Graduate Student Grievance Review Process

After a formal grievance has been heard and decided within an academic unit, either the respondent(s) or the student complainant may request a review of the decision by the Office of the Provost. The only legitimate reason for review is that prescribed procedures were not followed. New information is not sufficient for University review. Either the respondent or the complainant should bring any new information that might affect the outcome of the grievance directly to the individual who notified them of the decision within the academic unit.

Requests for review must be submitted to no more than 15 calendar days following the date on which the academic unit’s grievance decision was formally communicated in writing. Either the student complainant or the respondent(s) may be granted an extension of an additional 15 calendar days to submit their request for review. Extension requests must be submitted to no more than 15 calendar days following the date on which the unit’s grievance decision is formally communicated in writing.

Requests for review should clearly state how the prescribed procedures were not followed and include in the submission supporting information and materials.

The written request and any provided documentation will be reviewed by a Vice Provost designated by the Provost to evaluate the request for review and determine whether it meets the criteria for convening a Review Board. In addition to considering whether prescribed procedures were followed, key to this evaluation is whether the procedural deviations identified in the request for review, individually or collectively, were more likely than not to have had a bearing on the outcome of the formal grievance.

When both the student complainant and respondent(s) submit requests for review and the Vice Provost determines that both meet the criteria for convening a Review Board, the requests will ordinarily be heard by one Review Board.

The Vice Provost or designee will inform the student complainant and/or the respondent in writing if the other party has submitted a request for review and will subsequently inform both parties, in writing, if the request meets the criteria for referral to a Review Board. The student complainant’s and/or respondent’s request for review will be made available to the other party, who will have five business days to submit an optional response statement. This statement, if submitted, will be provided to the Review Board along with the request for review.

The Review Board will be convened as soon as is practicable but not before the deadlines for submitting a request for review and optional response statement.

University Grievance Review Board

The Review Board consists of a Vice Provost; one faculty member, who serves as Chair; and one graduate student member. The faculty and student members are both appointed by the Provost (or designee) and none shall be a member of any preceding grievance proceedings that rendered the decision under review.  All members of the Review Board must be able to maintain independent judgment and discharge their obligations in a fair-minded fashion, free from material bias and conflicts of interest, or they should recuse themselves. As soon as practicable, the Vice Provost will notify the student complainant and respondent(s) of names and academic affiliation of Review Board members. Either party may request a replacement for any member of the Review Board on the grounds that such member has a genuine and material conflict of interest. Such requests must be made to the Vice Provost within two business days of receiving notice of the identities of the Review Board members. Requests must identify with specificity the alleged nature of the conflict of interest. Using reasoned judgment, the Vice Provost will decide whether the alleged conflict is genuine and material and, if so, whether it compels the Review Board member’s replacement.

In making decisions, the Review Board generally does not conduct additional interviews or request information from the party seeking review, although the Review Board has the authority to do so and may seek additional information regarding the formal grievance case from the academic unit in which it originated. The Review Board, acting on the basis of the entire record before it will make a recommendation to the Provost.

The student complainant and the respondent shall be notified formally, in writing, of the Provost’s decision, normally within 30 calendar days of notification that the request met the standard for referral to a Review Board.

The review constitutes the final process for grievance proceedings, and the Provost’s decision is final and not reviewable within the University.