between instructor and student, they should attempt to resolve them in informal, direct discussions. If the problem remains unresolved, they should consult the unit administrator. If the problem remains unresolved, the student may file a request for a grievance hearing.
B. To file a request for a grievance hearing, the student must submit a written, signed statement that contains the following information to the chair of the hearing board of the department/school and college within which the violation is alleged to have occurred. In cases of ambiguous jurisdiction, the appropriate college hearing board will be selected by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education (“Associate Provost”). Anonymous grievances will not be accepted.
1. The specific basis for the grievance;
2. The person(s) against whom the grievance is filed; and
3. A concise statement of the sanction or remedy sought.
C. Grievances must be filed not later than the middle of the semester (including summer semester) following the one in which the event which is the basis for the grievance occurred. If the middle of the semester falls during a scheduled vacation period when students are not enrolled for classes, the grievance must be filed on the first class day after the vacation period. If either party to a grievance is absent from the University during that semester, or if other appropriate reasons exist, an exception to this time limit may be granted. If either party to the grievance leaves the University prior to its resolution, the grievance may proceed at the discretion of the chair of the hearing board.
IV. Judicial Procedures
A. Departments/colleges/schools shall establish hearing board procedures consistent with this document. A copy of these procedures shall be filed with the dean’s office and the Office of the Ombudsman. Units shall review their hearing board procedures every five years.
B. Grievance hearings normally must be initiated at the department/school level. With the approval of the relevant college dean, departments/schools may waive jurisdiction over a grievance and refer it to the college hearing board.
C. Each department/school/college shall provide training to its hearing board members regarding its hearing procedures and the requirements of this document.
D. The adjudication of grievances and complaints should proceed in a timely manner, as described below.
1. Within five class days of its receipt, the chair of the hearing board shall forward a copy of the request for a complaint/grievance hearing to the hearing board members and to the respondent.
2. The chair of the hearing board shall take necessary precautions to avoid any conflict of interest on the part of the hearing board’s members. The chair of the hearing board must promptly notify each party of the names of the hearing board members. Within three days of that notice, either party may submit a written challenge to the chair of the hearing board seeking to remove any member of the hearing board for cause. The challenge must explain the cause for removing the hearing board member. If the chair of the hearing board is the subject of the challenge, the challenge should be filed with the unit administrator.9
3. The chair of the hearing board or unit administrator shall rule promptly on any challenge, replace any removed hearing board member from the pool of hearing board alternates, and promptly forward the name of the new hearing board member to the parties.
4. Within five class days of being established, the hearing board shall review the request for a complaint/grievance hearing to determine whether it meets the requirements established by this Article. If it does, the chair of the hearing board shall invite a written response from the respondent. After considering the submitted documents, the hearing board shall:
a. Accept the request, in whole or in part, and schedule a hearing.
b. Invite the parties to meet with the hearing board to attempt to informally resolve the dispute. Such discussion does not preclude a later hearing.
c. Reject the request for lack of jurisdiction10 and refer the case to the appropriate hearing board (if any).
5. At least five days prior to the hearing, the chair of the hearing board shall provide the parties with written notice of the hearing. This notice shall include:
a. The names of the parties;
b. A copy of the request for a complaint/grievance hearing and the response to it; and
c. The date, time, and place of the hearing.
6. At least three class days prior to the hearing, the parties shall provide the chair of the hearing board with the names of their witnesses (if any) and advisor (if any). The chair of the hearing board shall forward this information to both parties prior to the hearing.
7. Any amendment to a complaint/grievance must be filed at least five class days before the hearing.
8. Either party may request, with good cause,11 that the chair of the hearing board postpone the scheduled hearing. The chair may grant or deny the request.
9. Each party is expected to appear at the hearing and present his/her case to the hearing board. If it is not feasible for a party to appear in person, the hearing board may permit that party to present his/her case to the hearing board through other available communication channels (phone, webcam, video conference, etc.).
10. The chair of the hearing board may permit either party to submit a written statement from a witness to the hearing board and to the opposing party if the witness is unavailable to testify at the hearing in person or by another means of communication. The statement must be submitted at least three class days before the scheduled hearing.
11. Should the respondent fail to appear at a scheduled hearing, in person or through another communication channel, the hearing board may (a) postpone the hearing if an acceptable excuse for the absence has been offered, (b) hear the case in the absence of the party, or (c) dismiss the case. Should the grievant/complainant fail to appear at a scheduled hearing, in person or through another communication channel, the hearing board may (a) postpone the hearing if an acceptable excuse for the absence has been offered, or (b) dismiss the case.
