A grievance may be considered if the student has evidence that criteria have not been applied consistently. The informal procedure consists of discussing the problem or concern with the relevant faculty member. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the discussion with the relevant faculty member, the student should:
- Alert your advisor of the problem or concern, unless the problem is with your advisor.
- Alert your program director of the problem or concern, unless the problem is with your program director.
If the student is not still satisfied with the outcome of the discussion, the student should proceed with step A. Initiation of step A should be as prompt as possible; no more than 10 working days following the problem or concern. The purpose of this section is to provide the student with a clearly defined method of dealing with academic problems and/or concerns after he/she has exhausted the informal procedure described above.
The student should first follow any formalized program and/or departmental grievance procedures in place within 10 working days. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she should proceed with step B.
Contact the appropriate faculty member in writing within 10 working days of receiving the program/departmental ruling. It is important that the initial contact is made via letter and the student should retain a copy of all correspondence. The letter should contain a clear outline of the history of the problem including a review of the activities undertaken to try to rectify the problem. The student will be notified in writing by the faculty member with a response to his/her concern. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she should proceed with step C.
The third step is to contact the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (SAD-GEPA) within 10 days of receiving the faculty member's ruling. All materials and communications from previous contacts in the procedure should be assembled by the student and forwarded to the SAD-GEPA with a cover letter. The cover letter should contain information which describes why the results of the previous steps in this procedure were objectionable and/or unsatisfactory and a statement which explains how the student feels this problem can be solved. The SAD-GEPA has three options:
- To rule that the problem is not grounds for a grievance; this ends the grievance.
- To rule on the problem.
- To refer the problem to an ad hoc committee appointed by the SAD-GEPA, comprised of three individuals who have not been involved in the procedure thus far. The committee will review all materials and refer their written evaluation to the SAD-GEPA who will act on the recommendations.
If the student is still dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she should proceed with step D.
The final step in this procedure is to assemble the materials as outlined in the previous step within 10 working days, attach a cover letter (see above) and forward these materials to the Dean of the SMD. The Dean will rule that the problem is not grounds for a grievance or rule on the problem.