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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Grievance Procedures

AOS Handbook: Grievance Procedures

Grievance Procedures

If a student feels unfairly treated or aggrieved by faculty, staff, or another student, the University offers several avenues to resolve the grievance. Students’ concerns about unfair treatment are best handled directly with the person responsible for the objectionable action. If the student is uncomfortable making direct contact with the individual(s) involved, they should contact the advisor, department graduate chair, department chair, or a trusted staff member.

  • Procedures for proper accounting of student grievances:
  • The student is encouraged to speak first with the person toward whom the grievance is directed to see if a situation can be resolved at this level.
  • Should a satisfactory resolution not be achieved, the student should contact the program’s Director of Graduate Study to discuss the grievance. The Director of Graduate study will facilitate problem resolution through informal channels and facilitate any complaints or issues of students. The first attempt is to help students informally address the grievance prior to any formal complaint. Students are also encouraged to talk with their faculty advisors regarding concerns or difficulties if necessary. University resources for sexual harassment, discrimination, disability accommodations, and other related concerns can be found on the UW <a href=""target="_new">Office of Equity and Diversity</a>.
  • Other campus resources include
  • If the issue is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction the student can submit the grievance to the Department Chair in writing, within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  • On receipt of a written complaint, a faculty committee will be convened to manage the grievance. The program faculty committee will obtain a written response from the person toward whom the complaint is directed. This response will be shared with the person filing the grievance.
  • The faculty committee will determine a decision regarding the grievance. The Department Chair will report on the action taken by the committee in writing to both the student and the party toward whom the complaint was directed within 15 working days from the date the complaint was received.
  • At this point, if either party (the student or the person toward whom the grievance is directed) is unsatisfied with the decision of the faculty committee, the party may file a written appeal. Either party has 10 working days to file a written appeal to the School/College.
  • Documentation of the grievance will be stored for at least 7 years. Significant grievances that set a precedent will be stored indefinitely.

The Graduate School has procedures for students wishing to appeal a grievance decision made at the school/college level.  These policies are described in the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures.