This policy outlines grievance procedures for students at the University of Oregon unrelated to employment matters.
All members of the UO community.
For questions about this policy, please contact Human Resources at 541-346-3159, email@example.com
10 May 2023 - Temporary emergency policy enacted by Interim President Moffitt, in replacement of 571.003, pending the completion of permanent student grievance policy procedures (expires 10 November 2023)
Student Grievance Procedures
(M) Sections apply as specified to students including undergraduate, post baccalaureate, community education, and graduate students. For the purposes of this policy, a student is an individual who, having paid the appropriate fee or having the fee officially waived, is enrolled in courses at the University of Oregon or was so enrolled at the time the action grieved occurred:
(a) Work-Related Graduate Teaching Fellow Grievances: Graduate students with complaints arising from their employment as Graduate Teaching Fellows shall follow the grievance procedures specified by their applicable collective bargaining agreement;
(b) Student Versus Student Complaints: Students who wish to make a formal complaint against a fellow student or students or a student group (unless the complaint is against a student for actions taken as a University employee) shall use the procedures specified in the Student Conduct Code, Policy III.01.01;
(c) Fees, Fines, and Other Charges: Students with grievances related to the assessment of fines, imposition of charges or the applicability of but not the waiver of fees, shall use the procedures described in Policy 571.060(A) et seq.;
(d) Financial Aid: Students who face the loss, reduction or suspension of financial aid other than as an application against delinquency pursuant to federal, or state law, or published Oregon State Board of Higher Education or University policies or directives, may request a contested case hearing under OAR 571-002-0000 et seq. Students with other grievances regarding the administration of Financial Aid may use the procedures described in Section R; [Note: Chapter 571, Division 2 was repealed on December 11, 2014.]
(e) Student Records: Students with complaints about access to or the contents of their student records shall use the procedures described in the University's Student Records Policy, Policy 571.020;
(f) Prohibited Discrimination: Students who believe that one or more University of Oregon employees or agents have acted in a way that constitutes prohibited discrimination (including sexual harassment) shall file any formal grievances under Policy 580.015(R);
(g) Petition Processes: Many University offices and academic units have established petition processes for students who believe an exception to applicable policy or procedures should be made in their special situations. Students wishing to alter a decision affecting them should contact the office responsible for making the decision to see if there is a procedure established for petitioning for a change. The University administration reserves the right to create petition processes that comply with the requirements of Section N or to eliminate petition processes as it deems desirable;
(h) Graduate Student Academic Grievances: A graduate student with an academic grievance including graduate qualifying examinations, comprehensives, dissertation preparation, research evaluation, doctoral orals, or advising relationships shall use the procedures established under Section Q;
(i) Family Housing Grievances: Individual family housing resident's grievances against University Housing shall proceed solely under UO Policy 571.022.0020-80(E);
(j) Other Grievances: A student who believes that one or more University of Oregon agents or employees has acted in an arbitrary manner or has acted in non-compliance with federal or state law, policies, directives, or administrative rules, or has acted in a way that exceeds authority or abuses discretion, to the personal detriment of that student, shall file a grievance under the process described in Sections O and P.
(2) General Guidelines:
(a) Statements of Grievance: Formal grievances filed by students under this policy shall be in writing and shall include at least the following information:
(A) The approximate date and nature of the events that lead to the filing of the grievance;
(B) The names of all persons the aggrieved knows to have been directly involved in or responsible for the events alleged;
(C) All the relevant facts the aggrieved knows that support these allegations, including any stated policies or procedures that are alleged to have been violated. The aggrieved may add to this statement if more information becomes available during the course of the grievance;
(D) The relief the aggrieved seeks to resolve the grievance.
(b) No Retaliation: Students using this or any other authorized grievance process shall be protected from retaliation for using the process. While the actions that have prompted the grievance may be carried out in due course while the grievance is pending and normal academic processes and events including testing and grading shall go on unimpeded, no other actions proposed subsequent to the filing of the grievance adverse to the student's interests may be taken unless those proposing such action can prove to the appropriate vice president's satisfaction that such action is free of retaliatory intent;
(c) Grievance Counseling: Students who are uncertain whether a problem can be addressed through a petition process, a grievance process under this policy, or through another resolution process, should consult the ASUO Office of Student Advocacy or the Office of Student Affairs;
(d) Choice of Process: In some cases students may have a choice of formal procedures under which to file grievances and complaints rising from the same incident. In such situations, the affected student must select one and only one formal process. The University shall not hear a second complaint from the same student on the same facts, and shall not hear a grievance if a similar complaint is filed with an external agency or court. Preliminary efforts at informal solution shall not be deemed the filing of a grievance;
(e) Advice and Counsel: Student complainants may secure advice and counsel as they see fit throughout both the formal and informal procedures described herein. Participation by advisers in meetings or hearings shall be permitted to the extent provided for in this policy. A University officer may refuse to include a student's adviser in such a meeting, unless the student advises the officer, at least five working days in advance of the meeting, that a named adviser will be present. During the course of a student grievance, all parties shall be responsible for the costs, if any, of their personal representation;
(f) Time: All mention of days throughout Sections M through Rare calendar days unless otherwise specified;
(g) Personal Records: By filing a complaint under any student grievance policy, a student authorizes the appropriate authority to inquire into the matter as necessary to discover the applicable facts and to communicate as specified in this policy, its findings and reasons to the concerned parties.
N. Student Petition Processes
(1) Mandatory Use: The University has established a number of formal petition processes that apply when students wish to request a waiver of or exception to University policy or procedure
(2) Procedural Requirements: University offices with established petition processes shall make reasonable efforts to publish the availability of the process, shall train staff to advise students on the use of the process, and shall maintain an adequate store of appropriate petition forms or other relevant materials.
(3) Informal Petitions: Where no formal petition process is established, students are free to request reconsideration of decisions affecting them by writing to the decision-maker and making such a request.
(4) Grounds for Appeal: The denial of a petition is not a subject for a grievance complaint unless the student believes prohibited discrimination, abuse of discretion or arbitrary and capricious action has occurred. If this appears to be the case, the student may file a grievance under Sections O and P of this policy or under Policy 580.015(R).
O. Procedural Requirements
(1) Students (as defined in Section M(1)) who believe they have been individually wronged by arbitrary or capricious action or non-action, abuse of administrative discretion, or noncompliance with applicable law, rules, or policies by the University, its agents and employees, may grieve in accordance with the procedures outlined in the applicable policy.
(2) A student must institute a formal grievance within 45 days of the time the student knows or by reasonable diligence should have known of the matter prompting the grievance. The running of the 45 day period shall be suspended during examination and vacation periods, including the period between the end of spring term and the beginning of fall term if the student is not enrolled in summer session.
(3) All decision-makers' written decisions required by this policy shall include a statement of findings and conclusions, a recitation of the applicable facts and the law, rules, and policies which support the conclusions, and a description of any appeals procedures available to the parties to the grievance.
(4) If the decision at any level requires taking action, the decision shall include a copy of the instructions to the appropriate University personnel for implementing that action.
(5) Failure of a decision-maker at any level to communicate the decision within the applicable time limits shall permit the aggrieved to proceed to the next step. The failure of the aggrieved to appeal a decision within the time limits shall be deemed to be an acceptance of the decision.
(6) Informal Resolution: Before filing formal complaints, students are urged to consider direct conversation with the individual causing the problem or with that person's supervisor, in an effort to resolve misunderstandings and to achieve solutions as quickly as possible. The use of informal processes does not prevent the filing of a formal grievance so long as the formal grievance is filed within the applicable time limits:
(a) Informal Discussion: Students may request a meeting with the problem-causing person or with that person's supervisor;
(b) Mediation: Students may request mediation through any available campus mediation program;
(c) Local Processes: Students may use any informal processes established within the unit in which the complaint arose.
P. Formal Grievance
(1) Students may choose to proceed directly to a formal grievance process, or they may wish to file a formal grievance if they believe informal efforts at resolution have failed. Formal grievances must meet the requirements stated in Sections O(1) and O(2).
(2) Step One: An aggrieved student shall either file a written complaint according to the established grievance process within the appropriate administrative unit or if one is not established, with the immediate supervisor of the person grieved against. The complaint shall comply with the requirements set forth in Section M(2)(a):
(a) A University employee who receives a grievance under this rule that has as its basis allegations of prohibited discrimination or sexual harassment against a student shall direct the complainant and the grievance to the Office of Affirmative Action for a proper filing under Policy 580.015(R);
(b) If mediation did not take place in an effort to reach an informal resolution, the Step One decision-maker, who believes mediation could be productive and if the aggrieved and the person grieved against agrees, may refer the matter to any available campus mediation service. Such mediation suspends the time limits described in this subsection for up to 30 days or until mediation is concluded, whichever is earlier. If the grievant does not agree to mediation, the Step One decision-maker shall proceed with the investigation of allegations in the grievance;
(c) The Step One decision-maker or a designee may investigate the allegations contained in the grievance and interview the parties and others as appropriate in order to come to a decision on the issues in question. The Step One decision-maker shall either deny or resolve the grievance within 20 days of receipt of a written grievance, except if mediation is undertaken, as described in Section O(6). The Step One decision-maker shall communicate his or her decision to the parties to the grievance in the form required in Section O(3).
(3) Step Two: Complainants who are dissatisfied with the decision at Step One may appeal by filing a written notice of appeal within 14 days of receiving the decision at Step One. The appeal shall contain a copy of the Step One decision, a statement of the issues remaining unresolved, and a description of the relief or resolution sought:
(a) Grievances against faculty may be appealed to the Student-Faculty Committee on Grievances or as an alternative, to the appropriate Vice-President (see subsection (b) of this section). The Student-Faculty Committee on Grievances operates under the charge, procedures and time lines stated in Section F(3). No person involved as a party to the grievance or as a participant in either the informal resolution efforts or the decision-making at Step One of the formal grievance process shall serve on the Student-Faculty Committee on Grievances when it considers a grievance under this subsection;
(b) Grievances against any University employee may be appealed to the Vice-President to whom the grieved-against person reports. The Vice President may elect to investigate the grievance or to designate an investigator, or may decide the grievance on the record already assembled. Both parties shall have access to the record presented to the Vice-President (including all documents and communications relied on by the Step One resolver and the Step Two investigator) and shall have the opportunity to comment on it before the Vice President's decision. The record of the grievance includes all statements and evidence submitted by the parties and the Step One decision report. The Vice-President shall have 30 days from receipt of the grievance to investigate and render a decision in writing. Within that time, the decision shall be given to both the aggrieved and the person grieved-against.
(4) Step Three: If either or both parties to the grievance are dissatisfied with the result of Step Two, they may file a written appeal to the University President within 14 days of receiving the Step Two decision. The President may elect to decide the grievance on the record already assembled, may elect to investigate personally or by appointing an investigator, or may remand the grievance to the decision-maker at Step Two for further clarification and additions. Both parties shall have access to the record presented to the President upon appeal and shall have the opportunity to comment on it before the President makes a decision. The same records considerations apply to this step as to those before. The President shall render a written decision within 60 days of the receipt of an appeal. Both parties shall receive a copy of the Step Three decision. The President's decision is final.
(5) Withdrawing the Grievance: The grievance may be withdrawn by the aggrieved at any step in this procedure by submitting a signed and dated written notice to the decision-maker who currently is considering the grievance.
(6) Extensions of Time: Time limits within this rule may be extended by the decision-maker when to do so will enhance the fairness of the process, by giving written notice to all parties.
(7) Failure to appeal a decision at any step within the specified time shall terminate the grievance.
Q. Graduate Student Academic Grievances
(1) A graduate student with a grievance concerning graduate qualifying examinations, comprehensives, dissertation preparation, research evaluation, doctoral orals, advising relationships, or other academic grievance shall use the procedures established under this policy.
(2) A graduate student must institute a formal grievance within 45 days of the time the student knows, or by reasonable diligence should have known of the matter prompting the grievance:
(a) For the purposes of this policy, a graduate student is an individual who, having been formally admitted into a recognized graduate degree program, and having paid the appropriate fee or having the fee officially waived, is enrolled in University courses for academic credit, or was so enrolled at the time the action grieved occurred;
(b) The running of time under this policy shall be suspended during examination and vacation periods, including the period between the end of Spring term and the beginning of fall term if the student is not enrolled in summer session, unless both parties agree not to suspend the time limits. After the filing of a formal grievance, more time may be allowed at any level if both the aggrieved and the decision-maker agree more time is needed;
(c) In addition to stating the decision-maker's conclusion, all written decisions shall include a recitation of the applicable facts and the law, rules, and policies which support the conclusion:
(A) If the decision at any level requires taking action, the decision shall include a copy of the instructions to the appropriate University personnel for implementing that action;
(B) Failure of a decision-maker at any level to communicate the decision within the applicable time limits shall permit the aggrieved to proceed to the next step. The failure of the aggrieved to appeal a decision within the time limits shall be deemed to be an acceptance of the decision.
(3) Informal Resolution: Before filing formal complaints, students are urged to consider direct conversation with the individual causing the problem, or the appropriate department head or dean, in an effort to resolve misunderstandings and to achieve solutions as quickly as possible. Graduate students may also consult with the Dean of the Graduate School in trying to achieve an informal solution to their problem.
(4) Formal Process:
(a) Step One: The graduate student shall file a written grievance with the department head, department grievance committee, the college/ school grievance committee, or the dean, whichever is applicable:
(A) The student's statement of the grievance shall comply with the requirements of Section M2)(a);
(B) A University employee who receives a grievance under this policy which alleges illegal discrimination against a student including sexual harassment, shall send a copy of the grievance to the Assistant to the President for Legal Affairs and to the Office of Affirmative Action;
(C) The decision rendered at Step One shall be in writing and shall be provided to the aggrieved and all other named parties to the grievance within 30 days of the receipt of the formal grievance.
(b) Step Two: If the aggrieved graduate student is dissatisfied with the decision at Step One, the aggrieved shall file a written appeal of that decision to the dean of the school/college, or if the dean made the decision at Step One, to the Dean of the Graduate School, within 14 days of receipt of the decision made at Step One:
(A) The dean to whom the appeal is addressed may decide the grievance on the record presented or may investigate the grievance, appoint a designee to investigate, or refer the grievance to an appropriate committee or group to investigate;
(B) The decision rendered by the dean to whom the appeal was addressed shall be in writing and shall be provided to the aggrieved and all other named parties to the grievance within 30 days of the receipt of the formal grievance;
(C) If the appeal is to the Dean of the Graduate School, see the procedure set forth in subsection (c) of this section.
(c) Step Three: If the graduate student aggrieved is dissatisfied with the decision at Step Two, the aggrieved shall file a written appeal of that decision to the Dean of the Graduate School within 14 days of receipt of the decision at Step Two, but if the Dean of the Graduate School made the decision at Step Two, the aggrieved may proceed to Step Four:
(A) The Dean of the Graduate School or the Dean's designee shall appoint an ad hoc Advisory Committee normally composed of three members selected from the Graduate Council (one student and two faculty members or three faculty members) to investigate the grievance and to make a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School, within 15 days of receipt of the decision made at the prior step;
(B) The Dean of the Graduate School shall render a decision, in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the appeal, and provide copies of the decision to all the parties named in the grievance.
(d) Step Four: If either party is dissatisfied with the Dean of the Graduate School's decision, an appeal may be made to the Provost by filing a written appeal within 14 days of receiving the decision at Step Three. The Provost may decide the grievance on the record already developed or may investigate further, or designate another to investigate. The Provost shall provide a copy of the decision at this level to all the parties named in the grievance within 45 days of receiving the appeal. The Provost's decision shall be final.
R. Student Financial Aid Appeals Procedure
(1) A student who believes that the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) has made an error in deciding eligibility for financial assistance, or nonrenewal or diminution of financial assistance may appeal that decision through the procedure described in this rule. This procedure applies to all forms of student financial aid including Athletic Department grants in aid.
(2) Within 30 days after being notified of the decision, the student shall submit a written request that the case be reviewed:
(a) Upon receipt of such a request, OSFA staff shall schedule a meeting for discussion and reconsideration of the decision with the student and a Financial Aid counselor. If possible, the student shall meet with the counselor who made the complained-of decision. Unless it is inconvenient for the student, the meeting shall take place within seven days of receipt of the student's appeal;
(b) If the student at any time during this process alleges that financial aid was reduced or denied because of illegal discrimination, OSFA staff shall send copies of the complaint and all subsequent decisions and appeals to the Assistant to the President for Legal Affairs and to the Director of the Office of Affirmative Action;
(c) The OSFA counselor shall inform the student in writing of the counselor's decision regarding the appeal within seven days of the appeal meeting.
(3) Appeal to Director: If the student believes the counselor's reviewed decision is in error, the student may file a written appeal with the Director of OSFA. Such an appeal must be received within seven days of the student's learning of the counselor's decision:
(a) Upon receipt of such an appeal, OSFA staff shall schedule a meeting for discussion and reconsideration of the decision with the student and the Director of OSFA, or the Director's designee if the Director is not available. Unless it is inconvenient for the student, the meeting shall take place within seven days of receipt of the student's appeal;
(b) The Director of OSFA shall inform the student in writing of the Director's decision regarding the appeal within seven days of the appeal meeting.
(4) Appeal to Board: If the student still believes a mistake has been made, the student may request a hearing before the Financial Aid Appeals Board. Such a request must be submitted to Dean of Students within seven days of the student's receipt of the Director's decision:
(a) The Financial Aid Appeals Board shall schedule a hearing at which the student's and the OSFA positions can be presented. Counsel may participate on behalf of either party. Spoken testimony and argument shall be tape recorded;
(b) The Financial Aid Appeals Board shall make its decision by a majority vote of all voting members who participated in the hearing provided that at least one student member of the Board participated in the hearing. It shall produce a written report of its decision, citing the law, rules and policies affecting its decision, and all applicable facts as found. The report shall be sent within 14 days of the hearing to the complaining student, the Director of Financial Aid, and the University President;
(c) Either party may appeal the Board's decision to the President. If neither party appeals within seven days, the Board's decision is final. The President may inquire further concerning the issues raised, or may base the decision on the record developed by the Appeals Board. The President shall report the decision within 30 days. This report shall set forth a final determination as to the Student's Financial Aid entitlement.
(5) The Financial Aid Appeals Board shall include seven voting members and one ex-officio (non-voting) member. The seven voting members shall be appointed as follows:
(a) Two students with class standing of junior or higher shall be appointed by the President of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon;
(b) Four members of the University's faculty shall be appointed by the Provost; one member of the Law School faculty shall be appointed by the Dean of the Law School; the ex-officio (nonvoting) member shall be appointed by the Director of Financial Aid from among the staff of the Financial Aid Office;
(c) Regular appointments to the Financial Aid Appeals Board shall be made on or before June 30 to take effect September 16. Regular appointments shall be for a term of one year with reappointment for successive terms permitted. Substitute appointments to fill unexpired terms may be made as necessary by the proper authority during the year;
(d) Appeals Board members who feel they are too close to either side of the issues presented to make an objective evaluation of the claim shall abstain from the proceedings. A quorum of four voting members must be present at any hearing. A majority vote for decision purposes is defined as a majority of all eligible voting members.
- Volume III: Administration of Student Affairs
- Chapter 1: Conduct and Student Activities