Departmental Level Review

Step 1. The student who believes that the grievance is severe or has been unable to obtain an acceptable consultative resolution should submit in writing to the cognizant department chair a description of his or her complaint, including any evidentiary or supporting materials, and a request for a hearing. (If the department chair is a party against whom the grievance is brought, either as a teaching faculty member or as chair, or where the chair can demonstrate that it will best serve the interests of the parties, direct petition to the school or college level may be pursued.)
 
Step 2. The cognizant department chair shall give the Department Grievance Committee (see Appendix A) and each principal a copy of the written grievance, including any evidentiary or supporting materials, and a copy of the Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures for graduate students.
 
Upon initial review of the materials and statements presented by the grievant, if the Department Grievance Committee finds the grievance does not have reasonable supporting grounds, the Committee shall conclude the grievance is without merit. In this initial review the Committee may also consider materials or statements submitted by the teaching faculty member(s) against whom the grievance is lodged. If the grievance is found without merit, the Committee shall report this denial to the cognizant department chair. The Committee shall complete this initial review within 15 academic days* of its receipt of the grievance. The cognizant department chair shall then submit a Statement of Decision to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the cognizant college or school dean, and the Dean of the Graduate School within 10 academic days* of receipt of the Committee decision.
 
If the Department Grievance Committee finds the statement of grievance has reasonable supporting grounds, the Committee shall proceed with hearings as provided below.
 
Step 3. The Departmental Grievance Committee shall convene hearing(s) as necessary to allow both principals the opportunity to present their positions and shall allow each principal the right to question the presentation(s), written and verbal, of each principal and of others who contribute information to the Committee.
 
The hearing shall convene within 20 academic days* of the department’s receipt of the written grievance. The cognizant department will notify principals at least 72 hours prior to the hearing.
 
The hearing(s) shall be conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, but shall not be subject to the rules governing a legal proceeding. Each principal shall have the right to be present (under unusual circumstances, if either party is considered to pose a physical threat to the other or to the committee, the chair of the committee may request that either the student or instructor participate by phone) and to have one advisor present at all hearings. Hearing(s) shall be conducted in confidence (see Appendix B).
 
Step 4. The Departmental Grievance Committee shall submit its recommendation(s) in writing, including findings and reasons for the recommendations, to the cognizant department chair within 10 academic days* of the final meeting of the committee.
 
Step 5. The cognizant department chair shall consider the committee’s findings and recommendations and render a final decision. This Statement of Decision and an indication of the student’s right to appeal the department chair’s decision (including time limit) shall be submitted, in writing, from the department chair to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the cognizant college or school dean, and the Dean of the Graduate School within 10 academic days* from receiving the Department Grievance Committee’s written recommendations. Files shall be maintained in the offices of the cognizant dean and the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.