Feb 26, 2021  
ARCHIVED 2017-18 Graduate Studies Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2017-18 Graduate Studies Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Students Rights and Responsibilities

University Policies and Federal Laws

Academic Integrity/Dishonesty Policy

is defined in four categories

  1. Cheating - "Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized information or study aids in an academic exercise."
  2. Fabrication - "Intentional and unauthorized falsification of invention or any information or citation in an academic exercise."
  3. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty - "Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of dishonesty,"  and/or coercing others to do the same.
  4. Plagiarism - "Intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise," in both oral and written projects.

Gehring, D., Nuss, E.M., & Pavela, G. (1986). Issues and perspectives on academic integrity. Columbus, OH: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators

Sanctions for Academic Dishonesty

All acts of academic dishonesty threaten the integrity and scholarly pursuit of Doane University. Because these acts, by their nature, impact the academic environment and integrity of the University, all alleged violations involving academic dishonesty will be reported in writing to the dean. In this manner, the university fulfills its responsibility for maintaining the academic integrity of the institution. Consequently, each student has a responsibility to avoid direct acts of academic dishonesty, the aiding of others in committing acts of academic dishonesty, and/or acts that may lead to the suspicion of academic dishonesty.

The university adheres to a policy that places the responsibility for the disposition of academic dishonesty cases for first offenders in the hands of the faculty member involved. If a student or group involved is not currently enrolled in the course in question, they will be referred to the dean for investigation and sanctioning. The course instructor may impose one or more of the following penalties for cases of academic dishonesty arising in his/her classes:

  • The rejection of the assignment/exercise with the request that the work be resubmitted.
  • A reduced grade for the assignment/exercise.
  • A grade of "F" or "0" on the assignment/exercise.
  • A reduced grade for the course.
  • A grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, due to the seriousness of the infraction, the instructor may recommend imposition of greater penalties which may include suspension or expulsion from the university. All such recommendations will be handled by the dean, who will render a decision.

Sanctions for a second and subsequent offense(s) of academic dishonesty must be handled by the dean at the initiation of the appropriate faculty member. The dean may impose any of the above sanctions and/or any of the following:

A grade of "F" for the course with the notation that the "F" resulted from an act of academic dishonesty to be recorded on the student's transcript. The transcript will carry this notation for the period of time designated by the vice president for academic affairs. The student may appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs in writing to have the notation expunged.

Suspension from the university for a designated period of time that will be established by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The student's transcript will note the suspension for violating the academic dishonesty policy of the university and may be expunged at the written request of the student upon reinstatement.

Expulsion from the university. In such cases, the student's transcript will permanently note the expulsion decision having been based on an act(s) of academic dishonesty.

Access/Services for Students with Disabilities

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (section 504) and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) provide that "no otherwise qualified disabled individual in the United States... shall, solely on the basis of disability, be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity provided by any institution receiving federal financial assistance." This regulation requires that Doane programs be accessible to the disabled, but it does not require that every building or part of a building be accessible. Thus it may be necessary to reschedule classes to accessible classrooms or take other steps to open some of the programs to students with mobility impairments.

  1. Students interested in services related to a disability should notify the university of any special circumstances that would affect their ability to compete equally in the university environment. To assist the university in providing services, documentation of such disabilities must be provided by qualified professionals upon request.
  2. While students are encouraged to self-identify at the earliest possible time, they can access services at any time by initiating the process described in number one above.
  3. To initiate this process, students are encouraged to contact an academic advisor before beginning classes so their needs can be anticipated, reviewed and accommodated.

