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Grievance Policies in Guide
This page provides information about adding a grievance policy into Guide for all graduate programs.
The following communication was sent by Graduate School Dean Karpus in January 2020. Further details may be found below:
"As part of the continued campus effort to develop Guide as the singular reference document for official academic matters at the university, this semester the Graduate School - in collaboration with the Office of Academic Planning and Institutional Reporting and the Office of the Registrar - is collecting program grievance policies. These policies provide graduate students clear steps to resolve academic and non-academic situations in which they feel unfairly treated or aggrieved by faculty, staff, or other students.
If your program* has a grievance and/or appeals policy:
- Please email the full text of the policy to email@example.com no later than February 29, 2020. Indicate which individual major degree plan or named option in your program the policy applies to; if you do not, we will assume the policy is relevant for your entire graduate program. Note that central policies and resources (e.g. policy on Hostile and Intimidating Behavior, Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures) as well as reference to the Graduate School’s appeal policy will be included on this page; you do not need to duplicate this information in the text you send.
- On June 1, 2020, your grievance policy will be published in Guide. At that point, plan to remove grievance policies from your program handbook, website, etc., so you are not maintaining this text in various locations. Instead, update your documents to link directly to the Guide policy tab for your program.
If your program* does not have a grievance/appeals policy:
- In instances where program-level grievance policy does not yet exist, by default, a statement will be added referring students to your department chair in the grievance policy section of the Guide.
- Your program will be required to develop and submit a grievance policy in the Fall 2021 Guide publishing June 1, 2021. Guidance on writing grievance policy is available in the Graduate School’s KnowledgeBase. Simply referring to the Graduate School’s appeal policy is not sufficient, because its purpose is to define the process by which a student can appeal a program’s grievance decision. Programs (or in some cases school/colleges) are responsible for maintaining their own grievance policies.
*The School of Education already has a school-wide grievance policy in Guide. We will use this as the standard policy across all SoE programs, and no action is required of SoE coordinators.
Thank you for your cooperation with this effort. Please send any questions to Emily Reynolds, Graduate School Academic Planning Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org)."
What is a Grievance Policy in this context?
- both academic and non-academic grievances that do not fall within existing campus policy
- should describe the program level process and policy, not the school/college process only
- for students enrolled within a specific degree or named option (i.e., not for students employed by your department but who are not enrolled in your academic programs)
Visibility and accessibility of a Grievance Policy is a campus and Graduate School priority, and we believe also important to school/college dean’s offices and individual programs. The Guide is the formal document of record for our university. For graduate programs, the Policies tab in Guide is the location for the most important/required policies for students. For this reason, the Policies tab will become the home for the program's Grievance Policy.
Current practice is that graduate programs are expected to have a graduate program handbook, and this handbook was linked to in Guide if it was available. Moving forward, the Graduate School still strongly encourages programs to develop graduate program handbooks, but the content of the handbook should not duplicate anything that is also in Guide. Moreover, the handbook should serve as a "wiki" for the program, with helpful information elaborated in greater detail than what is possible in Guide, but not serving as the primary source for the program's curriculum and policies. Because of this change, the grievance policy should subsequently only exist in the Policies tab in Guide for every program.
What is the difference between the grievance policy at the program level and the GAPP grievance procedures?
The department-school/college academic grievance process should be used to resolve academic issues or disputes. Examples of matters suitable for this process may include a qualifying exam failure, author dispute, or concerns regarding advising/mentoring, to name a few.
Graduate Assistants in TA, PA and/or RA appointments may utilize the GAPP grievance process to resolve employment-related issues. Examples of matters appropriate for the GAPP grievance process include allegations of violation of GAPP, including allegations excessive work hours, violations of sick days or vacation policies, or disputes regarding the assignment of duties.
If you have questions about which procedure would be suitable for your concern, you are encouraged to reach out to your college, school or division human resources representative.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SPRING 2020?
The Graduate School has issued a call soliciting existing program-level grievance policies, due February 29, 2020. Grievance policies must meet minimum guidelines (see below) and should be emailed to email@example.com.
In March of 2020, the Policies tab on all graduate program pages will be reformatted to include the Grievance Policy as well as to remove the link to the graduate program handbook. The graduate program handbook link will be added to the Contact Information box in the Guide. This serves three purposes:
- Makes the Graduate Program Handbook more visible to students.
- Makes the link the Graduate Program Handbook more easily editable; contact information is allowed to be edited any time of year and does not follow governed or non-governed content deadlines. Currently several links to handbooks are broken in the Guide, and because the links exist in governed content, they are only editable via a Lumen Programs Proposal, making it more arduous to correct the broken link.
- Ensures the focus in Guide is on required policies, which now includes a Grievance Policy.
- Describe the grievance policy and process at the program level. The policy should not only point students to the Graduate School's grievance and appeals policy.
- Be clear and easy for students to understand
- Be consistent with program or department’s internal governance or administrative structure
- Describe, as a first step, that if the student feels comfortable/safe doing so, efforts should be made to resolve complaints informally between individuals, before pursuing a formal grievance
- Outline the sequential steps for pursuing a formal grievance, including time limits for each stage in the process, to whom the grievance should be submitted, the person/group that reviews the grievance, what needs to be included in written grievance materials, etc.
- List specific staff or faculty to whom students can go with questions about program policy and grievance procedures
- Note that central policies and resources (e.g. policy on Hostile and Intimidating Behavior, Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures) as well as reference to the Graduate School’s appeal policy will be included in new Graduate School Shared Content on the Policies tab; you do not need to duplicate this information in the text, though you may choose to refer to these resources within the text of the program policy.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING WITH THE POLICIES TAB IN GUIDE?This question is fairly in the weeds, for people who edit Guide regularly: We are taking this opportunity to also reformat Policies tabs so that the policies are behind toggle headers and are no longer indented. You will see no content changes to the policies aside from the addition of a grievance policy.