Grievances and Complaints
The School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences upholds values that include institutional responsiveness, and social justice, diversity, and equity. Our internal grievance procedures aim to aid students, faculty, and staff in resolving concerns about unfair treatment in the conduct of academic or university policies or practices. The goal of these procedures is to address problems and inappropriate behavior quickly and directly; to work toward a reasonable resolution; and to promote a productive and positive learning environment.
What is a grievance or complaint?
A grievance or complaint is an allegation of unfair treatment, inappropriate behavior, or substantive injustice in the conduct of academic or university policy, practice, or business.
Complaints regarding the below issues have their own specific procedures. Information about how to raise concern about these issues are linked in the following list:
- Grade appeal
- Student conduct, including plagiarism and cheating
- Bias Incident Report
- Parking citations
- Actions or practices of the university that are the result of UW system-wide requirements, i.e., student fees
What is the IAS policy and procedure for local complaints that involve IAS faculty or staff members?
IAS advisors are available to assist students in navigating this process and identifying the best way to proceed. Undergraduate students should make an appointment with the IAS Advising Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. Graduate students should email the Graduate Programs Advisor at email@example.com. All conversations and records relating to grievances will be treated as confidential.
Step 1: Informal Resolution
Students are encouraged, wherever possible, to resolve concerns or difficulties informally and directly in a face-to-face conversation with the person(s) concerned. Most conflicts can be resolved at this stage.
Either the student or the person(s) involved may request another person to be present during this discussion. Persons appropriate to this intermediary role could include another faculty member, an IAS Advisor, or other University staff member. All parties should be notified in advance by email if an intermediary will be present.
Particular circumstances may warrant an exception to the Informal Resolution step, in which case the student can directly advance to Step 2: Preparing a Formal Grievance when necessary.
Step 2: Preparing a Formal Grievance
If attempts at informal resolution are not successful, or if circumstances make discussion inappropriate with the person(s) most directly involved, then the student should fill out the IAS Grievance Form so that IAS may direct the complaint to the appropriate Dean or Director for review. Submitting a formal grievance will not impact a student’s academic record. Information recorded on the Grievance Form will be treated as confidential and will be retained in the student’s advising file.
Step 3: Mediation by the Dean
When IAS receives a student’s formal grievance, the student will be contacted in writing and informed that a review process will begin within 10 working days of its receipt. The Dean or their designee will obtain all information gathered from all involved parties, and in undertaking this review, may request a response to the issues raised in the grievance. Responses may be requested from any individuals believed to have information considered relevant to the situation, including faculty, staff, and students.
All reasonable measures will be taken to finalize the process as soon as practicable. The Dean or their designee should normally complete a review of the grievance and issue a decision on the situation in writing within 45 days.
The student will be informed what steps have been or will be taken to address the grievance, the outcome, the reasons for the decision, and further avenues for appeal if applicable.
Faculty or Staff Complaints
Faculty and staff members are encouraged to resolve concerns and difficulties with other university employees directly in face-to-face conversation with the person(s) concerned. Any person involved may request another person of their choosing (see Resources below) to be present during this discussion. If resolution is not achieved, complaints against other university employees should be brought to the appropriate supervisor, or, if the supervisor is the source of the conflict, with the administrative head of the employing organization (faculty should first contact the Dean; staff should first contact their manager, and then appeal to the Dean).
Complaints can also be referred to the appropriate human resources office (see list of resources).
Timeframe for Complaints
Because the aim of the IAS grievance policy is responsiveness, complaints should be brought to the attention of the involved parties or their supervisors promptly, and within ten days of the cause for complaint. Please note that formal complaints lodged through other offices have prescribed time periods.
What other university resources may students, faculty, staff, and community members enlist for raising and resolving complaints?
- For guidance, mediation, and consultation: Office of the Ombud or UW Bothell Office of Organizational Excellence & Human Resources
- For formal complaints against UW employees: University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO)
- For formal complaints related to Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, LGBTQ Protection, Relationship & Dating Violence, Pregnancy & Parenting, or Stalking: Title IX at UW Bothell
- For formal complaints against UW students: Division of Student Affairs
- For graduate students: UW Graduate School Academic Grievance
- For employees: Campus Human Resources and Academic Human Resources
- Other Helpful links and related subjects
University policies that guide this IAS Grievance and Complaint Policy and Procedure
- Non-Discrimination and Non-Retaliation Policies (Executive Order 31): University policy has the goal of promoting an environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. University policy prohibits retaliation against those reporting concerns regarding discrimination, cooperating with any investigation of discrimination, or participating in the complaint investigation process.
- Administrative Policy Statements 46.3 (Resolution of Complaints Against University Employees): This policy statement describes the processes individuals may use to lodge complaints about the behavior of University of Washington employees or appointees.
- Administrative Policy Statement 11.7 (Policy on Domestic Violence in the Workplace and Leave Related to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking): This policy is adopted in accordance with Chapter 49.76 RCW and the Governor’s Executive Order 96-05 and applies to all University of Washington employees regardless of appointment type.
- UW Graduate School Academic Grievance Procedure, Memorandum 33: Graduate students who believe they have been subjected to unfair treatment in the administration of academic policies may seek resolution of their complaints under this Academic Grievance Procedure.