Grievance Procedure for Graduate Studies
Establish procedure for hearing grievances arising within the Office of Graduate Studies
Graduate Students having grievances with the Office of Graduate Studies.
Pursuant to Article XII of the University Senate Code and Articles V and VI of the University Senate Rules and Regulations of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, the Office of Graduate Studies establishes the following procedure to hear grievances arising within the Office of Graduate Studies. This procedure shall not be used to hear disputes assigned to other hearing bodies under USRR Article VI, Section 4.
For disputes involving alleged academic misconduct or alleged violations of student rights, the initial hearing normally will be at the unit level. There is an option to hold an initial hearing at the Judicial Board level if both parties agree, or either party petitions the Judicial Board chair to have the hearing at the Judicial Board level and the petition is granted. The petition must state why a fair hearing cannot be obtained at the unit level; the opposing party has an opportunity to respond to the petition (USRR 126.96.36.199).
Except as provided in USRR 6.5.4, no person shall be disciplined for using the grievance procedure or assisting another in using the grievance procedure.
The Office of Graduate Studies shall provide a copy of this procedure to anyone who requests it.
- To start the grievance process, the complainant must submit a written grievance to the Office of Graduate Studies. The complaint shall contain a statement of the facts underlying the complaint and specify the provision(s) of the Faculty Code of Conduct, University Senate Code, the University Senate Rules and Regulations, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, or other applicable rule, policy, regulation, or law allegedly violated. The complaint shall also indicate the witnesses or other evidence relied on by the complaining party, and copies of any documents relevant to the complaint shall be attached to the complaint.
- At the time the complaint is submitted to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies, the complaining party shall provide a copy of the complaint, with accompanying documents, to the respondent(s).
- Upon receipt of the complaint, the Office of Graduate Studies shall contact the respondent to verify that the respondent has received a copy of the complaint and to provide the respondent with a copy of these procedures.
- Pursuant to University Senate Code XII, a respondent has the privilege of remaining silent and refusing to give evidence in response to a complaint. The respondent also has the right to respond and give evidence in response to the complaint.
- The respondent shall submit a written response to the Office of Graduate Studies within 14 calendar days of receiving the complaint. The response shall contain the respondent's statement of the facts underlying the dispute as well as any other defenses to the allegations in the complaint. The response shall also identify the witnesses or other evidence relied on by the respondent and shall include copies of any documents relevant to the response. The respondent shall provide a complete copy of the response to the complaining party.
- Upon receipt of the response, the Office of Graduate Studies shall contact the complaining party to verify that a copy of the response has been provided.
- Upon receiving the complaint and response, or if the respondent fails to respond within the 14-day time period, the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies shall appoint a committee to consider the complaint. The committee members shall be disinterested parties who have not had previous involvement in the specific situation forming the basis of the complaint.
- Pursuant to USRR 6. 8.4.2, the chair of the committee may contact other hearing bodies within the University to determine whether a grievance or complaint involving the underlying occurrence or events is currently pending before or has been decided by any other hearing body.
- Time limits. To use this procedure, the complainant must file the written complaint with the Office of Graduate Studies within six months from the action or event that forms the basis of the complaint. The six-month time period shall be calculated using calendar days (including weekends and days during which classes are not in session).
- Upon receiving the complaint, if the chair of the committee determines that any of the following grounds exist, the committee chair may recommend to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies that the complaint be dismissed without further proceedings. The grounds for such dismissal are:
- the grievance or another grievance involving substantially the same underlying occurrence or events has already been, or is being, adjudicated by proper University procedures;
- the grievance has not been filed in a timely fashion;
- the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter or any of the parties;
- the grievance fails to allege a violation of a University rule;
- the party filing the grievance lacks standing because the complainant has not suffered a distinct injury as a result of the challenged conduct and has not been empowered to bring the complaint on behalf of the University; or
- the party filing the grievance has been denied the right to file grievances pursuant to USRR 6.5.4.
