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Complaints, Grievances, and Appeals Policy

Policy Number STU-009
Effective Date December 17, 2007
Responsible Office/Person Student Affairs
Related Policies
Additional History
Additional References

Policy Statement
In addition to the Code of Student Conduct, all students will have recourse through a variety of processes and administrative agencies when attempting to resolve complaints.

Purpose
Through the various appeal and grievance processes listed in this document, students are encouraged to resolve complaints through informal methods, when possible, prior to initiating formal complaints and appeals procedures.

Definitions

The following are procedures in place for filing complaints and seeking resolution of perceived problems.

Academic Appeals: Waiver of Academic Regulations
ADA Accommodation Complaints
Grade Appeals
Harassment or Discrimination Complaints
Student Complaints about Public Safety Employees or Services
Student Complaints Regarding Nonacademic Issues
Ombuds Office

Procedures

Academic Appeals:

Unusual and extenuating circumstances may warrant a modification of certain regulations. Students should not request a waiver of any regulations without strong evidence to justify the waiver. Requests for waivers should be made to the Dean of the specific College pertaining to the regulation. A minimum of one month is generally necessary to process academic appeals.

Decisions on requests for a waiver related to student?s major are made by the appropriate department chair in accordance with procedures established by the department or College dean.

ADA Accommodation Complaints

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for the equitable resolution, within a reasonable time of, complaints by students with the disabilities alleging violations of their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (?ADA?) and under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (?Section 504?).

All requests for accommodations or special services should first be brought to the Director of the Center for Access & Success. When students perceive a problem with accommodations or services that have been previously agreed upon, the problem should first be reported to the Director of the Center for Access & Success, Group 1, Room 016 (508-999-8711).

The Director of the Center for Access & Success will investigate the problem and will attempt to resolve any dispute informally. If the problem cannot be resolved informally, the Director will issue a written decision within fifteen (15) working days after receiving the complaint. The Director and the student may mutually agree on the exact extension of time if additional information gathering is necessary.

In the event that you are dissatisfied with the written decision of the Director of the Center for Access & Success, students have the right to fill an ADA Grievance with the University ADA/504 Compliance Officer, Foster Administration, Room 323 (508-910-6405).

A full description of ADA policies, guidelines and forms can be found at:

Procedures for Accommodating Students with Disabilities
ADA Reasonable Accommodation Request Form
ADA Grievance Procedures
ADA Grievance Form
http:// www.umassd.edu/eeo/ada/welcome.cfm

Grade Appeals

Students and faculty should make every effort to resolve questions about grades before seeking a formal grade appeal. Filing a formal Grade Appeal should be the last resort. A grade appeal will be pursued only if there is a valid basis and supporting evidence. The responsibility for developing and presenting the case for changing a grade rests with the student making the appeal. The process is nonjudicial and the same for University of Massachusetts students in all courses. A full description of the procedures involved in a filing a Grade Appeal is available at:

http://www.umassd.edu/studenthandbook/academicregs/grade/appeal.cfm

Harassment of Discrimination Complaints

If the complaint involves alleged harassment or discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or martial or veteran status, students should use procedures administer through the Office of Equal Opportunity, Diversity & Outreach located in Foster Administration, Room 323, (508-910-6405). Acts of harassment or discrimination should be reported immediately to this office for confidential discussion of the alleged acts. Prompt reporting of harassment or discrimination is in the best interest of the entire University community and is essential to a fair, timely and thorough investigation. Accordingly, all complaints must be filed within 180 calendar days of the action that prompts a complaint. A copy of the complaint procedures and filing forms may be obtained at the Office of Equal Opportunity, Diversity & Outreach or online at:

http://www.umassd.edu/eeo/equop/welcome.cfm

Students Complaints about Public Safety Employees or Services

All inquiry or complaint about Public Safety employees or services may be made by letter, telephone, email or in person. Any UMass Dartmouth police officer or dispatcher may accept an initial inquiry or complaint regarding policies or procedures. However, if the inquiry or complaint is about personnel, you should contact the on-duty shift supervisor, who will ensure that your inquiry is directed to the proper authority.

If your inquiry or complaint appears to be based on misunderstanding of acceptable or desired conduct, procedures or practices, the shift supervisor may offer an explanation. If you are not satisfied with the explanation, we will honor your request to have the matter investigated.

You may download the Citizens Response Form to assist you in filing a complaint.

Please complete the form and send it to:

Director of Public Safety Telephone: 508-999-8107
Fax: 508-999-8122
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747

Detailed information about filing a complaint about Public Safety employees it services can be found at:

http://www.umassd.edu/publicsafety/complaint.cfm

Student Complaints Regarding Nonacademic Issues

Students are encouraged to seek resolution of nonacademic problems directly in the unit in question before initiating a formal complaint. If a nonacademic problem can not be resolved informally, the student should contact the Student Affairs Office, Campus Center, Room 221 (508-999-8600) to discuss the nonacademic problem and if needed, procedures for initiating a formal complaint.

Ombudsperson Office

The Ombudsperson Office is available to all members of the University community to help resolve University-related conflicts impartially and without judging, rewarding, or punishing parties. Depending on the problem, the Ombuds Office mediates disputes, facilitates communication, investigates claims of unfair treatment or erroneous procedure, listens, advises, and makes recommendations. The Ombuds Office provides information about and referral to grievance procedures.

Some of the problems with the Ombuds Office can offer advice or assistance to students include: course/degree requirements; grade disputes; grading policy and/practice; allegations of academic dishonesty; sexual, racial, and other types of harassment; delays in services or decisions; conflicts with instructors, employers, or administrative offices; roommate/coworker/classroom conflicts; and other interpersonal disputes.

The Ombudsperson Office is located in Dion, Room 117 (508-910-6892). Although not required, it is best to call to arrange a convenient time for an appointment.

Responsibility
For information about other resources available at the University for resolving complaints, contact the Student Affairs Office (508-999-8600) or the Ombuds Office (508-910-6892). For assistance with academic issues or problems, students should contact the office of their academic Dean.

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