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Grievances and Complaints

Student Academic Grievance Procedures To top

Part I. General Policies

A. An academic grievance is an allegation by a student of substantial and unjustified deviation, to the student’s detriment, from any of the following:

  1. Officially announced or published policies, procedures, and/or requirements regarding admission into programs, schools, or individual classes;
  2. Officially published grading policies of the University;
  3. The instructor’s requirements for a course as announced to the class at the beginning of the semester;
  4. The instructor’s own grading policies as announced to the class or as demonstrably applied to other students in that same class.

B. Students shall have the right to file academic grievances under the provisions and according to the procedures established herein.

C. A respondent in an academic grievance is the individual or body of the University whose alleged deviation from an established policy, procedure, and/or requirement forms the basis of the grievance.

D. An “established” policy, procedure, or requirement is one which has been officially announced or published as specified in I-A, 1-4.

E. If a review committee finds for a student, the committee is empowered to direct the named respondent to remedy the matter in compliance with the established policies of the respondent. If a respondent refuses to remedy the matter as directed, then the committee is authorized to take all necessary and appropriate action to remedy the grievance, in accordance with the established policies, procedures, and/or requirements of the respondent, including, but not limited to, assigning a grade.

F. All time limits specified in days in these procedures apply to the cademic year, excluding official holidays and recesses. A time limit may be extended:

  1. By mutual consent of the contending parties; or
  2. By the Vice Chancellor of the University if either party is unable to participate because of prolonged or permanent absence from the campus or because of extenuating medical circumstances.

G. If the grievance should occur during the summer session, every effort should be made by all parties to adhere to the time limits set forth below. Further, if the appropriate parties are in the immediate vicinity of UW-Eau Claire at this time, it is expected that the above time limits shall be adhered to.

Part II. Initial Procedures For Resolving Academic Grievances

The initial procedures are designed to facilitate resolution of a grievance through informal discussion. A student shall follow all applicable initial procedures as established herein, in the order designated before filing a Formal Grievance. (Note that formal grievances must be filed within one calendar year of the action which forms the basis of the grievance.)

A. Initiating a Grievance To initiate a grievance, a student shall write a letter to the individual department or functional equivalent, committee, or college responsible for the action which forms the basis of the grievance. The letter shall contain a clear and concise statement of the grievance, the remedies sought, and a request for a meeting with the person or persons involved.

B. Grievances Involving Courses/Department Programs
If the grievance involves an action in a course or a departmental program:

  1. The student shall obtain the UWEC Initial Academic Grievance form from the office of the College in which the course is offered. The form shall be completed by the student and signatures of the appropriate parties shall be obtained following each meeting as indicated on the form.
  2. The respondent shall schedule a meeting with the student within 15 calendar days of receipt of the written grievance to discuss the matter. At this and all succeeding steps in Part II, the student may be accompanied by one other person to serve in an advisory capacity to the student.
  3. If the student is not satisfied with the results of the discussion with the respondent and wants the grievance to be considered further, the student shall consult with the department chairman to seek a resolution. This consultation must begin within 15 calendar days after the conclusion of the discussion with the respondent. Or, if the department has established its own internal grievance procedure, then the student shall follow that procedure.
  4. If the student is not satisfied after seeking conciliation at the departmental level and wants the grievance to be considered further, the student shall consult with the Dean of the College to seek a resolution. This consultation must begin within 15 calendar days after the department has completed consideration of the grievance. Or, if the College has established its own internal grievance procedure, then the student shall follow that procedure.
  5. If the student is not satisfied after seeking conciliation at the College level and wants the grievance to be considered further, the student shall file a Formal Grievance in accordance with the procedures in Part III of this procedure. The formal grievance must be filed within 15 calendar days after the College has completed consideration of the grievance.

C. Grievances Involving Departments, Equivalents, and Interdepartmental Committees
If the grievance involves an action of a department or functional equivalent or interdepartmental committee (referred to as “department” in this subsection):

  1. The chairman of the department shall schedule a meeting with the student within 15 calendar days of receipt of the written grievance to discuss the matter. Or, if the respondent has established its own internal grievance procedure, then the student shall follow that procedure. At this and all succeeding steps in Part II, the student may be accompanied by one other person to serve in an advisory capacity to the student.
  2. If the student is not satisfied with the results at the departmental level and wants the grievance to be considered further, the student shall consult with the Dean of the College to seek a resolution. This consultation must begin within 15 calendar days after the department has completed consideration of the grievance. Or, if the College has established its own internal grievance procedure, then the student shall follow that procedure.
  3. If the student is not satisfied after seeking conciliation at the College level and wants the grievance to be considered further, the student shall file a Formal Grievance within 15 calendar days after the College has completed consideration of the grievance.

