“Complaint” and “Grievance”
“Complaint” is used as both the originating and the encompassing term; a complaint that is resolved through mutual agreement with the immediate supervisor remains a complaint, while one that must be pursued through an appeal to a third party is considered to rise to a “grievance.” Every grievance begins as a complaint, but not every complaint becomes a grievance.
A Student Academic Appointee (SAA) is entitled to appeal actions or conditions affecting their role, including such matters as dismissal, academic freedom, reappointment, and the nature and conditions of work. Issues regarding discrimination and research misconduct should be referred to the appropriate campus office.
All departments and academic units involved in supervising SAA's should establish internal procedures for reviewing graduate student grievances related of their academic appointments. The following are recommended in adopting or revising SAA grievance policy and procedures at the school, department, and unit level:
- A policy should be established to guide the process for responding to SAA complaints and grievances. The policy should clearly indicate a structure of appeal for complaints that cannot be resolved through mutual agreement by the SAA and their immediate supervisor. The policy should address the procedure for filing a grievance, the timeline for a response, identify who will hear the grievance, and outline the process for how a resolution will be attempted to be reached.
- A set of procedures should be outlined in the policy to clearly layout the timeline and steps in the grievance process.
- All SAA's should receive a written copy of the procedures for filing grievances at the time of their appointment. The materials involved in the grievance are confidential. Procedures should indicate what materials, if any, will be placed in an SAA personnel file. and where documents following the conclusion of a grievance process will be stored.
- The procedures should indicate the avenues of appeal available to the SAA beyond the department/unit grievance procedures.
- SAA’s may file their grievance directly to the SAA Mediation Committee or the SAA Board of Review without going through formal grievance policies at the department/unit level. The SAA Mediation Committee and the SAA Board of Review reserve the right to recommend the grievance back to the department/unit, if they determine that is the appropriate action.
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