Policies

STUDENT GRIEVANCE POLICY REGARDING DISCRIMINATION

Student Grievance Procedure for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse:

  1. The administration and the Board of Regents recognize the importance of providing a prompt and efficient procedure for fair and equitable resolution of student complaints or grievances alleging discrimination on the basis of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, pregnancy, marital status or parental status.  Accordingly, students are encouraged to use the grievance appeal procedure without fear of prejudice or reprisal for initiating a grievance or participating in its settlement.
  2. Initiation and treatment of a complaint
    1. Any student registered at the University may use the student grievance procedures.
    2. A student who wishes to lodge an allegation of discrimination may inform the Affirmative Action Officer either in writing or orally.  In instances of alleged racial discrimination the grievance may be taken directly to the Affirmative Action Officer or the Minority Affairs Committee.  In these instances:
      1. Grievances brought to the Multicultural Student Services Office will be referred by the Director of Multicultural Student Services to the Affirmative Action Officer.
      2. Grievances brought to a member of the Minority Affairs Committee will be referred to the Affirmative Action Officer.
    3. The Affirmative Action Officer will respect the wishes of the person making the complaint regarding further investigation and will not carry forward a specific allegation without the person's written permission and directive.  At the time of the initial interview, the Affirmative Action Officer will provide a form which the grievant may use and will provide assistance in completing it if necessary.  The grievant will be given a copy of the form at the end of the initial interview.
    4. Complaints may be filed with the Affirmative Action Officer:
      1. At the Affirmative Action Office or
      2. At a mutually agreed upon meeting place.
    5. A log of written grievances will be maintained listing the grievant's name (this information will be coded if confidentiality is requested), the name of the office or unit in which the alleged discrimination occurred, and a short notation of the grievance.  (This log shall be available for periodic review.  In instances of alleged racial discrimination by the Director of Multicultural Student Services a student member of the Student Concerns Committee shall be designated.)
    6. A record of grievances shall be maintained in accordance with legal requirements.
  3. A valid grievance against a member or members of administration, faculty, academic staff, classified staff, or fellow students must be brought within 300 days of the last occurrence.  A record of valid grievances shall be maintained for at least one year.
  4. The Affirmative Action Officer shall make an initial information investigation while maintaining confidentiality and report back to the grievant within ten (10) class days.
    1. The Affirmative Action Officer may determine at this point that a solution can be effected simply by contacting the source of grievance while maintaining the confidentiality of the grievant.
    2. The Affirmative Action Officer shall discuss observation with the grievant and recommend alternatives regarding further action.  At that point:
      1. Grievant may drop the grievance.
      2. Grievant may request further action be delayed ending additional observation and information.
      3. Grievant may request immediate action
        1. Depending on the action to be taken at this point, grievant may relinquish right to confidentiality.
      4. If #3, the Affirmative Action officer shall proceed, as agreed, to contact the subject of grievance, make any further investigation necessary, and discuss his/her recommendation with both parties, within ten (10) class days.
  5. If further action is requested by either part to the grievance, the Affirmative Action Officer shall request an ad hoc Grievance Review Panel to informally review the facts and report its findings, with or without recommendations, to the Chancellor and/or Affirmative Action Officer as soon as practical, but within twenty (20) class days, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
    1. The panel shall be named from a previously approved pool in accordance with procedures adopted by the University.  The membership shall be nondiscriminatorily representative of the student, plaintiff, and Affirmative Action Council.  The presiding officer will be selected by members of the review panel.
    2. During the review process, the panel on its own initiative may seek, through mediation with the parties, mutually satisfactory disposition of the grievance, or may informally urge withdrawal or modification of the complaint by the grievant.
    3. The Grievance Review Panel's informal review of the facts shall not constitute a formal hearing and a formal record of the discussions shall not be made by electronic taping, stenographic notes, or otherwise.  This does not preclude maintaining an informal record of proceedings.
    4. In its report of findings to the Chancellor and/or the Affirmative Action Officer, the panel may indicate whether it believes there are apparent grounds to support the grievance upon which relief may be granted, or whether the complaint is frivolous or too minor to warrant further consideration.
    5. The Chancellor and/or the Affirmative Action Officer shall render a written decision to the grievant no later than ten (10) class days after receiving the Grievance Review Panel's report.
  6. If the matter has not been satisfactorily settled at Step V, the grievant may file with the Chancellor a written request for a review of the matter no later than ten (10) class days after receipt of the university's response at Step V.
    1. Within ten (10) class days, the Chancellor shall designate a hearing officer to serve the Chancellor in an advisory capacity by conducting a hearing on the merits of the complaint after which he or she will make a finding of fact and recommendations to the Chancellor for disposition of the charge of discrimination.
    2. The hearing officer shall conduct a hearing and shall present the finding of fact and recommendations to the Chancellor within fifteen (15) class days unless there are extenuating circumstances.
    3. The hearing officer shall establish the procedure for the evidentiary hearing which shall include the right of all parties to call witnesses and cross-examine witnesses.  The hearing officer also will have the right to rule on objection and procedural questions raised by counsel.
    4. All oral and documentary evidence and all arguments shall be presented in closed hearings.
    5. The Chancellor shall render written decision to the grievant no later than ten (10) class days after receiving the hearing officer's report.  The Chancellor's decision shall be final and binding on all parties.
  7. Records documenting the nature of the complaint, attempts made to resolve it (meetings and hearings), and resolution will be kept on file in the Affirmative Action Office.