D. Grievances Involving Colleges

  1. The Dean of the College shall schedule a meeting with the student within 15 calendar days of receipt of the written grievance to discuss the matter. Or, if the College has established its own internal grievance procedure, then the student shall follow that procedure. The student may be accompanied by one other person to serve in an advisory capacity to the student.
  2. If the student is not satisfied with the results at the College level and wants the grievance to be considered further, the student shall file a Formal Grievance within 15 calendar days after the College has completed consideration of the grievance.

Part III—Procedures For Formal Student

Academic Grievances:

If the student is not satisfied with the results obtained by following all applicable procedures in Part II and wants the grievance to be considered further, the student shall file a Formal Grievance according to the procedures established herein.

A. Filing A Formal Grievance
The Formal Grievance shall be filed:

  1. Within 15 days following the failure to resolve a grievance through informal discussion as outlined in Part II above. Failure to do so will result in the grievance being considered satisfied;
  2. With the Office of the Dean of the College with which the respondent is affiliated;
  3. On the official form provided by the University (through the Office of the Dean of the College) for that purpose, and supported by the following information:
    (a) Certification that all applicable steps in Part II have been
    followed;
    (b) A copy of the original grievance letter which initiated the
    steps in Part II;
    (c) A statement of the student’s allegations;
    (d) A statement of the specific resolution which the student desires.

B. Notification To Other Parties
Upon receipt of a properly filed Formal Grievance, the Dean’s Office shall:

  1. Forward a copy to the respondent and a copy to each of the other persons who participated in the initial procedures under the provisions of Part II;
  2. Obtain the signature of each recipient, certifying that the recipient is Aware of the filing of the Formal Grievance, but without thereby implying any concession to any of the allegations in the Formal Grievance;
  3. Forward the Formal Grievance, within 15 calendar days of its receipt, to the Vice Chancellor.

C. Selection Of The Review Committee

Upon receipt of a Formal Grievance from a Dean’s Office, the Vice Chancellor shall select a Review Committee according to the conditions and procedures established herein. Duration: Each Review Committee will function on a one time (ad hoc) basis. Eligibility: The Review Committee shall consist only of tenured faculty members holding at least a 50 percent appointment with total assignment in teaching. Department chairmen and faculty members holding limited administrative appointments shall not be eligible for Review Committee appointment.

Composition:

  1. The Review Committee shall consist of five members and one alternate.
  2. If the grievance involves an action in a particular course or departmental program, the committee shall include at least one member from the respondent’s department or functional equivalent. The other members of the committee shall be faculty-at-large. If the composition of the respondent’s department or functional equivalent does not permit the seating of a tenured teaching faculty member as specified under Eligibility, the Vice Chancellor may nominate a tenured teaching faculty member from a related discipline.
  3. If the grievance involves an action of a department or functional equivalent, an interdepartmental or College committee, or a College, the members of the committee shall be University faculty-at-large.

Selection:

As administrative agent for the academic grievance Review Committee, the Vice Chancellor shall:

  1. Obtain the consent of at least nine tenured faculty members to be nominated to the Review Committee;
  2. Submit the list of nominees to the student and the respondent, each of whom may challenge individual nominees with cause;
  3. Select the Review Committee of five members and one alternate from nominees not successfully challenged by the contending parties;
  4. Submit additional consenting nominees if six names do not remain after challenges;
  5. Within five calendar days after the selection of the committee, inform the Office of Student Affairs of the committee membership.

D. Organizational Procedures

Organizational Meeting: Upon notification of the selection of the Review Committee, the Office of Student Affairs shall call together the members of the committee and review with them their responsibilities. The committee shall elect a chairman for the review proceedings. Logistical Assistance: The Office of Student Affairs shall be responsible for providing logistical assistance to the Review Committee throughout its deliberations, including the scheduling of meetings, the tape recording of proceedings for future consultation by the committee, the providing of secretarial assistance for the preparation of written communications, and the maintaining of official records.