- If the chair of the committee determines that a grievance on its face properly should be heard by another body, the chair will recommend that the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies send the grievance to the appropriate hearing body without further proceedings in the Office of Graduate Studies. The Vice Provost of Graduate Studies will send a copy of the referral to the complainant(s) and any responding parties.
- Prior to scheduling a hearing, the parties shall participate in mediation of the dispute unless either party waives mediation. Mediation shall be governed by USRR 6.2.3.
- If mediation is successful, the mediator will forward to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies, the committee chair, and all parties a letter describing the outcome of the mediation and the terms upon which the parties have agreed to resolve the dispute. This letter shall be a recommendation to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies. The Vice Provost of Graduate Studies will notify the mediator, the committee chair, and the parties that the recommendation has been accepted, modified, or rejected.
- If mediation is not successful, the mediator will notify the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies, the committee chair, and the parties that mediation has terminated. If mediation is not successful, or if it is waived by either party, the grievance committee will schedule a hearing no later than 30 calendar days from the written submission of the complaint. The 30-day period may be extended for good cause as determined by the chair of the committee. The 30-day period shall be suspended during the mediation process. The hearing will be closed unless all parties agree that it shall be public.
- All parties may represent themselves or be represented by an advisor or counsel of their choice.
- Each party has the right to introduce all relevant testimony and documents if the documents have been provided with the complaint or response.
- Each party shall be entitled to question the other party's witnesses. The committee may question all witnesses.
- Witnesses other than parties shall leave the hearing room when they are not testifying.
- The chair of the committee shall have the right to place reasonable time limits on each party's presentation.
- The chair of the committee shall have the authority and responsibility to keep order, rule on questions of evidence and relevance, and shall possess other reasonable powers necessary for a fair and orderly hearing.
- The hearing shall not be governed by the rules of evidence, but the chair of the committee may exclude information that the chair deems irrelevant, unnecessary, or duplicative. Statements or admissions made as part of the mediation process are not admissible.
- The committee will make an audiotape of the hearing but not of the deliberations of the committee. The audiotape will be available to the parties, their authorized representatives, the committee, and the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies. If a party desires a copy of the audiotape or a transcript of the tape, that party will pay for the cost of such copy or transcript. In the event of an appeal, the audiotape will be provided to the appellate body as part of the record of the case.
- After the presentation of evidence and arguments, the committee will excuse the parties and deliberate. The committee's decision will be a written recommendation to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies. The committee shall base its recommendations solely upon the information presented at the hearing.
- The committee will send its written recommendation to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies and the parties as soon possible and no later than 14 calendar days after the end of the hearing.
- Within 14 calendar days of receiving the committee recommendation, the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies will notify the parties of the acceptance, modification, or rejection of the recommendation. The Vice Provost of Graduate Studies will advise the parties of the procedure available to appeal the decision.
These procedures are not available to unclassified professional staff and university support staff who wish to grieve about employment-related issues such as performance of responsibilities, leaves and other related personnel matters as determined by the Department of Human Resource Management. Such grievances are heard under the Grievance Procedure for Staff.
Office of Graduate Studies
06/25/2020: Changed Dean of Graduate Studies to Vice Provost of Graduate Studies.
05/10/2019: Updated Related Procedures section
01/17/2018: Updated to reflect new staff grievance procedure.
07/20/2016: Updated University Senate Code Article reference number.
06/07/2016: Technical edits to comply with gender neutralization decision and guidelines. - ARG
08/06/2014: The Grievance Procedures for Graduate Studies was posted as a new document in the Policy Library (not a revision of the previous document, Grievance Procedures for Research and Graduate Studies).
07/25/2014: Revised due to the dissolution of Research and Graduate Studies; the Office of Graduate Studies created a new version of the Grievance Procedures, which was then reviewed and approved by the Office of the General Counsel.
07/01/2013: Updated contact information.