Grievance Procedure

Doane University wants to ensure prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any discrimination or other conduct prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (20 U.S.C. 794.)  If at any point a student, faculty or staff member believes that there has been a violation of ADA or Section 504, he or she should follow these steps:

  1. To file a grievance, the student, faculty or staff member must contact the universities Section 504 Coordinator within 30 working days of the alleged discrimination or other conduct. (In special circumstances an extension may be granted for filing a grievance.) All grievances should be filed with Laura Northup, Director of Human Resources and the University's designated Section 504 Coordinator. She may be contacted at (402) 826-6773 or via email at laura.northup@doane.edu.
  2. The 504 coordinator will make contact with the student or employee filing the grievance within two business days. The 504 coordinator will make a record of the meeting and may request person filing the complaint to present the grievance in writing.
  3. The 504 coordinator or her designee will conduct a thorough and impartial investigation of the complaint, during which all parties will have the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence. 
  4. Upon review of the documentation and information gathering, the 504 coordinator will render a findings report to Doane University and will provide a copy of the findings report to the student or employee grievant.   The parents or guardians of a student grievant, if FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) permits, may request a copy of the findings report within 30 days after its filing.
  5. The person filing the complaint may request reconsideration of the report determination and findings if he or she is dissatisfied with the resolution.  This request should be made to the Section 504 Coordinator within 10 working days. The findings report will be provided to the Vice President for Student Leadership when a student requests reconsideration and to the Vice President for Finance and Administration when a faculty or staff member requests reconsideration.  The designated Vice President will be responsible for reviewing the report findings and resolution and making a determination in writing and providing copies of the written determination to the person filing the grievance within 10 working days. Report findings will also be filed with the 504 Coordinator.

The university will take steps, as appropriate, to remedy the effects of and prevent the recurrence of discrimination of which it has notice.

Access to University Records FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Acts of 1974 (commonly referred to as "FERPA" or the "Buckley Amendment") is designed to protect the confidentiality of students educational records and to give students access to their records to assure accuracy. FERPA outlines four rights with respect to students Education Records. They are:

  1. Access to Education Records: students have the right to inspect and review their Education Records within 45 days of the day the University receives a written request for access, anytime after their matriculation.
  2. Request for Amendment of Education Records: students have the right to request amendment of Education Records if they believe the records are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of their privacy rights.
  3. Disclosure of Education Records: this right protects confidentiality of student records and requires the student's signature to release academic records, such as transcripts. Some exceptions exist such as school officials who've been determined to have a legitimate educational interest, or information determined to be directory information. Examples of directory information include: name, addresses, email, telephone numbers, major and/or minor fields of study, degree sought, expected date of completion of degree requirements and graduation, degrees conferred, awards and honors (e.g. Dean's list), full or part time enrollment status, dates of attendance, or photograph.
  4. Compliance: students have the right to submit complaints concerning the University's compliance with the requirement of FERPA to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 202024605, email address: ferpa@ed.gov.

For more information on FERPA, or to view the entire FERPA policy, please visit the Registrar's web page or office.

Anti-harassment Policy

A fundamental policy of the university is that employees and students at the university should be able to work and study at the university in an environment free of discrimination and any form of harassment based on race, color, religion, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, handicap, or marital status. To further this fundamental policy, the universityprohibits the harassment of any student and the prohibition extends to harassment based on race, color, religion, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, handicap or marital status. Harassment is counterproductive to the university's goals and will not be tolerated. Such behavior is unacceptable because it is a form of unprofessional behavior threatening to the academic freedom and personal integrity of others. Failure to follow this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including suspension.

The type of harassment that is prohibited may take many forms and includes, without limitation, verbal harassment (derogatory comments and/or slurs), physical harassment (assault or physical interference), visual harassment (posters, cartoons, drawings), use of the Internet or e-mail to harass or embarrass, and innuendo or false rumors. Further, harassment includes conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a student's academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic environment. Harassment is prohibited both during normal work or school hours and outside the normal school hours if such harassment is determined by the university to affect the normal student/faculty/staff relationships.