12. The hearing board shall maintain a collegial atmosphere in hearings.
13. Hearings are closed unless an open hearing is requested by the student. An open hearing is open to any member of the University community. The hearing board may close an open hearing to maintain order or protect the confidentiality of information.
14. Each party may choose to be accompanied to the hearing by a member of the faculty, staff, or student body of the University who is serving as that party’s advisor. The respondent may be accompanied to the hearing by an attorney who is not a member of the faculty, staff, or student body if criminal charges related to the subject matter of the complaint/grievance are pending against the respondent at the time of the hearing. If the respondent is charged with a sex offense related to the subject matter of the grievance/complaint when the hearing occurs, the complainant may have an attorney present at the hearing as his/her advisor. The advisor/attorney may be present throughout the hearing but has no voice in the hearing unless the chair of the hearing board grants the attorney/advisor permission to participate.12
15. Witnesses must be members of the University community, unless the hearing board determines that they have direct knowledge of the matter at issue. Witnesses may be present in the hearing only when testifying. Expert witnesses are generally not allowed. The hearing board may limit the number of witnesses.
16. During the hearing, each party shall have an opportunity to make an opening statement, present evidence, question witnesses, ask questions of the opposing party, present a rebuttal, and present a closing statement. The chair of the hearing board may set time limits on each party’s presentation.
E. The hearing board shall render a decision and prepare a written report of its findings and supporting rationale. As part of its decision, the hearing board shall recommend what, if any, redress or sanction should be implemented by the appropriate unit administrator.13 The chair of the hearing board shall forward copies of the report to the appropriate unit administrator within three class days of the hearing.
F. Upon receipt of the hearing board’s report, the appropriate unit administrator, in consultation with the hearing board, shall determine an appropriate redress or sanction within three class days. The chair of the hearing board will immediately forward copies of the final decision to the parties, the unit administrator who will implement the redress or sanctions, and the University Ombudsperson. All recipients of the report are expected to respect the confidentiality of the report. If an appeal is filed pursuant to Section VII below, any redress or sanctions imposed will be held in abeyance while the appeal is pending.
G. Either party to a hearing may request reconsideration of a hearing board’s recommendation within 30 days of the hearing board’s decision on the basis that new evidence has arisen.
H. At any time during the grievance/complaint hearing process, the parties may consult with the Office of the Ombudsperson.
V. Academic Disciplinary Hearings
A. In cases in which a complaint is filed against an undergraduate student for academic misconduct and the student’s dean has requested an academic disciplinary hearing, the complaint will be forwarded to the Associate Provost.14
B. Upon receiving a complaint, the Associate Provost shall promptly notify the student in writing that he or she has been accused of academic misconduct and that the student’s dean has requested an academic disciplinary hearing. The student shall be required to meet with the Associate Provost to discuss the alleged academic misconduct and review the academic disciplinary hearing process. The Associate Provost also will inform the student of his or her right to contest the allegation before the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board.
C. The student shall have ten class days to request an academic grievance hearing to contest a penalty grade based on a charge of academic dishonesty. If the student files a request for a grievance hearing, the student will not meet with the Associate Provost until the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board has heard the student’s academic grievance and all appeals, if any, are final. If the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board determines that the student did not commit academic dishonesty, the student will not face any additional sanctions based on that charge.
D. In cases in which the student’s dean (or designee) has requested an academic disciplinary hearing for a complaint involving the violation of professional standards, the Associate Provost will meet with the student to determine the appropriate college hearing board for the hearing and review the academic disciplinary process.
E. In cases in which the student’s dean (or designee) has requested an academic disciplinary hearing for a complaint involving academic misconduct other than violation of professional standards, the Associate Provost will meet with the student to discuss the allegations and ask the student to select either an administrative hearing conducted by the Associate Provost or a disciplinary hearing conducted by the appropriate college hearing board. If the student chooses to have a college hearing, the Associate Provost will forward the complaint to the chair of the appropriate college hearing board. If the student requests an administrative hearing, the Associate Provost will proceed with the hearing.
F. A student who admits his/her academic misconduct to the Associate Provost waives the right to a hearing to contest the allegation. In such a situation, the Associate Provost shall impose an appropriate redress or sanction for the academic misconduct. The student may appeal the appropriateness of the sanction/redress imposed to the University Academic Appeal Board.
G. If a student fails to meet with the Associate Provost when so required by this Article, the academic misconduct complaint will be referred to the appropriate college hearing board. (See also Integrity of Scholarship and Grades Policy and General Student Regulation 1.00: Protection of Scholarship and Grades.)
