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.
Before Filing a Grievance
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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 college dean. Students may also seek conflict resolution advice or mediation services through the University Ombuds Office or Conflict Resolution Network at Michigan Tech.
Filing a Grievance
If a resolution cannot be reached at or below the level of a department or college, 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:
- The student has exhausted all other avenues for resolution.
- 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.
Types of Grievances
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.
The following types of complaints will not be reviewed by the Graduate School:
- Academic judgments that cannot be reviewed by individuals lacking advanced content-area knowledge in a specific academic field or discipline. A disputed grade will only be considered a grievance if the student has already attempted to resolve the issue using the Academic Grievance procedure.
- Allegations of Code of Conduct violations or any other complaints that are considered by the Office of Academic and Community Conduct.
- Allegations of discriminatory harassment or discriminatory treatment or any other complaints that are considered by the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity Compliance and Title IX.
- Allegations of research misconduct which must be considered by the University’s Office of Research Integrity and Compliance.
- Allegations of sexual assault which should be reported to the University’s Public Safety and Police Services (dial 9-1-1 or call 487-2216 for non-emergency situations).
- Matters involving offices or areas on campus where the Graduate School does not have the purview to facilitate changes to resolve the grievance.
- Grievances from undergraduate students.
- Grievances from graduate students who have not been enrolled in a graduate program within the preceding year.
Grievance Review Procedure
After the student has filed the Graduate grievance form with the Graduate School:
- The Graduate School reviews that the grievance can be addressed by the Graduate Grievance Committee. If the Graduate Grievance Committee cannot hear the grievance, the student will be directed to the appropriate unit.
- 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.
- The Graduate Grievance Committee hears the grievance. A notice of the hearing will generally be sent within 15 business days of receipt of the student’s grievance.
- After the hearing, the Graduate Grievance Committee prepares a written recommendation to the dean of the Graduate School, generally within 10 business days of the hearing.
- The dean of the Graduate School:
- Reviews the recommendation,
- Works with the appropriate University offices and offices to take necessary actions, and
- Sends a memo to the grievant and parties named in the grievance of the resolution. The memo is generally sent within 15 business days of the dean receiving the recommendation from the grievance committee..
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 dean of the Graduate School (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, or if one of those persons has a conflict of interest, that person will be excused from the case. The chair or dean of the academic unit will be provided a list of faculty in the unit who meet the qualifications for external members, and will be asked to provide feedback for the dean’s consideration. 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.
If the student or parties named in the grievance identify individuals with a conflict of interest in the matter, those individuals will not be considered for the committee.
The member of the committee from outside the student’s academic home department, or any individuals appointed for recused members, 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.
After forming the committee, the names will be provided to all parties, and an opportunity to exclude a person due to a conflict of interest will be provided.
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.
- Senate Proposal 27-12 revised this policy and procedure in 2021.
- Senate Proposal 5-12 established this policy and procedure.