STUDENT ACADEMIC NON-GRADE APPEALS

The intention of the following procedures is to maintain a safe and non-threatening environment for students, staff, and faculty at UW-L. Ideally, the mission of a university is to be a community in which the members enhance each other's development, and do not become obstacles to it. In actual practice, this goal is not easy to achieve, and problems occur. The important thing is to treat problems as opportunities and learn how best to address and resolve them. As is clear in the elaboration of steps and processes in this document, problems can be solved by a) facilitating communication between individuals concerned; b) formal appeals to appropriate academic and/or administrative units; c) taking actions on the basis of thorough investigation, discussion, reflection and compassion. In exploring options and courses of action, emphasis must be on the ethical responsibility of each to the other, as well as on the protection of due process rights and individual rights of everyone involved.

The Student Academic Non-grade Appeals process is designed to enable students to initiate and resolve complaints regarding faculty and instructional academic staff behavior. Complaints may be initiated within 90 days of the most recent incident of unprofessional behavior by university faculty and instructional academic staff that impairs students' ability to learn.

Such behavior may include but is not limited to the following situations:

  • habitually not meeting classes,
  • habitually being unprepared for classes,
  • physically or verbally abusing students,
  • being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while conducting classes or other university activities (see Staff Handbook for specific policy on alcohol use on university premises),
  • refusal to accommodate students with special needs.

Note: If the complaint involves sexual harassment, please follow the procedures given in the Eagle Eye Student Handbook.
 

Procedures

Informal Procedures

Any student or group of students who has a complaint about faculty or instructional academic staff behavior is encouraged to resolve the complaint informally. Informal attempts may include but are not limited to:

  • meeting directly with the faculty member and/or instructional academic staff,
  • meeting with the student's advisor,
  • meeting with other faculty members and/or instructional academic staff,
  • meeting with a departmental complaints committee,
  • meeting with the department chair,
  • meeting with any combination of such people.

The intention of such meetings is to clarify misunderstandings or miscommunications that may be the source of the complaint. If for any reason these meetings do not resolve the complaint or if the student chooses not to resolve the complaint using the informal procedures, the student(s) may pursue the formal procedures described below.

Formal Procedures

  1. Initiating a Complaint

    If informal procedures are unsuccessful (or within 90 days of the last incident), a student or group of students who wishes to pursue a complaint should inform the Student Life Office, either orally or in writing.

    The Student Life Office shall:

    1. provide a statement regarding academic freedom and pertinent sections of the "Statement to Improve Undergraduate Education";
    2. advise the student(s) about the Formal Procedures for Student Academic Non-grade Appeals;
    3. maintain current information on procedures and bodies handling complaints in all academic departments;
    4. instruct the student to initiate the complaint by meeting with the chair of the department to which the faculty or instructional academic staff member is assigned or, if appropriate, with a departmental complaint committee. In the case that the complaint is lodged against the department chair and there is no appropriate committee or group within the department to bring the complaint to, the instructions shall be to meet with the dean of the college in which the department chair is assigned;
    5. assist the student(s) in scheduling the meeting with the department chair or the departmental complaint committee, if one is available, or dean if the complaint is lodged against the department chair and there is no group within the department to receive the complaint; and
    6. serve as an advisor to the student(s), as necessary, throughout the complaint process, keeping a confidential, written record of interactions with the student(s).
  2. Discovery Stage of the Complaint

    In the meeting, the chair or departmental complaint committee (or dean, in the case when the complaint is against a department chair and there is no departmental committee) shall collect information from the student(s) making the complaint and explain all the appropriate procedures and options to complainant. If a complaint is to be pursued, the chair or committee (or dean) who has received a complaint will inform the accused party of the nature of the complaint lodged, concealing the identity of the complainant (if that is desired) and seek approaches to mediation and resolution. Any attempt to penalize or in any way retaliate against a person bringing a complaint is prohibited and will be treated as a separate incident to be reviewed in its own right.