H. In cases of ambiguous jurisdiction, the Associate Provost will select the appropriate college hearing board.
VI. Sanctions for Academic Misconduct
The academic disciplinary sanctions imposed on a student should be based on a consideration of all circumstances in a particular case, including the student’s prior record of academic misconduct, if any. Such sanctions may include one more of the following:
A. Warning: An official written statement expressing disapproval of the behavior and notifying the student that it must not recur.
B. Probation: An official written statement establishing a period of time for observing and evaluating a student’s conduct and indicating that further academic misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action. This probation may be accompanied by stipulations, including, but not limited to, restitution, participation in an educational program, or the loss of specified privileges.
C. Restitution: A requirement that a student pay for property damages or losses resulting from acts committed by the student, with the date by which the restitution must be completed.
D. Other: The student may be required to participate in an educational program deemed appropriate to a specific case or set of behaviors or lose specified University privileges.
E. Suspension: A suspension is temporary removal from the University or a department/school/college for a particular period of time, at the conclusion of which the student is eligible to apply for readmission. A suspension may also be a conditional suspension, in which case the student must demonstrate that he/she has fulfilled stated conditions prior to applying for readmission.
F. Dismissal: A dismissal is a permanent removal from the University or a department/school and college.
Only the University Academic Appeal Board and the Associate Provost may impose the sanctions of suspension or dismissal from the University. Only the dean of the relevant college and the University Academic Appeal Board may impose the sanction of suspension or dismissal from a school/college.
VII. Appeals to the University Academic Appeal Board.
A. Appeals must be filed within five class days following the date of the hearing board’s decision and may challenge the substance of the decision and/or the procedures employed in the adjudication. Any redress or sanctions imposed will be held in abeyance while the appeal is pending.
B. Appeals must be written and signed by the party filing the appeal and must specify the basis for appeal in sufficient detail to justify further proceedings. Presentation of new evidence will normally be inappropriate at an appeal hearing, unless the information was previously unavailable to the party submitting it and the party acted with due diligence to obtain such evidence.
C. The chair of the University Academic Appeal Board shall take necessary precautions to avoid any conflict of interest on the part of the appeal board’s members. The chair must promptly notify each party of the names of the appeal board members and provide either party with an opportunity to file a written challenge to any hearing board member for cause. If the chair is the subject of the challenge, the written challenge should be filed with the Associate Provost.
D. The University Academic Appeal Board shall review the appeal and forward a copy of the appeal to the other party and invite a written response. After considering the appeal and response, the board may:
1. Decide that it does not have jurisdiction15 and let the decision of the initial hearing board stand;
2. Direct the initial hearing board to rehear the case or to reconsider or clarify its decision; or
3. Decide that sufficient reasons exist for an appeal and schedule an appellate hearing in a timely manner.
E. When the University Academic Appeal Board finds that an academic grievance has merit and that redress is possible, it shall recommend that redress be provided. The relevant academic dean, after reviewing the decision of the appeal board, shall implement an appropriate remedy.
F. The University Academic Appeal Board shall issue findings and recommendations in a written report that includes its supporting rationale within ten class days of the appeal hearing. The appeal board may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision of the hearing board. The appeal board also may direct the initial hearing board to rehear the original complaint/grievance.
7 Instructors and deans seeking sanctions for academic dishonesty other than, or in addition to, penalty grades must file a complaint under Section II.B of this Article.
8 Allegations of falsification of records submitted for admission to the University are processed through the Office of the Provost to determine whether the individual’s admission will be rescinded. A decision by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education or the Dean of the Graduate School (as appropriate) to rescind admission may be appealed to the Provost within ten calendar days of the decision. Allegations of falsification of records submitted by a current student for admission to a school, college, or program are handled through the academic disciplinary process as allegations of academic misconduct.
9 The standard to be used in ruling on challenges is whether, in light of the challenged person’s knowledge of the case or personal or professional relationships with a party or witness, the challenged person would be able to fairly and impartially hear the case.
10 The hearing board must reject the complaint/grievance if the written complaint/grievance does not contain the information required in Section III.B above, if it has been filed with the wrong hearing board, or if the deadline for filing a grievance/complaint had already elapsed when it was filed.
11 “Good cause” includes, but is not limited to, circumstances outside of a party’s control, such as illness, death in the family, or a class conflict.
12 The chair shall normally grant permission for a student representative from the undergraduate student defender program to have voice in the hearing.
13 The appropriate unit administrator is generally the head of the unit in which the hearing occurred.
14 An academic dean may request additional sanctions only in accordance with the Integrity of Scholarships and Grades Policy.
15 The University Academic Appeal Board must reject the appeal for lack of jurisdiction if the written appeal does not articulate one of the permissible bases for appeal or if the appeal deadline had already elapsed when the appeal was filed.