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:

What is the IAS policy and procedure for local complaints that involve IAS faculty or staff members?

Student Complaints

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 Graduate students should email the Graduate Programs Advisor at 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?

University policies that guide this IAS Grievance and Complaint Policy and Procedure