E. Review Procedures

Initial Meetings and Communications: Within 15 calendar days after the organizational meeting, the committee shall meet separately with the student and the respondent and receive from each party

(1) a statement of the party’s contentions and

(2) a written list of witnesses on the party’s behalf. Within seven calendar days of the last of the initial meetings with the contending parties, the committee shall forward to each party

(1) a written summary of both parties’ contentions and

(2) the lists of witnesses for both parties. Within seven calendar days after receipt of the summaries, the student and the respondent shall forward to the committee copies of any and all documents which they wish to offer in support of their contentions. The Office of Student Affairs shall prepare copies of all documents submitted for each committee member and for each of the contending parties. Formal Review Session: Within 21 calendar days after the initial meeting of the committee with the contending parties, the formal review shall be called into session. Representation of Student and Respondent: The student and the respondent must represent themselves, although each may have advisers present. If the respondent cannot represent himself or herself, because of prolonged or permanent absence from the campus or because of extenuating medical circumstances, the Vice Chancellor shall attempt to consult with the respondent and shall appoint a University faculty member as proxy who will function as a genuine advocate for the respondent. Similarly, if the student cannot represent himself or herself, because of prolonged or permanent absence from the campus or because of extenuating medical Circumstances, the student shall appeal to the Vice Chancellor to appoint a proxy from the University community to represent the student before the Review Committee. The Vice Chancellor shall make every effort to choose a proxy who will function as a genuine advocate for the student. Hearing of Testimony: Testimony shall be heard in open session. The committee chairman shall be empowered to call for testimony and, in consultation with the rest of the committee, to rule on the appropriateness of witnesses and the admissibility of evidence. Each contending party shall be given the opportunity to challenge the allegations of the other. Decision as to Substance of the Grievance: After hearing the contending parties’ allegations and supporting testimony, the committee shall deliberate in open session and shall vote either to sustain or to reject the claim that the grievance has substance. This question shall be decided by majority vote. All proceedings, motions, and votes shall be recorded for the official record of the committee actions. If the committee finds that the grievance has no substance, it shall permanently dismiss the grievance and claims for remedial action. Within seven calendar days of voting on the substance of the grievance, the committee shall report the result in writing to the Vice Chancellor, who shall proceed as follows:

  1. If the committee reports that it cannot reach a decision by
    majority vote, the Vice Chancellor shall then appoint a new
    committee according to the specified procedures, and the
    review procedures shall begin anew.
  2. If the committee reports that the grievance has no substance
    and has been dismissed, the Vice Chancellor shall transmit
    this finding to the student and the respondent.
  3. If the committee reports that the grievance has substance,
    the Vice Chancellor shall transmit this finding to the student
    and the respondent.

Decision as to Resolution of the Grievance: Within seven calendar days of reporting to the Vice Chancellor that a grievance has substance, the committee shall reconvene in open session. Each of the contending parties may make a statement regarding possible resolution of the grievance. The committee shall then deliberate in open session and shall reach a decision by majority vote as to the resolution of the grievance. The records of all sessions shall be maintained in an official file of committee actions. Within seven calendar days of voting on the resolution of the grievance, the committee shall report the result in writing to the Vice Chancellor. A decision as to the resolution of the grievance shall be accompanied by a clear statement of the committee’s reasons for its decision. The Vice Chancellor shall proceed as follows:

A. If the committee reports that it cannot reach a decision by majority vote, the Vice Chancellor shall then appoint a new committee to proceed with the deliberations, with the benefit of all records of the former committee’s proceedings and deliberations.

B. If the committee reports a decision, within seven calendar days of its receipt the Vice Chancellor shall transmit the decision to the student and the respondent. This time limit may be extended if legal consultation is required, as provided below. Consultation on Legal Problems: If it should appear that the committee’s decision may be contrary to existing law or may result in legal problems, the Vice Chancellor may consult the committee, but only insofar as the legal implications are concerned. After consultation with the committee, the Vice Chancellor shall forward a statement of the committee’s final decision to the student and the respondent. Execution of Remedial Action: If the committee’s decision is to require remedial action, the respondent shall be directed to apply the established policies, procedures, and/or requirements from which the grievable action had deviated. Within seven calendar days of being notified of the committee’s directive, the respondent shall transmit to the Office of the Vice Chancellor confirmation that the remedial action has been executed. If the Vice Chancellor has not received such confirmation within the specified seven calendar days, then by the authority vested in the committee by action of the Faculty Senate and the Chancellor of the University, the committee shall reconvene and determine the grade or other outcome in accordance with the respondent’s previously established policies, procedures, and/or requirements. The committee shall inform the Vice Chancellor of this outcome. The Vice Chancellor shall then direct the appropriate University administrative office(s) to execute the remedial action prescribed in the committee’s directive. The administrative offices so directed shall confirm their action to the Vice Chancellor. The Vice Chancellor shall then certify the execution of the remedial action to the Office of Student Affairs. The Office of Student Affairs shall place this certification in the official record of the review proceedings. Maintenance of records: The official records for each deliberation shall be maintained for at least three years.

