IAS Grievance and Complaint Policy and Procedure
The School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences upholds values that include institutional responsiveness, and social justice, diversity, and equity. Our internal and informal resolution and conciliation procedures aim to aid students, faculty, and staff in resolving concerns about unfair treatment in the conduct of academic or university policies or practices. The goal of these procedures is to address problems and inappropriate behavior quickly and directly; to work toward a reasonable resolution; and to promote a productive and positive learning environment.
What is a grievance or complaint?
A grievance or complaint is an allegation of unfair treatment, inappropriate behavior, or substantive injustice in the conduct of academic or university policy, practice, or business.
**Please note: complaints regarding the following have their own specific procedures and/or agencies:
- Grade appeal
- Student conduct, including plagiarism and cheating
- Parking citations
- Actions or practices of the university that are the result of UW system-wide requirements, i.e., student fees
What is the IAS policy and procedure for local complaints that involve IAS faculty or staff members?
Students may consult with the appropriate academic advisor in navigating this process, who will assist students in understanding the procedures outlined below and identifying the best way to proceed. For undergraduates, contact the IAS Lead Academic Advisor to make an appointment. For graduate students, contact the Graduate Programs Manager and Advisor to make an appointment.
All conversations and records relating to grievances will be treated as confidential.
Step 1: Informal Resolution
Students are encouraged, wherever possible, to resolve concerns or difficulties informally and directly in a face-to-face conversation with the person(s) concerned. Either the student or the person(s) involved may request another person to be present during this discussion. Persons appropriate to this intermediary role could include another faculty member, an IAS Advisor, or other University staff member. Most conflicts can be resolved at this stage.
Particular circumstances may warrant an exception to this step, in which case direct pursuit of a Formal Grievance under Step 2 may be necessary.
Step 2: Preparing a Formal Grievance
If attempts at informal resolution are not successful, or if circumstances make discussion inappropriate with the person(s) most directly involved, then the student should meet with the Lead Advisor (undergraduate students) or Graduate Program Advisor (graduate students) to clarify the outcome that the student hopes to achieve, prior to preparing a formal grievance in writing. The formal grievance should be submitted by the student in writing to the Dean, and copied to the Lead Advisor or Graduate Program Advisor as appropriate, and the person(s) concerned in the complaint. This written record will be treated as confidential and retained in the student’s advising file.
Step 3: Mediation by the Dean
Receipt of the student’s formal grievance will be acknowledged in writing, and the review process will commence within 10 working days of its receipt.
The Dean or their designee will obtain all information gathered from all involved parties and in undertaking this review, may request a response to the issues raised in the grievance from any individuals believed to have information considered relevant to the situation, including faculty, staff, and students.
The review by the Dean or their designee will usually be limited to the following considerations:
- Were the proper facts and criteria brought to bear on the decision? Were improper or extraneous facts or criteria brought to bear that substantially affected the decision to the detriment of the student?
- Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the student?
- Given the proper facts, criteria, and procedures, was the decision one which a person in the position of the decision maker might reasonably have made?
The Dean or their designee should normally complete a review of the appeal and issue a decision on the situation in writing within 45 days. That decision is final. All reasonable measures will be taken to finalize the process as soon as practicable.
The student will be informed what steps have been or will be taken to address the grievance, the outcome, the reasons for the decision, and further avenues for appeal.
Faculty or staff complaints
Faculty and staff members are encouraged to resolve concerns and difficulties with other university employees directly in face-to-face conversation with the person(s) concerned. Any person involved may request another person of their choosing (see Resources below) to be present during this discussion. If resolution is not achieved, complaints against other university employees should be brought to the appropriate supervisor, or, if the supervisor is the source of the conflict, with the administrative head of the employing organization (faculty should first contact the Dean; staff should first contact their manager, and then appeal to the Dean). Complaints can also be referred to the appropriate human resources office (see Resources below).
Timeframe for complaints
Because the aim of local resolution and informal conciliation is responsiveness, complaints should be brought to the attention of the involved parties or their supervisors promptly, within ten days of the exciting cause. Note that formal complaints lodged through other offices have prescribed time periods.
What other university resources may students, faculty, staff, and leadership enlist in hearing and resolving complaints?
- For guidance, mediation, and consultation: Office of the Ombud or UW Bothell Office of Organizational Excellence & Human Resources
- For formal complaints against UW employees: University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO)
- For formal complaints related to Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, LGBTQ Protection, Relationship & Dating Violence, Pregnancy & Parenting, or Stalking: Title IX at UW Bothell
- For formal complaints against UW students: Division of Student Affairs
- For graduate students: UW Graduate School Academic Grievance
- For employees: Campus Human Resources and Academic Human Resources
- Other Helpful links and related subjects
University policies that guide this IAS Grievance and Complaint Policy and Procedure
- Non-Discrimination and Non-Retaliation Policies (Executive Order 31) University policy has the goal of promoting an environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. University policy prohibits retaliation against those reporting concerns regarding discrimination, cooperating with any investigation of discrimination, or participating in the complaint investigation process.
- Administrative Policy Statements 46.3 (Resolution of Complaints Against University Employees) This policy statement describes the processes individuals may use to lodge complaints about the behavior of University of Washington employees or appointees.
- Administrative Policy Statement 11.7 (Policy on Domestic Violence in the Workplace and Leave Related to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking) This policy is adopted in accordance with Chapter 49.76 RCW and the Governor's Executive Order 96-05 and applies to all University of Washington employees regardless of appointment type.
- UW Graduate School Academic Grievance Procedure, Memorandum 33 Graduate students who believe they have been subjected to unfair treatment in the administration of academic policies may seek resolution of their complaints under this Academic Grievance Procedure.