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 (i) allege a violation of any of the academic rights of students under this document, (ii) challenge an academic evaluation on the grounds that the evaluation was based entirely or in part upon factors other than a good faith judgment of the student’s academic performance, including compliance with applicable professional standards, or (iii) contest a penalty grade or other disciplinary sanctions (e.g., written assignments) based on a charge of academic misconduct.6
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 misconduct. In those cases, the instructor or committee 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 records (“academic misconduct”).7 (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. A grievance hearing will not be scheduled until a good-faith effort to resolve the issue informally has been made.
B. To file a request for a grievance hearing, the student must submit a written, signed statement that contains the following information to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. In cases of ambiguous jurisdiction, the appropriate hearing board will be selected by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Anonymous grievances will not be accepted.
1. Student’s name and PID;
2. Student’s local address, phone number, and email address;
3. A detailed explanation of the facts underlying the grievance;
4. The name of the instructor against whom the grievance is being filed and (where appropriate) the title and number of the course;
5. The date the problem arose;
6. The redress sought to rectify the grievance.
C. Grievances must be filed not later than the middle of the semester (including summer semester) following the one in which the problem that is the basis for the grievance first occurred. The middle of the semester is calculated by the Registrar’s Office and published on the Academic Calendar. Grievances that are not filed by the deadline will not be accepted. 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 by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Exceptions will be granted rarely. 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 or the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
IV. Judicial Procedures
A. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies shall establish hearing board procedures consistent with this document. A copy of these procedures shall be filed with the Office of the Ombudsperson. These hearing procedures shall be reviewed at regular intervals not to exceed five years.
B. Members of the hearing board pool must receive training as deemed appropriate by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies before they can serve on any of the hearing boards described in this section. Delivery of this training shall be the responsibility of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
C. The adjudication of grievances and complaints should proceed in a timely manner, as described below.
1. Within five class days of its receipt, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies shall forward a copy of the request for a complaint/grievance hearing to the hearing board members and to the respondent.
2. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies shall take necessary precautions to avoid any conflict of interest on the part of the hearing board’s members. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies 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 Dean of Undergraduate Studies seeking to remove any member of the hearing board for cause. The challenge must explain the cause for removing the hearing board member.8
3. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies 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. Reject the request if the written complaint/grievance does not contain the information required in Section III.B above.
5. At least five class days prior to the hearing, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies 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 before the hearing, the parties shall provide the Dean of Undergraduate Studies with the names of their witnesses (if any) and advisor (if any). The Dean of Undergraduate Studies shall forward this information to both parties before 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, that the chair of the hearing board postpone the 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 hearing, in person or through another communication channel, the hearing board may postpone the hearing if an acceptable excuse for the absence has been offered or hear the case in the absence of the respondent. Should the grievant/complainant fail to appear at a scheduled hearing, in person or through another communication channel, the hearing board may postpone the hearing if an acceptable excuse for the absence has been offered, or 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 an advisor who must be a member of the University community. The respondent may be accompanied to the hearing by an attorney who is not a member of the University community 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 or advisor a limited voice.9
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.
D. The hearing board shall render a decision and prepare a written report of its findings and supporting rationale. The hearing body shall determine whether each allegation has been supported by a preponderance of the evidence. As part of its decision, the hearing board shall determine what, if any, redress or sanction should be implemented by the appropriate unit administrator (normally, the head of the unit in which the problem occurred). The chair of the hearing board shall forward copies of the report to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies who then forwards it to the parties and the appropriate unit administrator within three class days of the hearing.
E. Upon receipt of the hearing board’s report, the appropriate unit administrator shall implement the redress or sanction (other than recess or dismissal from the University) within five class days. 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.
F. 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.
G. 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 Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
B. Upon receiving a complaint, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies 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 Dean of Undergraduate Studies to discuss the alleged academic misconduct and review the academic disciplinary hearing process. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies also will inform the student of his or her right to contest the allegation before the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board as part of the academic disciplinary hearing process.
C. The student shall have ten class days to request an academic grievance hearing to contest an allegation of academic misconduct, including a penalty grade. If the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board and any subsequent appeals determine that the student did not commit academic misconduct, the student will not face any additional sanctions based on that charge.
D. In cases in which the student’s dean has requested an academic disciplinary hearing for a complaint involving the violation of academic misconduct, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies will meet with the student to review the academic disciplinary process. At that meeting, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies will discuss the allegations and ask the student to select either a hearing conducted by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or by the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board. If the student chooses to have a Board hearing, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies will forward the complaint to the chair of the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board. If the student requests a hearing with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies will proceed with the hearing.
E. A student who admits his/her academic misconduct to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies waives the right to a hearing to contest the allegation. In such a situation, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies 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.
F. If a student fails to meet with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies when so required by this Article, the academic misconduct complaint will be referred to the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board. (See also Integrity of Scholarship and Grades Policy and General Student Regulation 1.00: Protection of Scholarship and Grades.)
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. In addition to any penalty grades assessed by the instructor, such sanctions may include one or 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. Disenrollment from a course: If a complaint is based on disruptive behavior in a specific class, the hearing body may recommend to the Provost that the student be disenrolled from that course.
E. Recess: A recess is temporary removal from the University or a department, school, or college for a particular period of time, at the conclusion of which the student is eligible to apply for readmission. A recess may also be a conditional recess, in which case the student must demonstrate that he/she has fulfilled stated conditions prior to applying for readmission. Only the Dean of Undergraduate Studies may impose the sanction of recess from the University. Only the dean of the relevant college may impose the sanction of recess from a school/college.
F. Dismissal: A dismissal is a removal from the University or a department/school and college. Only the Dean of Undergraduate Studies may impose the sanctions of dismissal from the University. Only the dean of the relevant college may impose the sanction of dismissal from a school/college. Dismissal does not preclude application for readmission.
G. Other: The student may be required to complete an educational program or activity or comply with the reasonable conditions of a behavioral contract.10
VII. Appeals to the University Academic Appeal Board
A. Appeals must be filed with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies 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 in writing 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 it constitutes new information.
C. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies shall take necessary precautions to avoid any conflict of interest on the part of the University Academic Appeal Board’s members. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies 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.
D. The Chair of 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 jurisdiction 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 decides the case in favor of the grievant and redress is possible, it shall recommend that redress be provided. The relevant academic dean, after reviewing the decision of the appeal board, shall implement the redress.
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 accept or reject the decision of the hearing board or reduce the sanction imposed by the hearing board. Copies of this report shall be provided to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, who will forward the report to both parties and the relevant academic dean.
6 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.
7 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. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies or the Dean of Graduate Studies (as appropriate) may decide whether to rescind an applicant’s admission because of falsification of admissions materials. Such a decision 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.
8 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.
9 The chair shall normally grant permission for a student representative from the undergraduate student defender program to have voice in the hearing.
10 An academic dean may request additional sanctions only in accordance with the Integrity of Scholarships and Grades Policy.