IV. Effective Date

These policies and procedures shall become effective at the beginning of the first semester following the Chancellor’s approval of the Faculty Senate action. Student academic grievances deriving from actions which preceded this effective date are not grievable under these procedures.

Affirmative Action Student Grievance Procedure To top

I. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is committed to a policy of providing equal educational and employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, religion, creed, color, sex, gender identity or expression, ancestry, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, veteran's status, membership in the military forces, arrest or conviction record, political affiliation or other protected status. Discrimination or harassment based on any protected category that has the purpose and effect of adversely affecting any aspect or condition of a person's education, employment, housing, or participation in a university activity or program is prohibited.

As a part of its continuing commitment to eliminate discrimination and harassment, the university has established procedures for providing prompt and fair resolution of complaints. All complaints, questions, or requests for information should be referred to the Affirmative Action Office, 217 Schofield, (715) 836-2387, affirm01@uwec.edu, www.uwec.edu/affirm/index.htm.

II. INFORMAL RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS

To the extent practical, all complaints should be settled through informal discussions among the parties involved. If discussions among the parties involved are ineffective, employees may seek assistance from their union officials, supervisors, directors, chairs, or deans; and students may contact an Associate Dean of Students, 240 Schofield Hall, 836-2325. Employees and students may also at any time seek advice and assistance on informal resolution from the Affirmative Action Officer, 217 Schofield Hall, 836-2387, affirm01@uwec.edu

III. COMPLAINT PROCEDURES IN THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION OFFICE

Should informal discussions fail, a formal complaint may be made to the Affirmative Action Officer, at 217 Schofield hall, 836-2387, affirm01@uwec.edu. A complaint form is available on the Affirmative Action website.

A. Time for filing
A complaint must be initiated with the Affirmative Action Officer within 300 calendar days after the complainant knew or reasonably should have known of the occurrence, the event, or omission out of which the complaint has arisen, unless there are extenuating circumstances. A complainant who does not comply with the time limits in this policy shall be barred from further pursuit of the complaint process.

B. Investigation and Review
1. Mediation and Conciliation Efforts. The Affirmative Action Officer shall act as a mediator among the complainant and other relevant parties in an attempt to resolve the complainant's concerns.
2. Investigation.
If the Affirmative Action Officer is unable to resolve the issues through mediation, he or she shall conduct any additional necessary investigation and report back to the complainant within 21 days of the complaint with written conclusions and alternatives for further action.
3. Hearing Request. If unsatisfied with the results of the investigation, any party to the matter may file with the Affirmative Action Officer a written request for a formal hearing. This request must be filed within 7 days of the receipt of the written conclusions and alternatives for further action.

C. Hearing Committee
1. Committee Formation. Within 7 days of the Affirmative Action Officer's receipt of the written request for a formal hearing, the Affirmative Action Officer shall convene a hearing committee.
2. Committee Composition. The hearing committee shall consist of five voting members and the Affirmative Action Officer as an ex-officio, non-voting member. The committee members will be drawn by lot from the membership of the Affirmative Action Review Board. Two members shall be drawn from those Review Board members in the same category as the complainant (i.e. Students, Academic Staff, Classified Staff, Faculty); and the remaining three members shall be drawn from the Review Board members not in the same category as the complainant. If there are circumstances suggesting that an individual should not serve, that person may be excused on the recommendation of the Affirmative Action Officer.

3. Committee Procedures.
a. Within 14 days of being convened, the hearing committee shall meet to begin the formal hearing.
b. The Affirmative Action Officer shall provide counsel to the hearing committee and assistance on hearing procedures.
c. The hearing shall be held as an open meeting.
d. The Affirmative Action Officer shall present and review for the benefit of the committee all evidence gathered in the investigation.
e. Members of the hearing committee may examine both complainant and respondent(s).
f. At the conclusion of testimony, the chairperson of the committee will adjourn the open meeting and reconvene in closed session under the provisions of Wisconsin's open meeting law.

