With the noted exceptions, graduate students who believe they have been subjected to unfair treatment in the administration of academic policies may seek resolution of their complaints as described below. Graduate School Memorandum No. 33 applies to, but is not limited to, the application of departmental, college or Graduate School policies, deviations from stated grading practices (but not individual grade challenges), unfair treatment, and related issues.
Students contesting individual grades or academic evaluations should refer to the Change of Grade Procedure contained in the University Handbook, Vol. IV-22, Sec. 2 (1999).
Students who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran should refer to the Resolution of Complaints Against University Employees Procedure contained in the University of Washington Operations Manual, D 46.3.
Student disciplinary proceedings for misconduct, including plagiarism and cheating, fall under the provisions of the Student Conduct Code contained in the University Handbook, Vol. III-14 (1996) and Chapter 478-120 WAC.
Timing: Students seeking resolution of their complaints under this policy must initiate either an informal conciliation or file a formal complaint within 3 months of the complained of incident.
Informal Conciliation: The student is encouraged, but not required, to first attempt to resolve a grievance with the faculty or staff member(s) most directly concerned. If the student attempts informal conciliation, the student must initiate this process within 3 months of the complained of incident by requesting one of the following persons to conciliate the grievance: director or chair of the unit, or the appropriate college dean.
If discussion with the faculty or staff member(s) concerned, facilitated by the director or chair of the unit or the appropriate college dean, does not resolve the grievance, the student may request the Graduate School to assist in an informal resolution. In such a case, the Dean of the Graduate School shall designate an Associate Dean as the informal conciliator for the Graduate School. The Associate Dean may either facilitate conciliation directly or involve the Ombudsman. If the Associate Dean attempts informal conciliation directly, he or she may not be involved in a subsequent formal complaint. If the student is dissatisfied with the informal conciliation, he or she may file a formal complaint with the Dean of the Graduate School within 10 days of the conclusion of the attempted informal process.
Formal Complaint Filing: Within 3 months of the complained of incident or, if informal conciliation was attempted, within 10 days of the conclusion of the attempted informal process, a student may file a formal complaint with the Dean of the Graduate School.
Chair of the Academic Grievance Committee: The Dean of the Graduate School shall designate an Associate Dean of the Graduate School as Chair of the Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee ("Committee"). If the Associate Dean attempted to facilitate informal conciliation directly in a particular case, then the Dean of the Graduate School shall appoint another Associate Dean or a Graduate Faculty member as Chair of the Committee in that case.
Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee Panel Pool: Prior to the first day of the Autumn Quarter, the Dean of the Graduate School shall appoint to the Panel Pool twenty (20) members of the Graduate Faculty. At the time the formal complaint is filed, all registered graduate students shall constitute a pool from which twenty (20) full-time graduate students who are in good academic standing shall be randomly selected by computer at the direction of the Committee Chair and appointed to the Panel Pool. From this 40-member Panel Pool, the Committee Chair will appoint a Hearing Panel to provide a fair and impartial hearing on the formal complaint filed with the Dean of the Graduate School.
Hearing Panel: A formal grievance will be referred to the Committee Chair who shall within five (5) days of its receipt designate two (2) faculty and two (2) student members from the Panel Pool to serve as Hearing Panel members. The Committee Chair or his or her designee shall act as Hearing Panel Chair. The student and the faculty or staff concerned shall each have the right to exercise one preemptory challenge against the Hearing Panel members, other than the Hearing Panel Chair, within five days after notification of the names of the members. If a challenge is made, the Committee Chair shall designate another faculty or student member to replace the member challenged. All members of the Hearing Panel shall be present for the hearing and shall have the right to vote upon any matter that may come before the Hearing Panel. No member of the Hearing Panel shall be from the department of any of the parties to the grievance. There shall be no ex parte communications between any of the parties and any member of the Hearing Panel.
Hearing Preparation: The Hearing Panel Chair shall distribute a copy of the formal complaint to the member(s) of the faculty and staff concerned, the dean of the college or school, the chair of the department and the Graduate Program Coordinator of the department, and members of the Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel Chair shall establish a time and place for a hearing to be held no later than fifteen (15) days from the date of final determination of the Hearing Panel membership, unless for good reason stated in writing to the complainant and other concerned parties the Hearing Panel Chair schedules the hearing for a later specified date. The Hearing Panel Chair shall announce the time and place of the hearing to the student, the member(s) of the faculty and staff concerned, the dean of the college or school, the Chair of the department, the Graduate Program Coordinator of the department and include a list of persons so notified, who shall comprise the "mailing list." At least seven (7) days before the hearing, the parties must submit to the Hearing Panel Chair any documentary or any other physical evidence that will be presented at the hearing and any witnesses to be called.
Hearing: Hearings will be conducted, with the Hearing Panel Chair presiding, in closed session except when and to the extent mutually agreed upon by the student and faculty or staff concerned. All parties may present evidence and testimony. Only evidence timely submitted to the Hearing Panel Chair will be considered in determining the validity of the complaint. Hearings will be conducted with reasonable dispatch and terminated as soon as fairness to all parties involved permits.
An attorney is neither necessary nor recommended. The Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee Panel described herein operates as part of an academic hearing, not a judicial proceeding. However, if the student elects to have counsel present, the University's attorney must also be afforded an opportunity to attend. Accordingly, the student must notify the Graduate School, in writing, at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing if he/she intends to have an attorney present. The attorney (ies) presence at the hearing does not change the proceeding. The attorney (ies) will not be able to examine witnesses, ask questions or otherwise take part in the proceedings, except in an unobtrusive manner, in an advisory capacity to their clients.
Within fifteen (15) days after the hearing adjourns, the Hearing Panel shall present to the Dean of the Graduate School its report, including findings, conclusions, and recommendations for action. The report will be simultaneously transmitted to the student and to the faculty and staff member(s) concerned. A written summary of the proceedings will be kept for at least one year and shall include a tape recording of testimony.
The Dean of the Graduate School, within ten (10) days after receipt of the Hearing Panel report, shall issue his or her decision as to the action to be taken on the grievance. The Dean's decision shall include an evaluation of the validity of the grievance and a statement of the action to be taken. Copies of the decision shall be transmitted to the student, the faculty and staff member(s) involved, the dean of the college or school, the chair of the department, and the Graduate Program Coordinator of the department.
The decision of the Dean shall become final at the close of the seventh day after issuance, unless the student or any other party directly involved files a written request for consideration of the findings by the Provost, whose review will be limited to the hearing record.