Harassment can take a number of forms, but of particular concern is sexual harassment, which is a violation of state and federal law. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct, and other verbal or physical conduct, or visual forms of harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following forms:

  • Unwelcome or unwanted advances, including sexual advances. This means patting, pinching, brushing up against, hugging, cornering, kissing, fondling, or any other similar physical contact.
  • Unwelcome requests or demands for favors, including sexual favors. This includes subtle or blatant expectations, pressures or request for any type of favor, including a sexual favor, whether or not it is accompanied by an implied or stated promise of preferential treatment or negative consequences concerning academic or employment status.
  • Verbal abuse or kidding that is oriented toward a prohibited form of harassment, including that which is sex-oriented and considered unwelcome. This includes offensive comments which harass an individual based upon his or her sex, race, age, national origin, disability, or marital status; telling "dirty jokes" that are inappropriate and considered offensive, or any tasteless, sexually oriented comments, innuendoes, or actions that offend.
  • Creating an academic environment that is intimidating, hostile, abusive, or offensive because of unwelcome or unwanted conversations, suggestions, requests, demands, physical contacts, or attentions, whether sexually oriented or otherwise related to a prohibited form of harassment.

The university's concern is to provide an academic environment that is comfortable for students, advisors and staff, conducive to the academic enterprise, and free from this type of behavior. This policy is written to be sure that everyone understands our intent to provide an academic environment free of harassment.

Obviously, the university cannot prevent violations of this policy unless such behavior is observed or the university is told of the violations. Any complaints will be kept confidential, and any person can be assured that he/she will not suffer negative consequences as a result of bringing his/her concerns to the university's attention. Failure of any person involved in the investigation of a harassment complaint to keep the complaint confidential shall be a separate violation of this policy. A separate violation shall also occur if any retaliatory action is taken against or directed at any person who has made a harassment complaint. Violations will result in disciplinary action. The university reserves the right to provide information regarding any harassment complaint or retaliatory conduct to the necessary legal authorities if the university, in its sole discretion, believes illegal conduct has occurred.

Consensual amorous relationships between faculty and students are also considered unethical under this policy because of the inherently asymmetrical nature of the relationship between student and faculty. Due to the possibility of abuse of power, or the appearance of such abuse, faculty are warned that any romantic involvement with a student makes them liable to formal disciplinary action if a complaint is initiated by the student.

Faculty may not participate in activities or decisions that may reward or penalize a student with whom the faculty member has or has had a consensual amorous relationship. Any person may file a complaint for a violation of this rule.

Procedures Regarding Complaints of Harassment

Definition of Terms

Complainant means a person who alleges harassment.

Respondent means a person against whom harassment is alleged.

An individual who feels he/she has been the object of harassment should so advise the dean OR has the option of reporting harassment to an advisor. The complainant has the option to specify that the administrator receiving the complaint select a neutral party as investigator.

The following procedures will be adhered to:

  • The person bringing the complaint will suffer no retaliation.
  • Complainants charging harassment must file a formal written complaint within thirty (30) calendar days of the alleged act of sexual harassment to the appropriate personnel specified above.
  • Investigation of the complaint will be conducted promptly and will be completed within thirty (30) days of the filing of the complaint.
  • The identity of all parties involved and all material gathered will be treated as confidential information.
  • If any other faculty or administrator is contacted by a complainant, such faculty or administrator shall advise complainant to notify the appointed investigator. The contacted faculty or administrator shall take no action with regard to this matter.

Informal Investigation Procedures

After the formal written complaint has been received the investigator will:

  1. Meet with the complainant to determine the nature and extent of the alleged incident. A record of information furnished by the complainant shall be made.
  2. Meet with the person accused of harassment and inform him/her that a complaint of harassment has been made against him/her. A record of information furnished by the person accused of harassment shall be made.
  3. Meet with witnesses, if any, and record the information gathered.
  4. Determine if the educational or work situation of the complainant is threatened and, if so, take appropriate corrective measures.
  5. Conclude the informal investigation in a period not to exceed thirty (30) days, with one of the following findings:
    1. Resolve the matter to the satisfaction of both the complainant and person accused of harassment, including appropriate disciplinary action if deemed necessary. The goal of all preliminary discussions is mediation, conciliation, and correction.
    2. Find that the parties are unable to resolve the matter informally, in which case the investigator shall decide whether the complaint should be pursued through the formal procedure process or be dealt with by appropriate administrative action.
  6. Both the complainant and respondent may appeal the informal resolution decision of the investigator through the formal procedure process.
  7. If no formal procedure or appeal procedure takes place, all records of the informal procedure shall be kept in a confidential file in the office of the central administration.

Formal Procedure/Appeal Procedure

Hearing Panel Formation

If the investigator finds that the complaint should be adjudicated through a formal procedure because informal resolution was impossible or if either the complainant or respondent appeals the investigator's informal resolution, such complaining or appealing party shall file a complaint or appeal with the President. In this event, the following procedures will apply:

  • A formal hearing panel shall be convened of the various constituencies of the university (faculty, administrative staff, support staff, and students) to include an appropriate combination of faculty, staff, and/or students.
  • The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall chair the hearing and select the panel, conferring with appropriate deans/vice presidents/directors.

The Hearing Panel may consist of:

  1. A combination of two/three faculty members to represent the faculty.
  2. Two/three administrative staff to represent the administrative staff.
  3. Two/three support staff employees to represent the support staff.
  4. Two/three student leaders to represent the student body.

Both the complainant and the respondent may challenge the participation of any member of the formal hearing panel. If a challenge is granted by the chair, substitutes will be selected by the chair as long as the composition includes equal membership of each group represented in the case.

The purpose of the hearing will be to hear the evidence that had been presented and uphold or recommend a change in the disposition of the complaint. New evidence may be introduced at this time. The complainant and respondent will both be present for the hearing.

Hearing Panel Procedures

The Hearing Panel shall observe the following guidelines:

  1. An opening statement by the chair regarding the nature of the case, the identification of the parties involved, and the nature of the allegations.
  2. Sequence of presentation of evidence:
  3. Complainant presents evidence.
  4. Respondent presents evidence.
  5. Complainant presents rebuttal evidence.
  6. Respondent presents rebuttal evidence.
  7. The investigating administrator presents additional evidence that was accumulated during the initial investigation of the incident.
  8. Closing statements

Hearing Panel Decision

The Hearing Panel shall determine, by majority vote, if a violation of the Harassment Policy occurred and the appropriateness of the disciplinary action. The chairperson of the Hearing Committee shall forward the Committee's written recommendation to the complainant and the respondent.

Final Appeal

Because of the nature of harassment and because it affects everyone connected with the university, the formal/appeal procedures are designed specifically for cases involving harassment. Both complainant and respondent may appeal the decision of the Formal Procedure/Appeal Procedure Hearing Panel to the university President. The President's decision is final.


All communications from the time the complaint is filed will be confidential. All of the members of the hearing panel are required to refrain from discussing the contents of the case with anyone. The confidentiality of the proceedings is of the utmost importance to all of the parties involved.

Information about harassment cases will not be released publicly, unless it is deemed necessary and approved by the President to prevent alarm among university employees and students and external publics (i.e., prospective students and parents). If information about a case is released, the names of all parties involved will remain confidential.

Withdraw of the Complaint

The complainant may withdraw his or her complaint at any time during the procedures. If the complaint is withdrawn prior to final resolution, all records of the investigation and proceedings will be kept in a confidential file in the office of the appropriate administrators and there will be no notation of the incident on either party's educational or employment records.

Title IX Policy Statement

It is the policy of Doane University not to discriminate on the basis of gender in its educational programs, activities or employment policies as required by Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments.

Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX may be directed to the Director of Human Resources, Doane University, 1014 Boswell Avenue, Crete, NE 68333 or to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, D.C., 20202.

Information Technology Acceptable Use Policies

The use of information technology and resources is restricted to academic, educational, research, and/or administrative purposes. These resources may not be used for commercial, personal, political or business income purposes unless specifically authorized for such use.

Any use of information technology or resources must not violate any U.S. or state laws or any software license and/or purchase agreements. Users of "outside" facilities such as libraries, Internet, or other electronic communication facilities, must also comply with the acceptable practices and restrictions established by those facilities.

Individuals may not use institutional resources without proper authorization from the assigned user (custodian) of the resource. Individuals may not use another user's computer account or user-ID or change another user's password without prior permission from the custodian of the resource. Sharing computer accounts and/or access to resources assigned to users is strongly discouraged.

Users of information technology are responsible for their use of computer hardware, software, accounts, user-ID's and passwords. Users are responsible for all resources assigned to them even if another person was using them. Information resources should only be used for their intended purpose; e.g., a class account must only be used to support the course for which it was created.

Users must not access, copy, view, or change private files without authorization. Users may not change, create, or delete public files or directories without proper authorization. Users do not have the right to create or receive unauthorized copies of software. Users must not attempt to modify software, data, or systems in any unauthorized manner.

Information technology and resources must not be used to make unauthorized entry into other communications, computational, or informational devices or resources. Accessing restricted databases requires prior authorization.

Users must not misuse or abuse any information resources. Information technology and resources must not be used to disrupt or interfere with other users, services or equipment. This includes, but is not limited to: threatening or harassing others, propagation of viruses or worms, posting or mailing obscene materials, distribution of unsolicited advertising, and random mailing of messages.

No equipment, supplies, software or manuals may be removed from computing sites without proper authorization.

Violations of Doane's acceptable use policy are subject to action by the university and may be referred to the appropriate authorities. Violators may be billed for unethical or illegal use of information technology and may be dismissed, suspended, expelled, and/or legally prosecuted.

Doane's in-depth policy on technology use is available upon request.

Verification of Student Identity

To meet federal guidelines, Doane requires all electronic coursework be submitted through Black Board or Doane e-mail. Blackboard requires students to login each time using their Doane login and student selected password. All coursework e-mail correspondence is done using Doane assigned e-mail accounts. When student accounts are set-up the password is mailed to the students' permanent address via US mail. Students can change their password via the web at any time to maintain their security.

Drug Free Policy

The university prohibits smoking inside the classrooms or in the building. In compliance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986, as amended in 1989, Doane University explicitly prohibits unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and/or alcohol by students or employees on the premises or as part of any of its activities. Beverage alcohol may only be used in conjunction with specifically authorized functions by those of legal drinking age.

There are applicable legal sanctions in Nebraska for unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol.

Student Conduct Code

Generally, university discipline is limited to incidents of student misconduct that adversely affect the university community's pursuit of its educational objectives or that create a substantial interference with the safety and well-being of Doane's students. Doane University expects that individuals will respect the rights of others and have regard for preservation of property. The following misconduct, not an all-inclusive code, is subject to university disciplinary action. All students are held accountable for their behavior under the judicial system of the university. Students are expected to be familiar with all university regulations and to abide by them at all times in order to maintain a fair, just, and safe learning community environment.

Any violation of these conduct code regulations is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action ranging from a warning letter or probation, to suspension or dismissal from the university. The judicial system is educational in nature, and every effort is made to develop understanding and compliance with the university standards of conduct. In addition, falsifying information obtained from the Doane Yniversity Website, WebAdvisor, the intranet, or from any print materials associated with the university is subject to disciplinary action.

Forms of dishonesty include: cheating, plagiarism, forgery, knowingly furnishing false information to university staff, alteration or use of university documents, or instruments of identification with intent to defraud. This includes the sale of term papers, computer programs, and unauthorized use of computer security authorizations. Other examples of this include when students:

  1. Intentionally obstruct or disrupt teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other university activities. This includes violations of the policies of the library.
  2. Engage in acts or expression of harassment, discrimination, personal intimidation, or intentional physical or emotional abuse of any individuals on the university premises or at university sponsored or university supervised functions.
  3. Display conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any individuals on the university premises or at university sponsored or university supervised functions or conduct that is likely to result in property damage.
  4. Commit theft or attempt theft of property or services of the university or that of a member of the university community or campus visitor, or possession of known stolen property.
  5. Fail to comply with the directions of university officials or their designees acting in performance of their duties.
  6. Fail to appear on request or give truthful testimony at a disciplinary hearing.
  7. Use or enter university facilities without authorization.
  8. Violate the law on campus and violate the law off-campus as explained under 9.
  9. Possess or use firearms without authorization, (including air rifles and air pistols), ammunition, explosives, fireworks, firecrackers, or dangerous chemicals on campus.
  10. Set fires, tamper with fire protection equipment, or cause false fire alarms.
  11. Possess, sell, distribute, use or become involved with any kind of non-prescribed narcotics and/or illicit/dangerous drugs or controlled substances.
  12. Demonstrate disorderly conduct.
  13. Engage in sexual misconduct, lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct or expression on university-owned or controlled property or at university sponsored or supervised functions.
  14. Engage in unsafe conduct (i.e. any conduct that threatens or endangers students' lives or the lives of one or more members of the campus community.)
  15. Assault or attempt to assault any individuals on university owned or controlled property or at university sponsored or supervised functions.
  16. Violate the campus alcohol policy.
  17. Cause deliberate or unjustified damage to property of the university or to property of members of the campus community or campus visitors.
  18. Provide or fabricate false information or associations on their resumes or on any applications.

Note: This list is not all inclusive nor has it been designed to be.

Student Expression

Students, individually and collectively, are free to examine, discuss and express opinions and views using appropriate channels for expression and respecting the maintenance of order. They are free to support causes by orderly means that do not disrupt the operation of the university. At the same time, it should be made clear to the academic and larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations, individuals speak only for themselves.

Violence and Unacceptable Behavior Policy

A basic tenet of our society is that all citizens have the right to security in both person and property. Our laws prohibit the physical abuse of persons, and the illegal appropriation and destruction of property. The effect of these laws is to provide a setting in which individuals can realize their potential as social, political, economic, and creative beings. Doane is a place of excitement and learning, where students of all ages, races, creeds, orientations, and ethnic origins have the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge toward goals that will make them effective citizens and promote their individual and group well-being. The universityexpects that all members of the university community share these goals. Those students who do not share these goals, who flagrantly and consistently disrupt the educational process, and who physically abuse or harass other persons will not be tolerated. Such individuals may be dismissed by the campus judiciary process and may be subject to arrest.

Similarly, students who do not respect the property of others or who willfully damage the campus or personal property of others, thereby degrading the quality of student life and increasing the cost of education, will be held liable for such damages and may be dismissed from the institution, as well as be subject to criminal liability.

Moreover, students who diminish the dignity of other members of the community through sexual harassment, hate speech, or other means of disparagement, which are unlawful and inconsistent with the university's aspiration to produce citizens respectful and tolerant of the diversity of people, may be disciplined or dismissed from the university.

Student Conduct

Students may be referred to the dean for evaluation when questions are raised about their academic, professional, or personal performance. These include students' demonstrated knowledge, interpersonal skills, personal and professional attitudes, and professional character. Students may come to the attention of the dean through advisors and/or faculty members. Reasons for referral to the dean for disciplinary action include, but are not limited to:

  1. Receiving a grade of "F".
  2. Receiving grades of "B-" or lower.
  3. Having a cumulative grade point average less than 3.00.
  4. Demonstrating personal unsuitability for the program.

After the evaluation process that may include reviewing records and relevant information, meeting with students, and/or consulting with students' advisors, the dean may recommend intervention and/or impose sanctions. Possible interventions and sanctions include, but are not limited to, developing a plan for remedial work, placing students on probation, or dismissing students. Students shall agree in writing to the recommendation(s) of the dean within 15 days after being notified of the dean's decision or be subject to further action.

The dean's decision regarding discipline generally may not be appealed. However, under a limited criteria set forth in the grievance procedures, students may request formal grievance hearings by the Graduate Academic Affairs committee or the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Grievance Procedure

Doane University is committed to effective resolution of students' problems through efficient, fair, and systematic procedures. The purpose of the program's grievance procedure is to resolve students' grievances in a manner that allows constructive relationships to be maintained across the program. This process is to be used when students feel that they have been adversely affected by the decisions, differences, misunderstandings, or problems that have arisen with faculty, staff, administrators, or other students. Students will not be penalized in any way for pursuing problems in good faith through this procedure. However, in initiating and pursuing grievances, students are obligated to proceed in candor and good faith at all times and may not initiate or pursue grievances for abusive or obstructionist purposes. In addition, this policy in no way usurps administrative judgment, but instead serves to focus and facilitate the decision making process.

Grievance Criteria

  1. The grievance procedure may be used whenever students believe that they have been adversely affected by actions of other member(s) of the program in one or more of the following ways:
    • Violation of a duly adopted school policy as described in the handbook or other publications;
    • Illegal discrimination under any Federal, state, or local law; and/or
    • Unethical conduct according to accepted professional standards.
  2. In the absence of those conditions, this procedure may not be used to dispute the legitimate exercise of professional judgment by the university's faculty, administration or staff including specifically:
    • The substance of any adopted policy or procedure;
    • The substance that forms the basis of student performance evaluation or course grades or for independent academic work under the supervision of program faculty members;
    • A decision regarding students' academic status made by designated administrative officers or by the graduate academic affairs committee;
    • A procedural or final decision of a previous grievance; and/or
    • Any action taken more than one year prior to the grievance.
  3. All grievance procedures and records are confidential and will be treated accordingly. Since this procedure is an academic, not a judicial process, the presence of legal counsel for any party of the grievance at any meeting or hearing is prohibited.

Grievance Process

Step 1 - Information Consultation

  1. Students with program related problems involving academic or administrative policies, procedures, decisions, or conduct should make an attempt in good faith to resolve the problem through discussions with the individuals most directly involved. Students filing grievances may choose to enlist the assistance of other members of the program, the academic advisor or other students to help mediate the problem.
  2. If the problems cannot be resolved in this direct way, students should seek the assistance of the dean to facilitate mediation.
  3. If problems are still not resolved to students' satisfaction, after discussion at informal levels, students may proceed with Step 2.

Step 2 - Inquiry Ruling

  1. If problems are still unresolved after informal discussion with appropriate people and mediation has not been successful, students may present their situations to the dean in writing. A formal meeting with the dean shall then be held requiring a complete presentation of the problem by the students, including all available evidence supporting the grievance. As in the step above, students may enlist the assistance of other members of the community.
  2. Following the presentation, the dean will investigate the complaint to determine whether the problem is a legitimate grievance according to the criteria set forth and will inform the student(s) of that decision within 10 working days.
  3. If the dean determines that the problem is a legitimate grievance, the dean will further investigate by gathering additional information from appropriate members of the program.
  4. If the grievance is made against the dean's actions in the exercise of his/her administrative duties, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall perform all the functions of the dean regarding the grievance.
  5. At any point in time during the investigation of the grievance, the dean may make further attempts to resolve the grievance informally. If the dean is unable to resolve the grievance either during or following the investigation process, the dean will then appoint an ad hoc committee of two faculty members and one student to evaluate the merits of the complaint and make findings of fact.
  6. The dean will designate one of the faculty members as chairperson of the ad hoc committee and that chairperson will have the right to vote. A majority vote of the ad hoc committee is required to make an affirmative finding that a complaint has merit.
  7. In appointing the ad hoc committee, the dean will take care not to appoint individuals who are interested parties to the grievance. If students who have brought the complaints have good cause to believe that a given member of the ad hoc committee is unable to be impartial, students may request that the dean disqualify that member. Such disqualification shall be granted only upon the demonstration of good cause. The decision of the dean in this manner will be final.
  8. The decision of the ad hoc grievance committee will be the final decision of the program regarding the grievance. Upon reaching a conclusion, the committee will communicate its findings to the dean who shall implement the actions, if any, recommended by the committee.