D. Committee Recommendation. The committee shall submit its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Provost within 7 days of the conclusion of the hearing. The Provost shall take any action he or she feels is appropriate within 7 days of receipt of the committee's recommendations.1

IV. DISCIPLINARY ACTION
Any individual who is disciplined as a result of this procedure retains applicable rights and procedures with regard to the disciplinary action. 1 Pursuant to Wis. Stat. 36.12, students may appeal the Provost's decision to the Chancellor, and the Chancellor's decision to the Board of Regents.

Formal Hearing Procedure To top


I. Within seven days the Vice Chancellor shall refer the grievance to the Affirmative Action Review Board for formal hearing and recommendation. A Review Board hearing committee of seven, including two students, shall operate under procedures outlined in the Affirmative Action Plan.*

The committee’s recommendation shall be forwarded to the Vice Chancellor, who shall notify in writing all parties in the case as to its resolution.

II. Within seven days of the grievance being referred to the Affirmative Action Review Board, the Affirmative Action Officer will have convened the Board for the purposes of selecting a Hearing Committee. This committee shall consist of seven voting members and the Affirmative Action Officer as an ex-officio, non-voting member. The Affirmative Action Officer shall provide counsel to the Hearing Committee and assistance in organizing the logistics of the hearing procedure.

The Hearing Committee shall include five non-student Review Board members and two students. The five non-students will be drawn by lot from the Review Board membership. The two students will be drawn by lot from those on the board. If two student members cannot be found to serve on the hearing panel, the Student Senate President will be asked to recommend two students to serve. If there are extenuating circumstances suggesting that a person should not serve, the person may be excused on the recommendation of the Affirmative Action Officer. Upon selection, the Hearing Committee shall immediately elect a chairperson and shall request assistance from the Affirmative Action Officer for clerical staff to record the proceedings of the hearing.

At this time the Affirmative Action Officer shall present and review for the benefit of the committee all evidence previously filed.

III. Within seven (7) days, the Hearing Committee shall meet to begin the formal hearing. This hearing shall be held as an open meeting and the following rules of evidence shall apply.

Members of the Hearing Committee shall have the privilege of direct cross-examination of both grievance and respondent(s). Oral and written testimony presented during the hearing shall be transcribed and maintained on record for a period of one year in the Affirmative Action Office.

At the conclusion of the testimony, the chairperson of the Committee will adjourn the open meeting and reconvene a closed meeting under the provisions provided in the Wisconsin State Statutes on open meeting laws (Sec. 19.85C).

IV. The hearing Committee shall review all matters presented at the hearing and shall formulate a recommendation on the issue which will be forwarded within seven (7) days as a committee report-recommendation to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. A minority recommendation may also be forwarded to the Vice Chancellor.

*(The Affirmative Action Plan is available in the Student Senate Office, the Lobby Shop, and the Reserve Room of the Library.)

Disability Accommodation Policy and Procedure To top


It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities pursuant to state and federal law. If a student with a disability wishes to make an accommodation request, he or she should consult the Services for Students with Disabilities Office, which is responsible for assisting with appropriate accommodations. Students may also discuss accommodation issues with individual instructors or administrators. The procedures that follow are intended to resolve student complaints about accommodations. Whenever possible, issues should be settled through informal discussions among the parties involved. If an issue cannot be resolved through informal means, students may use the following procedures:

  1. The student should meet with the director of the Services for Students with Disabilities Office to discuss specific concerns.
  2. If the director is unable to resolve the matter, or if the student is not satisfied with the resolution, the student may file a complaint with the Affirmative Action Office following the guidelines outlined under "Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Complaint Procedures" http://www.uwec.edu/Affirm/policies/aacp.htm. Pursuant to those procedures, a complaint must be filed within 300 days of the act out of which the complaint has arisen.
  3. Students may also at any time contact the Office of Civil Rights for information or assistance:

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Civil Rights
Mary E. Switzer Building
330 C Street, SW
Washington , D.C. 20202
Telephone: 1-800-421-3481
FAX: 202-205-9862; TDD: 877-521-2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov

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