Academic grievances

Student Academic Grievance Procedures Standing Rules (As revised by the College Assembly, April 1, 1994) Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


These procedures are intended to facilitate a fair hearing of any student academic grievance issue by the College Academic and Student Affairs Committee convened to hear such grievances. When convened to hear a student academic grievance, decisions of the Committee will be by majority rule, provided a quorum (4) of the membership is present, including at least three faculty members.

Students who consider they have a grievance brought on by having been unfairly graded, unjustly and/or improperly treated or any other complaint with regard to an instructor's decision in academic matters, may be assured of just treatment in their hearing.

The Committee shall have the power and/or responsibility only to make recommendations to the Dean of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions in a hearing regarding a grade dispute or other academic issue.

Any students who believe they have a grievance should first utilize the informal process as listed below.

Informal process

  1. Initially, the aggrieved student should schedule an appointment with the faculty member concerned and discuss the problem openly.
  2. If this discussion does not result in a satisfactory resolution, the student may appeal to the Chair/Director of the instructor's department/school, who will employ department/school approved procedures to resolve the grievance.
  3. If a satisfactory resolution is not achieved, the student may confer with the Dean (or Dean's designee), who will review the case. Contact
  4. If the grievance has not been successfully cleared at this time, the student may request the Dean to refer the matter to the College Academic and Student Affairs Committee. The Committee will convene for the specific purpose of hearing a student academic grievance as needed.

Formal hearing

  1. When the student has been referred to the Committee by the Dean, he/she must file in writing the alleged grievance statement with the Committee chair. Copies of this statement will be distributed to committee members, the faculty member involved in the grievance, the Chair/Director of the department/school concerned, (or the appropriate committee if instructor is also the Chair/Director) and the Dean. Within one week of the distribution of the alleged grievance statement, the faculty member involved must submit a written response to the Grievance Committee chairperson. Copies will be given to committee members, the student involved in the grievance, the department/school Chair/Director and the Dean.
  2. Within two weeks of the reply by the faculty member involved, the chair of the Committee will schedule a meeting to consider the alleged grievance. Both parties involved (student and faculty) will be expected to appear at the meeting. All parties in the grievance will have the opportunity to give their particular grievance presentations either in writing or in person.
  3. All meetings of the Committee shall be closed to ensure confidentiality and to protect the rights of privacy of both student and faculty. Each party in the grievance is entitled to be accompanied by any person of his/her choosing, but that person will have no right to speak or cross examine. Their role shall be advisory only. Concerned parties may utilize witnesses for the presentation of their case. The Committee may decide that the aggrieved student, faculty involved in the grievance and any or all witnesses be excused from certain presentations if, in the opinion of the Committee, an invasion of privacy and/or the violation of rights of specific individuals would result. Procedures for the presentation of relevant information on the part of the student, instructor and/or witnesses will be determined by the Committee, and only the committee members may ask questions of the parties involved.
  4. Following final discussion of the alleged grievance, the Chair of the Committee will submit written recommendations of action (along with all supporting data) to the Dean. Copies of the recommendation only will go to the student involved, faculty involved and the department/school Chair/Director of the faculty member involved. The recommendation will be submitted not more than one week following the final Committee hearing.
  5. Final action in each case will be taken by the Dean after full consideration of the Committee's recommendation. Grade changes, if any are recommended, may be made by the Dean. The Dean shall inform the student, instructor, Chair/Director, the registrar and the Committee of any action taken.