Office of Student Conduct

Grievance Procedures

Grievance Defined—A “grievance” is a complaint directed against another member or organization of the University community or against the University, including the departments, divisions, and schools thereof, alleging improper, arbitrary, or discriminatory application of University rules, regulations, standards, practices and/or procedures relating to conditions of employment or enrollment, or other circumstances giving proper grounds for complaint.

A grievant first must seek resolution or redress of the grievance informally through the established administrative channels. If, after exhausting recourse through established administrative channels, the grievant still believes satisfactory remedy or relief has not been provided, the grievant may request a formal hearing.

Informal Procedures — A grievant first must seek resolution or redress of the grievance informally through the established administrative channels.  The direction of the informal process is determined by the grievant’s classification (student, faculty or staff) and the nature of the grievance. The process begins with the official at the first or immediate level of authority and, if required, continues in the chain of authority to the next higher level. For students, a complaint involving services or activities normally will be directed to the appropriate director/coordinator of the service or activity with continuation in line to the Vice President of Student Affairs; on a complaint involving academic or instructional matters, to the academic department head and with continuation in line to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost. Complaint by an applicant who has been denied admission to the University will be directed to the Dean of Enrollment Management with continuation in line to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost.

Formal Hearing — If, after exhausting recourse through established administrative channels, the grievant still feels that a satisfactory remedy or relief has not been provided, the grievant may request a formal hearing.  The request shall be directed to the President of the University in writing and shall bear the grievant’s name, current address, and telephone number, a clear statement of the nature of the grievance and facts supporting it, the remedy or relief sought, the date, and the grievant’s signature.

Grievance Committees — On proper request for a hearing, the President of the University shall establish a grievance hearing with an ad hoc committee of three persons. The committees shall be composed of University personnel appointed by the President, according to the classification of the person initiating the request. If a student initiates the request, the committee will be chosen from among members of the University faculty, non-faculty staff, and students.

Toward assuring a full and impartial hearing strictly on the merits of the cases, due regard shall be given to appoint committees of persons with appropriate expertise and without bias or direct interest in the outcome, to provision for peer representation where relevant and to adherence to hearing procedures. In making committee appointments, the President may seek nominations from representative organizations such as, respectively, the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association. In cases involving a member of the University faculty as grievant or accused, the President shall, if so petitioned by the faculty members in the formal request for a hearing, make the committee appointments from the appropriate list of nominees established for such purposes by the Faculty Senate at the beginning of each academic year, one list to consist of nine nominees for grievance committees. Persons appointed to grievance committees who deem themselves disqualified by reasons of bias or interest may be excused.  The grievant or accused shall have the right to challenge committee appointments for cause and if in the judgment of the President a challenge is supported by adequate grounds, the member so challenged shall be excused. The President shall designate one member of the committee to act as chair or may appoint an additional ex officio non-voting member to act as chair. The committees may adopt, for governance and operation, supplemental rules and regulations not in conflict with this resolution.

Grievance Hearing Procedures — A grievance hearing is not an administrative due process hearing and therefore does not include all the procedures provided for in due process hearings; neither do formal rules of evidence apply. The hearing shall be confidential and only those persons concerned should be included in the hearing.

Functions of the Grievance Committee — The Committee or Committee Chair may confer with the grievant prior to the hearing to schedule witnesses, provide for the exchange of documents, and achieve other appropriate objectives to make the procedures fair, effective, and expeditious. In the hearing, the Committee may question the grievant and the witnesses presented by the grievant, may call such witnesses and examine such documents as it considers necessary, and shall keep a record of the hearing.

The Committee’s role is to investigate the complaint as presented to the Committee by the grievant, to obtain all the facts in the dispute, and to come to a conclusion as to whether or not the grievant has just cause for complaint. In grievances that are contractual in nature, the committee’s role is to determine whether or not the grievant has had all the benefits of the procedures afforded by the rules and regulations of the University, and whether or not the decision that forms the basis for the complaint was the result of adequate consideration in terms of the relevant standards of the University, school, and department. The Committee shall be guided in its decisions only by the evidence presented at the hearing.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Grievant — It is the responsibility of the grievant to present all the facts and to prove the merits of the grievance.  To this end the grievant shall state the grievance with specificity, shall be allowed to present witnesses and documents on the grievant’s behalf, and to examine any other witnesses and documents presented. The grievant shall not be represented by counsel but may have the assistance of adviser of his/her choice from among personnel of the University community.

The Committee’s Report and Final Action — Upon conclusion of the hearing, the Grievance Committee shall prepare a report summarizing the evidence and rendering its conclusions. Copies of the report shall be sent to the President and to the grievant. Within 14 days of the receipt of the report, the President, giving due weight to the report of the Committee, shall render a decision and so notify the grievant. Should the President’s decision be inconsistent with the report of the Committee, the President shall state his reasons to the grievant and to the Committee. The President’s action shall be final, except that a grievant may appeal a reversed or modified decision to a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees.