Grievance Procedures

Grievance Procedures

The purpose of this procedure is to afford graduate students in the Ph.D. Program in Health Policy an opportunity to resolve complaints about dismissal from graduate standing, placement on probationary status, denial of readmission to the same program, and other administrative or academic decisions that terminate or otherwise impeded progress toward academic degree goals. This procedure may also be used to resolve disputes over joint authorship of research in accordance with the campus-wide joint authorship policy which the Ph.D. program has chosen to adopt (attached).

The scope of this procedure is limited to the matters listed above, and excludes complaints regarding denial of admission to a program different from the one the student originally pursued, student records, grades in courses of instruction, student employment, student discipline, and auxiliary student services (such as housing, child care, etc.). This procedure may not be used for complaints regarding actions based solely on faculty evaluation of the academic quality of a student’s performance, or decanal evaluation of a student’s appropriate academic progress, unless the complaint alleges that the actions were influenced by non-academic criteria.


A student may pursue informal resolution of a complaint by scheduling a meeting with the Head Graduate Advisor to discuss the complaint and explore possible avenues of resolution. If informal resolution is pursued, it must be initiated, and should be completed, within 30 days. At any point in this process, if a satisfactory solution cannot be reached, the students may initiate formal resolution by submitting the complaint in writing.


A written complaint must include information regarding the action being complained of and the date it occurred, the grounds upon which the appeal is based, and the relief requested. The complaint must be based on one or more of the following grounds:

  • Procedural error or violation of official policy by academic or administrative personnel;
  • Judgments improperly based upon non-academic criteria including, but not limited to, discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, race, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability;
  • Specific mitigating circumstances beyond the student’s control not properly taken into account in a decision affecting the student’s academic progress.

A written complaint must be received by the Head Graduate Advisor within 30 days from the time the subject knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action that is the subject of the complaint. The department should complete its investigation and notify the student of the outcome of the complaint within 60 days of the date it was received.

If the complaint is about an action taken by the Head Graduate Advisor, the complainant may elect to take the case directly to the Health Services and Policy Analysis Executive Committee. In such a case, the time limits set out in the preceding paragraph still apply.

The time frame for filing a written complaint may be extended by the department if the student has been involved in continuing efforts toward informal resolution, and the informal resolution process was initiated within 30 days of the time the student knew or could have reasonably be expected to have known of the action that is the subject of the complaint. All time frames referred to in this procedure refer to calendar days. Summer and inter-semester recesses are not included within these time frames.

Upon receipt of a written receipt, the Head Graduate Advisor will assign an individual (or appropriate departmental academic advisory committee to ad hoc committee) to investigate the complaint and make a recommendation to the Head Graduate Advisor regarding the outcome of the complaint. The investigation will include an interview with the complainant, witnesses (i.e., interviews or written statements or documents). The Head Graduate Advisor will notify the student in writing of the outcome of the complaints. A written complaint under this procedure satisfies the requirement of a unit level resolution process pursuant to the Graduate Appeal Procedure.


If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint under the department’s procedure, he or she may bring the complaint to the Formal Appeal Procedure of the Graduate Appeal Procedure. The formal appeal must be received in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate Division, 424 Sproul Hall, within 15 days of the date of the written notification of the result of the unit level procedure.

The Graduate Appeal Procedure is downloadable (

Also downloadable is the Graduate Appeal Form (


If the complaint involves allegations of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, race, national origin, color, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, the department should consult the appropriate campus compliance officers prior to commencing informal or formal resolution. For more information, contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination at (510) 643-7985,