Student Grievance Committee Operating Procedure

A student grievance is either academic or non-academic in nature. A student academic grievance refers to a case in which the student claims unfair, prejudicial, or capricious evaluation or treatment of an academic nature by a University faculty member; an academic grievance shall not be filed against actions which would impair the exercise by a University faculty member of his/her academic freedom. A student non-academic grievance refers to a case when a student claims practices which deny or restrict his/her access to or participation in course offerings; sexual harassment, racial discrimination, or any other act by a University member that is derogatory or discriminatory in nature. (A non-academic grievance may also be filed against a professional staff member.)

A student grievance begins with informal procedures and may continue with subsequent formal procedures. A student may not pursue the formal procedures of a grievance before first exhausting all informal procedures. The right of a University faculty member to appeal to the Faculty Grievance Committee is not limited by participation in a student grievance nor shall it be prejudiced by any actions or decisions of the Student Grievance Committee.

The grievance procedure is intended to deal with matters as expeditiously as possible. Although the times listed below are recommended guidelines for handling the steps of the procedure, it is expected that they will not be exceeded except under compelling circumstances.

In an academic grievance, if the University faculty member is no longer employed by Bradley University, the student shall meet with the chair of the former faculty member’s department and the word “chair” shall take the place of the words “University faculty member” in what follows.

In a non-academic grievance, if the University faculty member is no longer employed by Bradley University or ceases employment before the case is resolved, the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs shall offer the former faculty member the right to participate in the informal and formal grievance procedures. If the former faculty member agrees in writing to do so, the process shall move forward as it would for any other faculty member. If the former faculty member declines to do so, or removes himself or herself in writing at any point, the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs shall prepare a written summary of events up to the time the former faculty member removes himself or herself and give copies to the student and the former faculty member. At that point, the internal University procedures shall come to a halt without having been resolved.

A student who claims academic grievance may consult with the Academic Ombudsman.

The grievance process is as follows:

Informal Procedures

  1. Academic Grievance
    1. In an academic grievance the student shall meet with the University faculty member in an attempt to resolve the issue within fifteen days of the beginning of the next semester. (The student may consult with the Academic Ombudsman).

      If the student is a graduate student, the student shall consult his or her Graduate Program Coordinator/Director to seek a course of action to resolve the issue. The Graduate Program Coordinator/ Director shall advise the student on the procedures to be followed. If a conflict of interest exists between the student and the Graduate Program Coordinator/Director, the student may seek the advice of the Department Chairperson of the department offering the program in which he/she is enrolled.

    2. Should the issue not be resolved to the student’s and the University faculty member’s mutual satisfaction, the student may, within five working days of the decision of the University faculty member, appeal to the chairperson/director of the University faculty member’s department /division. The Chairperson/Director shall provide the student and faculty member with a written decision upholding or rejecting the appeal within five working days of the appeal. If the chairperson/director upholds the appeal and finds any unfair or unjustifiable injury or disadvantage to have occurred, his/her decision shall specify remedies to rectify the situation.  If a conflict of interest exists with the chairperson/director, the student may appeal directly to the Dean of the University faculty member’s college as discussed in (3) below.

    3. Should the issue still not be resolved to the student’s and the University faculty member’s mutual satisfaction, the student or University faculty member may, within ten working days, appeal the decision of the chairperson/ director to the Dean(s) of the College(s) in which the given academic concern resides. This appeal shall specify in writing the alleged grievance. The Dean(s) or Dean(s)’ designee(s) shall meet with the relevant parties within five working days of the appeal. The Dean shall deliver a written decision within five working days after the conclusion of this meeting upholding or rejecting the appeal. If the Dean upholds the appeal and finds any unfair or unjustifiable injury or disadvantage to have occurred, his/her decision shall specify remedies to rectify the situation. In cases involving a conflict of interest with the Dean, the student shall initiate the formal procedures specified below.

    4. If the student is enrolled in the Graduate School, and the issue still is not resolved to the student’s and the University faculty member’s mutual satisfaction, the student or University faculty member may, within ten working days, appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School. This appeal shall specify in writing the alleged grievance. The Dean or Dean’s designee(s) shall meet with the relevant parties within five working days of the appeal. The Dean shall deliver within five working days after the conclusion of this meeting a written decision upholding or rejecting the appeal. If the Dean upholds the appeal and finds any unfair or unjustifiable injury or disadvantage to have occurred, his/her decision shall specify remedies to rectify the situation. In cases involving a conflict of interest with the Dean, the student shall initiate the formal procedures specified below.

  2. Non-Academic Grievance
    1. In a non-academic grievance the student shall meet with the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs in an attempt to resolve the issue within fifteen days.
    2. The Interim Vice President for Student Affairs will attempt to resolve the matter within ten working days. Should the issue not be resolved, the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs shall prepare a written summary of the events and discussions among the student, University faculty member, and any other individuals, and give a copy of the written summary to the student and University faculty member involved. In cases involving a conflict of interest with the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, the cases shall be referred to the President. In cases involving a conflict of interest with the Provost, the student shall initiate the formal procedures specified below.

Formal Procedures

Should the issue not be resolved to the student’s and the University faculty member’s satisfaction using the informal procedures, the student or University faculty member may, within five working days of the final written decision or summary described above, initiate the formal phase of the grievance procedure by appealing in writing to the chairperson of the University Student Grievance Committee. This written appeal shall specify the alleged grievance and the result(s) of the appeals during the informal phase of the grievance procedure. Legal counsel may be used by the parties, at the parties’ cost, as part of the formal procedure. Legal counsel for either party shall act in an advisory capacity only and shall not be permitted to speak on behalf of any part. The Student Grievance Committee shall have access to the University attorney on procedural matters.

  1. The Student Grievance Committee shall meet at the call of the chairperson upon receipt of a written grievance.
    1. The Chairperson shall:
      1. Obtain written statements from all parties involved in the appeal.
      2. Call for a meeting of the Committee to be held within ten working days of submission of the appeal to review the statements from the parties involved, unless extraordinary circumstances require a delay.
      3. The Committee shall decide whether a grievance is in order. If the Committee finds a grievance is not in order, the complaint is dismissed and no further action will be taken by the Committee. If the grievance alleged discrimination, a copy of the minutes of the meeting shall be sent to the Affirmative Action Officer.
    2. If the committee finds a grievance is in order, the Committee shall:
      1. Determine a date, time and place for a formal hearing. Determine the procedures for conducting the formal hearing. All parties concerned will be given at least five working days notice of the time, date and place of the hearing, and of the procedures.
      2. Call on other faculty, staff and students if it would serve the purposes of due process.
      3. Retain records of all written matters dealing with each case.
  2. The Committee shall submit its written findings and decisions for review within (45) forty-five working days after the matter has been formally submitted to the Committee. This time period shall not include either University holidays or times when the faculty are not under contract, such as during the summer. If the Committee finds that unfair or unjustifiable injury or disadvantage has occurred, its decision shall specify remedies to rectify the situation. The Committee shall submit its findings and decision to the Provost or other appropriate academic officer. Within thirty days of the receipt of the findings and recommendations of the Committee, the Provost or other appropriate University officer shall notify all concerned parties of his/her agreement or disagreement with the Committee’s decision, stating the reasons in writing. Upon agreement of the parties, the grievance procedure can be concluded at any time before notification by the appropriate academic officer.