Grievance Policy

Complaint procedure, and grievance policy for students.
Approved by vote October 2022


First Year & Pre-Major Programs (FYPP) holds the faculty/staff and student relationship to be paramount. We feel that dynamic helps promote learning and development in a safe, supportive, and open environment. Therefore, we’ve designed the following policies and procedures to aid you as a student—in conjunction with faculty and staff—in resolving non-academic concerns in a timely and transparent manner with the goal of working toward a resolution to cultivate a productive and positive learning environment.

As a student, if you feel you’ve experienced inequitable treatment, inappropriate behavior, and/or a substantive injustice according to university policy, in the course of a FYPP class you may seek resolution of your complaint under this procedure (or a different process, if your situation is more applicable). FYPP classes include, but are not limited to, Discovery Core Experience classes (BCORE), composition classes (BWRIT), language classes (BSPAN or BJAPAN), leadership classes (BLEAD), general education classes (BCUSP), and data studies classes (BDATA).

Like any formal complaint in any context, we recognize that following a process like this may feel overwhelming or confusing. Therefore, if you need additional guidance, or have questions, feel free to reach out to the FYPP Academic Advisors ( They can help you navigate this process. Additionally, the University Ombud or staff may also be consulted at any point (

Moreover, while not required and/or an official part of the process, please contact or consult the following resources, if you feel like talking with someone first. Regardless of whether or not you choose to go forward with the grievance process, the following resources can help you:

Counseling Center: /student-affairs/counseling 
Victim Advocacy and Support: /violence-prevention 
Health & Wellness Resource Center (HaWRC): /arc/hawrc Office of the Ombud:

Identify Which Procedure Fits

The university has different procedures for different situations. We know this can be confusing. The procedure on this page is to help students resolve complaints related to potential university policy violations from faculty or staff. However, it’s possible your situation may be more connected to one of the following situations, which we’ve linked to their specific processes:


  1. If you feel you need to contest an individual grade, please refer to the FYPP Grade Appeal Policy at /premajor/academic-advising/grade-appeal-policy
  1. If you feel you’ve experienced discrimination, please refer to the Resolution of Complaints against University Employees Procedure (UW Administrative Policy Statement 46.3) at
  1. If you’re concerned about potential involvement in disciplinary proceedings for misconduct, including plagiarism and cheating, please refer to the Student Conduct Code at /studentaffairs/studentconduct

If you feel your situation doesn’t fit one of these procedures, then either please reach out, or continue on.


The goal of quick and informal resolution is to resolve the issues in a timely manner, so we suggest complaints should be brought to our attention within ten business days of the precipitating cause and/or event. We also understand, given what has occurred, that this may not be easy to report. Thus, please know that our “ten business day” guideline is to encourage you and enable us to investigate actions quickly, in hopes of reconciliation, not to add undue pressure to you as a student. Please know that per University of Washington policy (46.3) you have up until 365 days from when the incident occurred to file a formal complaint.

Complaint Procedure

Step 1: Discussion between Student and Faculty/Staff

We first encourage you to attempt to resolve the complaint directly, in a face-to-face conversation, with the faculty/staff member. This is optional. We believe that talking with a faculty/staff member can be a beneficial process for students and faculty/staff members. A faculty/staff member may not know about your or any student’s struggles.If you feel resolution can be found by talking with the faculty/staff member, we encourage this consideration. Students choosing to do so, should make an appointment and state that the purpose is to discuss a complaint. As emails can be considered public documents, we recommend writing the letter using the following template and sending it to the faculty/staff member either as an attachment or copy and pasted into the body of the e-mail. You may invite an additional person to be present during the discussion. If you do invite someone, please indicate that choice in your letter. Please know that by inviting an additional person to the discussion, you are giving them permission to observe the discussion. However, you are not giving them permission to discuss your situation outside of the meeting with anyone else, including with the faculty/staff member. The faculty/staff member may also request to have an additional person present. While this can be helpful, you do not have to consent to this request. Remember, the aim of the meeting is to seek recourse or resolution, if you feel that is possible. If not, or if you feel the discussion did not address your concerns, please see the next step.

Step 2: Discussion among Student, Faculty/Staff, and the Associate Vice Chancellor of FYPP

If the discussion between the student and the faculty/staff member does not resolve the issue—or if the circumstances of the complaint make direct discussion inappropriate—you may contact the Associate Vice Chancellor of FYPP (or AVC for short) to assist in facilitating a resolution. The student should request a meeting by email and state the basic purpose of the meeting. You may use a template letter. For your reference, once they’ve received the letter, the AVC will first obtain additional information from both parties (the student and the faculty/staff member) and then convene a discussion to achieve resolution or recourse. Again, you may invite an additional person to attend the discussion, which would give that person permission to observe the discussion, but not permission to communicate with the AVC or the faculty/staff member outside of the meeting). The faculty/staff member may request to invite an additional person, or the AVC might request to invite a FYPP Academic Advisor or a representative from the Office of the Ombud ( to assist with an informal resolution through discussion. Again, you do not have to consent to the addition of any additional parties to the discussion. Disputes resolved through informal discussion need no documentation.

Please Note: given that FYPP works with faculty from other schools (e.g. School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, School of STEM, School of Business, etc.) it’s possible that the AVC recommends you to follow that particular’s school’s process and/or speaks with someone in an equivalent role there about your complaint rather than continue with filing Formal Grievance through FYPP.

Step 3: Formal Grievance Procedure

If you are dissatisfied with the informal discussion process you may file a formal written grievance within 10 business days of the conclusion of the attempted informal discussion process.

Part 1: Formal Grievance Submission by Student

Students must submit a written summary of the grievance and request an appointment with the Associate Vice Chancellor of FYPP (AVC). Here is a suggested template to follow for the email and report, you should attach to the email you send the AVC. Please know that the AVC will then send a copy to the person (or persons) concerned in the complaint. They may also have to send a copy to a FYPP Academic Advisor to be placed in your file (this is only for reference and does not impact your academic status). The AVC will meet with the student to understand the student’s continuing dissatisfaction and discuss options for proceeding. Upon request of the student, the AVC will establish a Grievance Committee to review the complaint.

Part 2: Resolution by the Grievance Committee

The Grievance Committee will consist of at least two faculty members and one representative drawn from and/or recommended by FYPP Academic Oversight Committee (AOC). The additional representative may either be a third FYPP faculty member, a FYPP staff member, or student who works closely with FYPP AOC. Other faculty, staff, or students may be selected if members are not available or are parties to the grievance. The AVC has 10 business days to form and notify committee members.

The committee will convene to review the written grievance, gather additional information, and 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.

Before making a final decision, the Grievance Committee should consider the following:

  1. Does the Committee have sufficient, reliable, and material evidence to be able to make an informed decision?
  2. Has the Committee’s decision-making process been unduly influenced by immaterial, misleading, or unsupported evidence?
  3. Are there any procedural irregularities (i.e. these rules or policies not followed) that might materially affect the Committee’s decision?
  4. Are there any conflicts, bias, or outside influence (or the appearance thereof) that might materially affect the Committee’s decision?

The committee will normally complete a review of the grievance and issue a decision on the situation in writing within 45 business days from initial Committee formation. All reasonable measures will be taken to finalize the process as soon as practicable. When a decision is reached, it is considered final as far as FYPP is concerned. 

You, as the student submitting the complaint, will be informed via email what steps have been or will be taken to address the grievance, the outcome, the reasons for the decision, and further avenues for appeal.

University policies that guide this policy