Students who feel that they have been treated unfairly have the right to a prompt hearing of their grievance. Such complaints may involve course grades, classroom treatment, various forms of harassment, or other issues. The following steps have been instituted within the School of Education. Any student or potential student may use these procedures except those graduate assistants whose complaint is covered by campus policies for teaching assistants.
Procedures for proper accounting of student grievances:
- The student should speak first with the person toward whom the grievance is directed. In most cases, grievances can be resolved at this level. There may be occasions (e.g., situations involving violent or harassing behavior, or coercive use of institutional power) when initial attempts to resolve the issue with the person toward whom the grievance is directed would potentially put the complainant at risk. In such situations, it is appropriate to consult immediately with the GSH Advisor, with the advisor, with the Associate Dean who oversees the School of Education Equity and Diversity Committee, and/or with the Training Director or Department Chair about how best to address the grievance.
- Should a satisfactory resolution not be achieved, the student should contact the department’s Grievance and Sexual Harassment Advisor (GSH Advisor; i.e., the School of Education Equity & Diversity Committee Member) to discuss the grievance. Students may consult the department website or the Student Services Coordinator to find the name of this faculty member, who facilitates problem resolution through informal channels. The Grievance and Sexual Harassment Advisor is responsible for facilitating any complaints or issues of students. The GSH advisor first attempts to help students informally address the grievance prior to any formal complaint. Students are also encouraged to talk with their faculty advisors or Training Director regarding concerns or difficulties if necessary. Information on university resources for sexual harassment concerns can be found at https://compliance.wisc.edu/eo-complaint/.
- If the issue is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction the student can submit the grievance to the GSH Advisor in writing, within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment. This letter should be placed in the grievances-in-progress folder in the Student Service Coordinator’s office.
- On receipt of a written complaint, a faculty committee will be convened by the GSH Advisor to manage the grievance. The departmental faculty committee will obtain a written response from the person toward whom the complaint is directed. This response will be shared with the person filing the grievance. This written response will be placed in the grievances-in-progress folder in the Student Service Coordinator’s office.
- The Faculty committee will determine a decision regarding the grievance. The GSH Advisor will report on the action taken by the committee in writing to both the student and the party toward whom the complaint was directed within 15 working days from the date the complaint was received. This letter should be placed in the grievances-in-progress folder in the Student Service Coordinator’s office.
- At this point, if either party (the student or the person toward whom the grievance is directed) is unsatisfied with the decision of the faculty committee, the party may file a written appeal. Either party has 10 working days to file a written appeal to the Associate Dean in charge of the School of Education’s Equity & Diversity Committee. If either party exercises this option, the letter(s) should be placed in the grievances-in-progress folder in the Student Service Coordinator’s office.
- If an appeal is filed, it will be directed to the Associate Dean in charge of the School of Education Equity & Diversity Committee and will follow Grievance Procedures as outlined in this Committee. The Associate Dean will attempt to resolve the issue informally. Failing this resolution, the Associate Dean will, on a receipt of a written complaint, convene a subcommittee of the School’s Equity and Diversity Committee. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and may hold a hearing. (The Equity and Diversity Committee has established separate procedures for the resolution of sexual harassment issues from those concerning course grades.) The subcommittee will make a written recommendation to the Dean of the School of Education who will render a decision. The Dean’s decision is binding at the college level and must be made within 20 working days from the date when the written complaint was filed with the Associate Dean. Documentation from these meetings and decisions must be placed in the grievances-in-progress folder in the Student Service Coordinator’s office.
- Once the case is closed (either via a binding decision from the Dean or after 10 days have passed from the written decision from the Departmental Committee), the entire contents of the folder should be moved to the grievances-complete folder in the filing cabinet in the Storage Room away from student files. Documentation of the Grievances will be stored in this folder for at least 7 years. Significant grievances that set a precedent will be stored indefinitely.
The Graduate School has established policies governing student conduct, academic dishonesty, and sexual and racial harassment. The Graduate School also has procedures for students wishing to appeal a grievance decision made at the college level.
These policies are described in the UW–Madison Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence.