Complaints & Grievance Procedures

Graduate Students

Grievance Committee

The Grievance Committee shall consist of the members of the Executive Committee except those elected from the unit associated with the grievance. The elected vice chair of the Executive Committee shall chair the Grievance Committee unless the chair is from the unit associated with the grievance, in which case the committee will select a chair. The chair is responsible for assuring that a record of the committee’s investigations, deliberations, and recommendations is forwarded to the associate dean.


  1. A student may file a formal grievance with either the FAA associate dean for academic affairs or directly with the Graduate College. A formal grievance should be filed promptly and must be filed in writing within 180 days of the decision or behavior resulting in the grievance. The written grievance should indicate the parties involved; the action or decision being contested; any applicable university, campus, or unit policy; an explanation of why the action or decision is inappropriate; and the remedy sought.
  2. The FAA associate dean shall define the subject matter and scope of the issues related to the grievance in a written charge to the Grievance Committee. The primary involved parties shall receive a copy of the charge.
  3. Any participant to the grievance may challenge any member of the Grievance Committee if there is a perceived conflict of interest. The challenge should be made in writing to the FAA associate dean. If the objection is prompt and reasonable, the associate dean shall replace the person with one who meets the stated criteria. Both the decision about whether the challenge is prompt and reasonable and the replacement selected may be a basis for appeal.
  4. The Grievance Committee’s investigation shall include a review of written materials presented. In addition, the committee will seek information from the primary involved parties in writing or in person. During a hearing, each of the primary involved parties may make a brief opening statement and then will respond to questions from the committee. The primary involved parties may not question each other directly but may pose questions through the committee chair. At the end of the hearing, each primary involved party may make a closing statement.
  5. Within 30 calendar days of the filing of the grievance, the chair of the Grievance Committee shall report its recommendations in writing to the FAA associate dean. The associate dean may grant an extension of the time limit for good cause. The Grievance Committee’s report shall contain:
    1. A summary of the grievant’s contentions and relief sought;
    2. The response of the individual or college/department;
    3. A general description of the investigative process;
    4. A citation of relevant policies;
    5. An explicit finding of fact based on the preponderance of the evidence with respect to each grievance;
    6. A listing of the evidence relevant to each finding;
    7. An indication of whether there was a reasonable basis in fact and honest belief for the allegations in the grievance;
    8. A recommendation of appropriate redress for the grievant(s); and
    9. Any recommended changes in policies and procedures to minimize the probability of recurrence.
  6. Within 7 calendar days of receipt of the committee’s report, the FAA associate dean shall determine the disposition of the case and communicate the decision to the primary involved individuals.
  7. If the associate dean determines that the grievance has not been proved or has no merit, the associate dean will notify all involved parties and all persons who have been interviewed or otherwise informed that the grievance has been dismissed.
  8. If the associate dean concurs with the committee’s conclusion that the grievance has been sustained and has merit, the associate dean will proceed in accordance with the university’s statutes and relevant rules and regulations. The associate dean may, after consultation with appropriate campus officers, prescribe redress for the grievant. In addition, the associate dean may initiate modifications of department or college policies or procedures. The associate dean shall notify the relevant primary involved individuals of actions taken.
  9. Within 10 calendar days of receipt of written notification of the FAA associate dean’s determination, appeals may be made to the Graduate College as specified in the Graduate College grievance policy. This appeal can be based only upon demonstrated specific deficiencies in the application of FAA’s grievance procedure to the student’s grievance.
  10. After completion of a grievance review and all ensuing related actions, the FAA associate dean shall return all original documents and materials to the persons who furnished them. The associate dean shall destroy the grievance file on a date five years beyond the grievant’s time limit for completion of the degree. A report of the nature of the grievance and the primary involved parties shall be forwarded to the Graduate College.

Undergraduate Students

Since the campus has procedures for handling allegations of capricious grading, academic integrity, and discrimination (see the Student Code), the procedures described below apply to all other grievances related to teaching, advising, and administrative affairs.


The student shall promptly seek informal resolution of the issue with the faculty or staff member. If after reasonable efforts a satisfactory solution is not reached, a student may file a grievance. A formal grievance should be filed promptly and must be filed in writing within 180 days of the decision or behavior resulting in the grievance.

  1. To file a grievance, the student shall submit a letter to the dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts stating the reasons for the grievance and the remedy sought.
  2. Upon receiving the grievance and determining that it represents an issue of substance, the dean shall designate the associate dean as the hearing officer. The hearing officer shall attempt to mediate the dispute by working with both the student and the faculty/staff person involved in an effort to find a mutually satisfactory solution. If the dean decides the grievance does not represent an issue of substance, the dean shall so inform the student, and the remainder of this procedure shall not apply.
  3. If efforts at mediation are unsuccessful, the hearing officer shall ask the faculty/staff member involved to submit a written response to the student’s grievance within 10 days of the request.
  4. The hearing officer shall convene the Disciplinary Committee so that a hearing on the issue can be held as soon as possible.
  5. The hearing shall be conducted by the hearing officer under the following guidelines:
    1. The responsibility of establishing the validity of the grievance and the appropriateness of the suggested remedy shall be upon the student.
    2. The student and/or the faculty/staff member may be accompanied by an advisor of his/her choice.
    3. The hearing shall be closed to the public except when both parties agree that it should be open.
    4. The hearing officer shall keep a record of the hearing, which shall include:
      • The names of those present,
      • A copy of any physical evidence (records, written testimony, duplicated materials, etc.) that is introduced, and
      • A record of the final decision of the committee and its rationale.
  6. The decision of the Disciplinary Committee concerning both the finding relevant to the dispute and the suggested remedy shall be submitted to the dean. The dean may affirm, reverse, or ask the committee to reconsider its actions. The dean may also request additional information from the principals in the dispute in rendering a decision. The decision of the dean represents the final action of the college. The student must find avenues outside the College of Fine and Applied Arts to pursue redress of the grievance.

Adapted from the Graduate College Policy and Procedures on Grievances by Graduate Students, the Grievance Procedures of the College of Education, and the Food Science and Human Nutrition Grievance Policy and Procedures.

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