Student Academic Complaint Resolution
Effective: November 22, 2011
Last Updated: Approved by EPC on October 12, 2011, Approved by Campus Assembly November 22, 2011; Revised and approved by Teaching & Learning Committee 3-11-15; approved by EVCAA 4-30-15; approved by EVCAA 3-9-2021
Policy Owner: Academic Affairs
Scope and Purpose
This procedure implements Board of Regents Policy: Conflict Resolution Process for Student Academic Complaints and outlines the resolution process. Academic complaints are complaints brought by students regarding the University’s provision of education and academic services affecting their role as students. Academic complaints must be based on a University rule, policy, or established practice claimed to be violated.
This procedure does NOT apply to student complaints regarding:
- University employment
- Disciplinary action under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code (with the exception of academic dishonesty)
- Applicant complaints regarding University admission decisions
- Discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct concerns. Issues involving student respondents should be reported to the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution and issues involving employee respondents should be reported to the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Associate.
This policy provides a process that allows for both informal and formal resolutions of conflicts. Resolutions may include corrective action for the benefit of the student, but may not include monetary compensation or take disciplinary action against any employee of the University. If, as a result of the outcome of a student complaint, discipline is being considered, the appropriate disciplining member of the administration or their designee will follow the procedures in the relevant contracts, and where applicable, will conduct a separate investigation.
The first step of any resolution should be at the lowest level, between the parties involved (usually the student and faculty member) or the parties and an appropriate administrator (usually the Department Head) at that lowest level. If the issue is not resolved informally, the student may seek formal resolution.
Each college unit designates an academic complaint officer (generally the Associate Dean) who reviews formal complaints, interviews the parties involved, and recommends a course of action to the Dean, who provides a formal resolution.
Steps (listed in the order in which they should occur):
- The complaint should be filed in the collegiate unit in which the incident occurred.
- The complaint must be submitted in writing to the college Associate Dean, identifying the complainant (the person making the complaint), the respondent(s) (the accused), the incident, the rule/policy/established practice claimed to be violated, and a brief statement of the remedy the student is seeking. If the respondent is the Associate Dean, the complaint should be submitted directly to the Dean.
- An Associate Dean will review the complaint and meet as needed with the student and the respondent or other individuals involved to try again to reach a satisfactory, mutually acceptable informal resolution. If an informal resolution is not reached, the Associate Dean will make a recommendation to the Dean of the college who provides a formal resolution.
- If the complainant is not satisfied with the Dean’s decision, an appeal may be made to the appropriate (undergraduate or graduate) Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs who will review materials from the investigation.
The decision of the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs is final.
Complaints involving non-faculty academic staff or arising from actions of college Deans will be resolved as outlined below (listed in the order in which they should occur):
- The complaint must be submitted in writing to the appropriate Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs identifying the complainant, the respondent(s), the incident, the rule/policy/established practice claimed to be violated, and a brief statement of the remedy the student is seeking.
- The Associate Vice Chancellor conducts the investigation and recommends a course of action to the Executive Vice Chancellor, who provides a formal resolution.
- If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the Executive Vice Chancellor, an appeal would go to the UMD Chancellor who will review materials from the investigation.
The decision of the Chancellor is final.
- All complaints must be filed within fifteen (15) business days after the incident causing the complaint occurred. A response to the complaint must be filed within ten (10) business days.
- The Dean (or Associate Vice Chancellor if the respondent is a Dean) shall provide a formal resolution, if required, within thirty (30) business days of the date formal action is requested.
- Appeals of the Dean’s (or Associate Vice Chancellor’s if the respondent is a Dean) actions must be filed within fifteen (15) business days.
- The Executive Vice Chancellor (or Chancellor if the respondent is a Dean or Associate Vice Chancellor) shall provide a final resolution, if required, within thirty (30) business days of the receipt of an appeal.
- Timelines may be adjusted if there are compelling reasons for delay offered by any of the parties.
For information about resolving complaints for non-academic matters, please refer to the complaints and grievances process on the One Stop Student Services website.