Final Ruling & Grievance Committee

In the event that a satisfactory resolution is not reached during Step 3 of the formal grievance procedure, the Graduate Dean will forward the grievant’s appeal to the Graduate Academic Grievance Committee (GAGC). The findings and decisions of the GAGC shall be final within the university. The GAGC has the authority to direct the execution of remedies.

Committee Composition

Chaired by the Graduate Dean, the Graduate Academic Grievance Committee (GAGC) is a committee of the Graduate Council. For any given appeal, a sub-committee is formed, consisting of three council members who clearly have no conflict of interest and three graduate students, selected from a list of nominees submitted by the Graduate Student Organization.

Appeal Handling & Hearing Scheduling

Upon receipt of an appeal, the chair of the GAGC shall:

  1. transmit the appeal to the GAGC for discretionary review and recommendation; (Note: The presentation of an appeal is a request by the grievant for a hearing. However, should the GAGC decide that no reasonable case exists, on the basis of all records available to the committee, it reserves the right to refuse hearing the appeal.)
  2. notify all parties of the committee’s action on the appeal;
  3. upon acceptance of the appeal, convene a hearing within 15 working days;
  4. waive any and all specific time deadlines for a specific period, when there is evidence that a good-faith effort to meet the deadlines has been made.

Upon scheduling a hearing, the chair of the GAGC shall:

  1. notify all parties in writing of the place, date and time of the hearing, at least 10 working days prior to the hearing;
  2. distribute to all parties a copy of the guidelines for conducting the hearing.

Hearing Guidelines

The GAGC shall adopt guidelines for the conduct of the hearing that shall include but are not limited to the following:

  1. The hearing shall be closed unless both parties agree in writing to an openhearing. Such an agreement must be reached at least one week prior to the hearing.
  2. In the event of a closed hearing, the chair of the GAGC shall determine which individuals shall be allowed entry and shall take all measures necessary to assure security.
  3. The chair of the GAGC shall be responsible for recording the hearing and maintaining order, and have the authority to rule on points of order.
  4. The grievant may have an adviser present, provided that notice of such intent and the name of the adviser are provided to the chair of the GAGC at least seven working days prior to the hearing. The other parties to the appeal shall be notified of such intent, and may, without notice, have an adviser present.
  5. The chair of the GAGC shall give notice that the burden of proof rests upon the grievant.
  6. Oral testimony and written evidence may be introduced. The chair of the GACC shall have the authority to exclude immaterial and/or unduly repetitious evidence.
  7. All parties shall have the right to present evidence and arguments on all issues involved and to present rebuttal testimony.
  8. All parties to the grievance and all members of the GAGC have the right to question witnesses.
  9. The GAGC is not constrained to information presented by parties to the grievance. The committee may secure information and documents relevant to any part of the grievance procedure. Confidential information, however, may be secured only with consent of the appropriate parties.
  10. Should the grievant fail to attend the hearing except for good and sufficient cause, the grievance shall be dismissed with prejudice.
  11. The deliberations of the GAGC after the receipt of all testimony shall be closed.
  12. After the GAGC has reached a decision, the chair shall provide all parties written notice of the committee’s finding and decision. The Office of Graduate Education and the Graduate Council shall receive copies of the notice.

Record Keeping

The chair of the GAGC shall keep a log of the hearing. The log shall include a brief notation as to the subject matter of the dispute but exclude personally identifiable information. This log shall be available in the Office of Graduate Education. Other records to be maintained shall include but not be limited to: all pleadings, notices, rulings, evidence (including recordings of oral testimony), the report of the GAGC, and recordings of the hearing. All records shall be kept in the Office of Graduate Education and will be available only to the parties to the grievance. Copies of any records will not be made unless requested and paid for by one of the parties.