Graduate Grievances

The Graduate School will consider grievances by graduate students who are currently enrolled in a graduate program or who have been enrolled in a graduate program within the preceding year. Graduate students must have exhausted all other avenues for resolution before submitting a grievance to the Graduate School. When appropriate, the dean of the Graduate School will work with the relevant University officers and offices to take necessary actions to resolve the grievance.

What should students do before filing a grievance?

Students should first attempt to resolve conflicts and address issues with the faculty, staff, or other students who are directly involved. If resolution cannot be obtained at that level, the student should consult with the graduate program director for their graduate program and/or their department chair or school dean. Students may also seek conflict resolution advice or mediation services through the University Ombuds Office. Resources for conflict resolution are available through the Dean of Students Office at Michigan Tech.

What if a resolution cannot be obtained at the department or school level?

If a resolution cannot be reached at or below the level of a department or school, the student may request the involvement of the Graduate School. The Graduate School will conduct an investigation of a reported grievance under the following circumstances.

  1. The student has exhausted all other avenues for resolution.
  2. The student has filed the Graduate grievance form with the Graduate School within thirty (30) calendar days of the most recent event which is directly related to the subject of the grievance. Extensions to file a grievance are allowed only in cases where the student has made a documented effort to resolve the situation and the other party or parties involved have failed to respond to the student.

What types of grievances will the Graduate School consider?

The Graduate School will only consider the following types of grievances:

  • Actions, conduct, or decisions that violate University policy or the accepted professional standards practiced within the discipline served by the graduate program.
  • Deviations from written grading, examination, and disciplinary policies at the University, graduate program, departmental, or course level.
  • Failure of a faculty, staff, or other member of the University community to disclose in writing the basis for a decision that has an adverse impact on a graduate student when such disclosure has been requested in writing by the student.
  • Retaliations against a student due to the result of a prior grievance or appeal.

What grievances are not considered by the Graduate School?

This policy does not apply to undergraduate students or graduate students who have not been enrolled in a graduate program within the preceding year.

The following types of complaints will not be reviewed by the Graduate School:

What happens after a grievance is filed?

After the student has filed the Graduate grievance form with the Graduate School:

  1. The Graduate School reviews the form for completeness and verifies that the grievance can be addressed by the Graduate Grievance Committee.
  2. When allowed by the Graduate Grievance Policy, the Graduate School appoints and convenes the Graduate Grievance Committee. A copy of the grievance is sent to all members of the committee, and all individuals named in the grievance.
  3. The Graduate Grievance Committee hears the grievance and prepares a written recommendation to the dean of the Graduate School.
  4. The dean of the Graduate School reviews the recommendation, and works with the appropriate University offices and offices to take necessary actions.

Composition of the Graduate Grievance Committee

The Graduate Grievance Committee will consist of one (1) member of the Graduate Faculty from outside the student’s academic home department or school, the student’s advisor (if the student has officially named an advisor at the time the Grievance form was filed), the student’s graduate program director, and the assistant to the dean of the Graduate School with responsibility for professional development (who will serve as the non-voting chair of the committee).

If a student’s grievance names any one of the persons that normally would serve on the committee, that person will be excused from the case. A replacement for that person will be named by the dean of the Graduate School and this replacement will serve on the committee in lieu of the recused individual.

The member of the committee from outside the student’s academic home department must have had prior experience as the primary advisor of at least one (1) graduate student and must have served on at least three (3) graduate committees prior to serving on the Graduate Grievance Committee.

Hearings

The student and all individuals named in the grievance have the right to appear at the hearing in person. The student has the right to be accompanied by an advocate who will be allowed to attend but not speak at the hearing other than to ask for clarification of information or to confer with the student to ensure that the student fully understands the proceedings. Hearings are intended to be non-adversarial fact-finding gatherings that result in outcomes that are acceptable and beneficial to all parties involved whenever possible.

The complete text of this policy can be found in Senate Proposal 5-12. This page also includes procedures developed by the Graduate School in support of this policy.