    The goal of the discovery state is to clarify misunderstandings and miscommunications and establish what actions (if any) may be legitimate sources of complaint.. The wishes of the student(s) making the complaint shall be respected regarding further investigation. A specific complaint shall not be carried forward without the complainant(s)'s explicit written permission and instruction. 

    If a complaint is resolved at the Discovery stage, no formal record will be retained in the faculty or instructional academic staff personnel file.

  3. Mediation Stage of the Complaint

    This stage will involve:

    1. separate confidential meetings(s) of the department chair or committee (or dean), with the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is filed, or
    2. joint confidential meeting(s) with the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is filed and the department chair or committee (or dean).

    The goal of the Mediation Stage is conciliation. When these meetings are completed, the complainant will be asked to decide whether s/he is satisfied with the results or wishes to move to the Hearing stage of the complaint.

    If a complaint is resolved at the Mediation stage, no formal record will be retained in the faculty or instructional academic staff personnel file.

  4. Hearing Stage of the Complaint

    If the Mediation Stage does not result in a satisfactory resolution of the problem, then the complainant will be referred to the Executive Director of Human Resources who will assist the complainant in filing a complaint with the Complaints, Grievances, Appeals and Academic Freedom Committee (CGAAF Committee). If the person lodging the allegation wishes to postpone such a confrontation, the CGAAF Committee will set a time-limit which appears reasonable, depending upon the circumstances and reasons given. The formal hearing proceeding may be terminated by mutual agreement of the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is filed at any step. Either party may seek the help of legal counsel at any stage of the hearing.

    1. Complaint

      The complainant must file a written complaint using the petition form available in each dean's office and in the Student Life Office.

      1. The Petition

        The petition, once completed by the complainant, shall provide:

        1. the complainant's name;
        2. the respondent's name;
        3. a brief statement of the problem and a detailed list of alleged actions or behaviors that are the basis of the complaint;
        4. additional information such as statements by witnesses and other documentation that supports the complainant's allegations;
        5. a summary of the outcomes of the informal procedures (if pursued) and the formal procedures prior to this point; and
        6. (optionally) a statement of the desired outcome(s) of the hearing.
      2. Receipt of Petition and Duties of the Executive Director for Human Resources
      3. The completed petition shall be submitted to the Executive Director for Human Resources. The Executive Director shall review the contents of the petition with the complainant(s). This information shall be forwarded to the chairperson of the CGAAF Committee, who is responsible for scheduling the hearing.

    2. Time Lines

      The CGAAF Committee shall proceed with the petition using its operating rules for processing and hearing complaints. The rules are available from the Faculty Senate Office, 323 Graff Main Hall and at http://www.uwlax.edu/FacultySenate/committees/CGAAF/Complaints.htm

APPEAL OF FINAL GRADE

All departments must establish policies and procedures which enable students to appeal final grades.  These policies and procedures must outline the progression of a formal appeal and specify who, if anyone, is empowered to change a final grade.  All appeals for a final grade change must be initiated in writing through the department in question during the semester immediately following the semester in which the grade was earned.  A copy of each department's policies and procedures must be filed in the office of the appropriate dean.

ANTI-HAZING POLICY

We, the Organizations Committee of UW-L, hereby assert unequivocally our opposition to hazing and pre-initiation activities which do not contribute to the positive development and welfare of organization members.  With this regard in mind, we define hazing as any action taken or situation created intentionally, whether on or off our university premises, with or without consent, to produce excessive physical fatigue, embarrassment, or public ridicule or possibly cause mental or physical harm or injury. Such activities and situations include: paddling in any form; physical and psychological shocks; publicly wearing apparel which is not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts or other activities which may be harmful to the image of the university and the club; morally degrading or humiliating activities, including eating and swallowing of any food or beverage or any activity that might violate any local, state, or federal law; late work sessions which interfere with scholastic activities; and any other activities which are not consistent with the organization's by-laws, ritual, or policy or the regulations and policies of the university.

Violations of this policy will be dealt with judiciously by the respective governing bodies or the Student Activities Committee when no other governing body exists.  (adopted 9-17-68, revised 4-14-82).