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Grievance Procedures for Graduate Students

13 June, 2013

  1. Introduction

    1. Policy

      An important goal of Oregon State University is to maintain harmonious relations among students, faculty, and staff. To this end, candid and informal discussions between graduate students and others in the University are encouraged as a means of achieving harmony and of arriving at mutually satisfactory solutions to graduate student problems. Graduate education is based upon a mutuality of interests and respect among faculty and students. It is important that this mutual concern for the quality of education and the persons involved be fostered and preserved.

      If the informal discussions of a grievance between a graduate student and his or her supervisor break down, the use of or participation in a grievance procedure shall not subject the graduate student, any witness, or any graduate student's representative to reprisal in any way by the supervisor, the department, the major professor, the student's graduate committee, or the University. Nor shall participation in the grievance procedure be reflected in any way in efficiency ratings, grades, evaluations, promotion opportunities, or graduate student employment relations.

    2. Scope

      This statement of policy encompasses all facets of graduate education and employment of graduate students at Oregon State University except for those that are explicitly noted in this statement.

    3. Decisions in Writing

      A reasonable effort should be made to resolve any grievance at the lowest level possible. Any decision rendered at or above the level of the departmental administrator shall be in writing.

  2. Academic Grievance Procedures

    1. Scope

      Issues that may involve complaints on academic matters fall into four general categories: (1) those items that derive from University-wide regulations and which are not unique to graduate students. Examples are grades, attendance, and academic dishonesty. (2) those items that derive from rules and regulations of the Graduate School and which apply specifically to graduate students (3) those items that derive from rules or regulations of a department or comparable administrative unit. (4) other grievances related to a graduate student’s academic work and progress toward degree.

    2. Grievance Procedures Related to University-Wide Academic Regulations

      Grievances related to academic regulations for all students as adopted by the Faculty Senate (available as part of Student Online Services for Registration and Records at http://catalog.oregonstate.edu/ChapterDetail.aspx?key=75 ) have the same channel of appeal for the graduate students as for undergraduates, except for the addition of the graduate dean.

      The order of appeal will be (1) instructor, (2) administrator of department or comparable administrative unit, (3) academic dean, (4) graduate dean, (5) provost. The appeal procedures are in OAR 576-022-0010 http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_500/oar_576/576_022.html.

    3. Grievance Procedures Related to Graduate School Policies and Regulations

      Graduate School policies and regulations may be found in the Graduate Bulletin, which is published annually. Appeals relative to the application or execution of these policies and regulations will have the following route: (1) major professor, (2) administrator of major department or comparable administrative unit, (3) graduate dean, (4) provost.

      The graduate dean may refer a case to the Graduate Council or a committee of the Council prior to rendering a decision. If the graduate student is not satisfied with the decision of the graduate dean, and if the graduate dean has not referred the case to the Graduate Council or a committee of the Council, the student may ask that the case be referred to the Graduate Council or a committee of the Council prior to the appeal to the Provost and Executive Vice President.

    4. Grievance Procedures Involving Departmental Policies, Procedures, and Regulations

      All OSU students holding a baccalaureate degree and not enrolled as postbaccalaureate or professional degree students are enrolled in the Graduate School. This is in contrast to undergraduate students who are enrolled in an academic school or college. Graduate students typically work for advanced degrees, which are administered through academic departments or comparable administrative units. The graduate faculty members have appointments in these academic units and these units have a direct influence on the quality of graduate education at OSU.

      When grievances arise relative to the application of the rules, procedures or policies of a department or comparable academic unit, the order of appeal will be: (1) major professor, (2) administrator of department or comparable academic unit, (3) graduate dean, (4) provost.

    5. Grievance Procedures Related to Academic Work and Progress Toward Degree

      When other grievances arise related to a graduate student’s academic work and progress toward degree, the order of appeal will be: (1) major professor, (2) administrator of department or comparable academic unit, (3) graduate dean, (4) provost.

    6. Grievance Procedures for Non-degree Graduate Students

      Non-degree graduate students holding a baccalaureate degree will have the following order of appeal: (1) instructor, (2) graduate dean, (3) provost.

    7. Use of Designee

      At any step of review beyond the instructor, the appropriate administrator may appoint a designee to act on his or her behalf in considering the grievance.

    8. Time Limits

      A grievance shall first be presented orally within 60 calendar days from the time the graduate student knew or should have known of the facts giving rise to the alleged grievance. At the level of departmental administrator, or above, the grievance or appeal must be submitted in writing. The responsible administrator at each step below the graduate dean is required to respond in writing to the grievant within 15 calendar days from the time the grievance was received. The graduate dean shall respond within 30 calendar days, including review and reporting by a Graduate Council committee. Any appeal on the part of the grievant to the next step in the grievance procedure must be made within 15 calendar days from the time the grievant was informed of the action at the prior step.

      If at any step of the grievance procedure the University fails to issue a response within the times specified, the grievance shall be considered denied. The grievant may file the grievance at the next step. If the grievant fails to file the grievance at the subsequent step within the time specified, the grievance will be considered withdrawn and cannot be resubmitted.

      The indicated time limits are provided to assure speedy response to a grievance. However, the time period may be waived by mutual consent of the graduate student and the administrator.

    9. Appeal to Graduate Dean
      For any grievance submitted to the dean of the Graduate School, the dean may, at his or her discretion, refer the grievance to a special advisory committee of three persons comprising two members of the Graduate Council and a graduate student majoring in a department other than the one with which the student has a grievance. The dean of the Graduate School will render a decision in writing based on the facts of the case and the advice of the special committee if one is established.
  3. Grievance Procedures Related to Employment of Graduate Students

    Grievance procedures concerning employment can be found on the Office of Human Resources, Administrative Services, Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE) Contract Resources page.