IV. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES AND SPECIAL PROBLEMS
- Statement of Policy
The University of Delaware does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation in its programs and activities as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The following people have been designated to handle various inquiries:
- For inquiries regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and related statutes and regulations: Anne Jannarone, Director, Office of Disabilities Support Services, 119 Alison Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-4643.
- For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and to serve as the overall campus coordinator for purposes of Title IX compliance: Susan L. Groff, Director, Institutional Equity and Title IX Coordinator, 305 Hullihen Hall, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-8065. The following individuals have been designated as deputy Title IX coordinators:
- For undergraduate students: Adam Cantley, Associate Dean of Students, 101 Hullihen Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-8939
- For graduate students: Mary Martin, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education, 234 Hullihen Hall, Newark, DE, 19716, 302-831-8916;
- For Athletics: Richard Stumpf, Associate Director-Compliance, Intercollegiate Athletics, Bob Carpenter Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-0833; and
- For faculty: Matthew Kinservik, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Hullihen Hall, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-2793.
- For Inquiries concerning Title VI and VII compliance: Office of Equity and Inclusion, 305 Hullihen Hall, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-8063.
- For Inquiries concerning compliance with the Age Discrimination Act or Age Discrimination in Employment Act: Patricia Fogg, Director, Labor and Employee Relations, 413 Academy St., Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-1102.
- Development of Grievances
The student grievance procedure was established during the 1976-77 academic year, in part as a response to guidelines established by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare related to non-discrimination on the basis of sex (Title IX). University procedure states that "if a University of Delaware student alleges that he or she has been grieved because of perceived discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or handicap, or because a faculty member or University official failed to follow established procedure, the student may utilize the student grievance procedure."
- Categories of Grievances
Student grievance complaints generally fall into four categories:
- Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") complaints: a claim that alleges any actions prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. ß 12101, et. seq.
- Grade complaints: a claim that an inappropriate grade has been assigned because of a faculty memberís bias or failure to follow an established standard for assigning a grade. A grade complaint may not be based solely on a claim that a faculty member exercised allegedly erroneous academic judgment (i.e., a student may not complain that class standards are too high, reading is too heavy, the grade curve too low, and so on).
- Harassment complaints: a claim that alleges any instance of abuse, ill-treatment, or exploitation involving the irresponsible or unjust misuse of a position of authority, power, or trust.
- Other grievances not described above.
- Grievance Process Does Not Replace the Student Conduct Process
The rights and procedures established here do not replace or supersede the Student Conduct System. A pending ADA, grade or other grievance made by a student does not halt any ongoing Student Conduct System process involving that student.
- Grievance Procedures
- ADA Grievance Complaints
The ADA grievance procedure is as follows:
- All ADA complaints shall be submitted to the University ADA Coordinator or, in the event that the complaint alleges a violation by the Director of Disability Services, to the Provost (or designee.) In that event, all references here to the ADA Coordinator shall mean the Provost or the Provost's designee.
- All complaints must be filed in writing, must contain the name and address of the complainant, and must describe the alleged violation.
- The complaint must be filed within 90 calendar days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation.
- The University will conduct an informal investigation, affording all interested persons and their representatives with notice and an opportunity to be heard and to submit relevant information.
- A written decision on the complaint and a description of the proposed resolution, if any, will be issued by the ADA Coordinator no later than 15 business days after the complaint’s submission.
- The ADA Coordinator will, subject to University procedures and any applicable laws or regulations, maintain the files and records relating to the complaint.
- If the student wishes to appeal the ADA Coordinator’s written determination or proposed resolution, the student may appeal within 15 business days of the date on which the determination was sent. The appeal request must be in writing, describe the basis for the appeal, and be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students.
- A written decision on the appeal, and a description of the resolution, if any, will be issued by the Dean of Students no later than 15 business days after its submission. The determination of the Dean of Students shall be final and binding.
- Grade Grievance and Other Related Academic Complaints
The procedure to file a grade grievance and other related academic complaint is as follows:
- A student with a complaint should, where appropriate, first try to reach agreement with the faculty member. This concern will be forwarded to the faculty member, in writing, within 10 business days of the end of the semester. Upon being notified of a student complaint, the faculty member must meet with the student to discuss the complaint within 10 business days.
- If the faculty member does not meet with the student within 10 business days, or if such a meeting would be inappropriate under the circumstances, or if the issue remains unresolved after a meeting between the student and the faculty member, the student may submit a written appeal to the faculty member’s department chairperson (or designee), who will attempt to mediate the complaint. If the student does not know the faculty member’s department, or cannot ascertain the department chairperson, the student should contact the Office of the Dean of Students (if an undergraduate student) and the Office of the Assistant Provost for Graduate and Professional Education (if a graduate student). The appeal must be submitted within 5 business days of the meeting between the student and the faculty member.
- The department chair (or designee) must issue a written decision on the appeal and a description of the proposed resolution, if any, no later than 15 business days after its submission.
- A student may appeal a decision by the department chair (or designee) to the dean of the college in which the department is organized. If requested, the department chair (or designee) shall provide the name and contact information for the appropriate dean to the student. This appeal request must be submitted no more than 5 business days after the date on which the department chair’s decision was sent.
- The dean will select the members of the hearing panel within 15 business days of receiving the appeal or, if that is too close to the end of a semester or session, within 15 days after the beginning of the next semester. This hearing panel shall consist of 5 members, 3 faculty members and 2 students. Of the faculty members, only 1 may be from the same department as the faculty member in question. The other 2 faculty members shall be drawn from other departments within that college or, if the college has too few departments, from other colleges. Of the student members, both must be either undergraduate students (if the student submitting the grievance is an undergraduate) or graduate students (if the student submitting the grievance is a graduate student.) Neither of the student members may be enrolled in the department of the faculty member in question.
- The hearing panel shall:
- Select the date, time and location of the hearing and notify the student and faculty member of this information.
- Make available to the student and faculty member, at least 5 business days prior to the hearing, all material that has been furnished to the hearing panel and the names of any witnesses who may give testimony.
- Provide the student and faculty member with the opportunity to hear all testimony and examine all documents or other materials presented to the hearing panel.
- Provide the student and faculty member with the opportunity to question each witness.
- Allow the student and faculty member each to be assisted by an advisor of their choice from among the members of the University community. The advisor may help prepare the presentation before the hearing panel, raise questions during the hearing, and, if appropriate, help prepare an appeal. A department chair who has mediated or attempted mediation is not permitted to serve as advisor to either party.
- Permit the faculty member and student to make a summary statement at the conclusion of the hearing.
- Make an audio recording of the hearing that shall be kept in the dean’s office for at least one calendar year after the hearing’s conclusion. No other electronic devices (included, but not limited to, cellphones, computers and additional recorders) may be used, unless expressly permitted by the members of the hearing panel.
- Apply a preponderance of the information standard when deciding whether the student has proven the facts underlying the grievance.
- Within 10 business days after the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing panel shall prepare a written decision and proposed resolution, if any. A representative of the dean's office will inform the student, the faculty member, the Registrar’s Office (for undergraduate students) or the Office of Graduate and Professional Education (for graduate students) and the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled (if different) of the decision.
- A student or faculty member who is not satisfied with the decision by the hearing panel may appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee of the Faculty Senate. This appeal must be submitted within 30 business days of the date on which the hearing panel’s decision was sent. This Committee, on reviewing the case, may uphold the decision of the college committee without a hearing or decide the appeal should be heard.
- The Chair of the Academic Appeals Committee may appoint an ad hoc hearing panel from among the current members of the committee, consisting of 3 faculty members and 2 students, or the entire committee may serve as the hearing panel. If the submitting the appeal is an undergraduate graduate student, the 2 student panel members must be undergraduate students, and if the student submitting the appeal is a graduate student, the student panel members must be graduate students. During the hearing, the student and faculty member may be assisted by an advisor they have chosen from the University community. The process set forth for the hearing panel (above) also shall govern this hearing.
- The decision of the Academic Appeals Committee or, if applicable, the ad hoc committee, shall be final. The committee shall inform the dean's office, who, in turn shall inform the student, the faculty, the Registrar’s Office (for undergraduate students) or the Office of Graduate and Professional Education (for graduate students) and the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled (if different) of the decision.
- No grade shall be changed as a result of a grade grievance complaint, except as follows. In the case of a grade grievance, the University Registrar’s Office is authorized to change the student’s grade in the following situations:
- When the student and the faculty member agree;
- If the department chair approves the student's appeal and the faculty member does not appeal that decision;
- If the dean approves the student's appeal based on the hearing panel's recommendation and the faculty member does not appeal that decision; or
- If the Academic Appeals Committee approves the student's appeal.
- Discrimination and Harassment Grievance
- All incidents of harassment based on a student's sex, gender, gender identity or expression or sexual orientation will be resolved through the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
- Incidents of harassment based on a student's race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law will be resolved through the Student Conduct System (if the alleged harasser is a student) or through the Chief Human Resources Officer in accordance with University personnel policies (if the alleged harasser is a faculty member, staff or vendor).
- A student may also seek emotional support by discussing the alleged harassment privately and in confidence with a psychologist from the Center for Counseling and Student Development.
- Non-Retaliation: It is a violation of University policy to retaliate in any way against students because they have raised allegations of discrimination or unlawful harassment.
- Other Alleged Grievances
The University may, at its discretion, permit a student to submit a grievance for problems other than those described above. A request must be submitted by the student to the Office of the Dean of Students for undergraduate students and Office of Graduate and Professional Education for graduate students within 30 business days after the last event giving rise to the alleged violation. If the request is granted, the University will decide upon the appropriate process to govern its resolution and may, but need not, follow the process set forth above for grade complaints.
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- Special Problems
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- Student Behavior Consultation Team
The mission of the Student Behavior Consultation Team (SBCT) is to coordinate information in a systematic approach to assist the University in identification of and response to students whose actions raise concerns. The SBCT consults with and collaborates with campus community members; develops support plans to promote student health, well-being and successful academic experiences; and promotes campus safety through an active process of threat assessment and behavioral intervention. Additional information may be found on the SBCT homepage.
- Medical Leave of Absence
- Statement of Policy
- An undergraduate student who wishes to suspend or postpone studies at the University for any medical reason may request a medical leave of absence. The request must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students. A medical leave of absence may be granted for a maximum of no more than 2 semesters. The Office of the Dean of Students will send written notification of the approval or denial of the requested leave.
- A graduate student who seeks a leave of absence for personal, medical, or professional reasons should obtain written approval from the department chair or graduate program coordinator. The request and the recommendation from the department should be sent to the Office of Graduate and Professional Education. The length of time needed for the leave should be indicated. Upon approval by the Office of Graduate and Professional Education, the student’s academic transcript will record the approved leave in the appropriate semesters, and the absence will not affect the limitation of time for completion of the degree requirements as given in the student’s official letter of admission. The Office of Graduate and Professional Education will send written notification of approval or denial of the requested leave.
- A medical leave of absence in no way negates the student’s financial responsibility to the University. If the student is a financial aid recipient, the student should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss the medical leave of absence and its potential ramifications. If the student is insured under the University’s health insurance plan, the student should refer to the insurance documentation for information.
- Verification of Medical Condition
The following procedures govern the University’s decision to grant a leave of absence:
- Verification of the medical condition from a physician or other medical professional acceptable to the University must be presented at the time the leave is requested.
- If the medical leave is granted, the student may continue in the same college or program in which the student was enrolled prior to the leave and may return to studies without applying for readmission to the University.
- The student must contact the office that approved the leave of absence if the student is unable to return at the conclusion of the leave.
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- Active Military Duty
A student ordered to active duty due to national crisis, under circumstances that preclude completion of a semester or session, will be allowed to take a leave of absence from the University. The student must present a copy of the military orders. The student will receive a 100% rebate of tuition for all courses for which academic credit is not received. Housing costs, meal charges, and mandatory fees will be pro-rated based on the beginning date of the studentís official leave. Students should contact the Office of the Dean of Students or the office of the assistant or associate dean of the studentís college to complete a withdrawal/leave notification form.
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- Missing Students
- Statement of Policy
The University of Delaware takes student safety seriously. To this end, and in compliance with the Missing Student Notification Policy and Procedures (Section 488 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008), the following procedures have been developed in order to assist in locating University of Delaware students, who, based on the facts and circumstances known to the University, are determined to be missing. It is the policy of the University to actively investigate any report of a missing student. All students will be notified of the Missing Student Policy and the procedures the University would follow in the event that they are reported missing.
- Each student will be asked to identify the name and contact number of the individual(s) whom the University will notify within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing. Students’ contact information will be registered confidentially, made accessible only to authorized campus officials, and will not be disclosed except to law enforcement personnel outside the University in furtherance of a missing person investigation.
- For any student under the age of 18, and not an emancipated individual, the institution is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, in addition to notifying any additional contact person designated by the student.
- If a member of the University community has reason to believe that a student is missing, he or she must report it to the University of Delaware Police Department (UDPD), located at 413 Academy Street, Newark DE 19716. For non-emergencies call 831-2222; for emergencies call 911.
- All efforts will be made immediately (no waiting period) to locate the student to determine their state of health and well-being. These efforts include, but are not limited to:
- calling the student’s cell phone and sending a text message;
- looking at social networking sites;
- checking the student’s room;
- interviewing roommates and friends;
- checking attendance in class;
- checking ID card access and key fob use; and
- locating the student's vehicle.
- If upon investigation by UDPD, the student is determined missing for at least 24 hours, the Dean of Students will contact the student’s designated emergency contact (or custodial parent or legal guardian if the student is under the age of 18 or has failed to designate an emergency contact) UDPD will notify the Newark Police Department within 24 hours of the determination that a student is missing, unless Newark police was the entity that made the determination that the student is missing. UDPD will continue to investigate utilizing established police investigative procedures and in collaboration with staff from the Office of the Dean of Students and Residence Life. UDPD will also coordinate its efforts with outside law enforcement agencies in full compliance with legal obligations and good police practice.
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