The graduate student shall attempt, insofar as possible, to resolve the problem with the faculty member(s) involved. In the attempt to resolve the matter with the faculty member, the student may wish to consult, in the following suggested order: 1) the Graduate Chair; 2) the Department Chair; 3) the Dean or Associate Dean of the Academic Unit in which the graduate student is enrolled; and/or 4) the Dean or Associate Dean of Graduate Division. In addition, any combination of the above may be approached to assist in an informal resolution.

Formal Grievance Procedures

If dissatisfied with the outcome of the informal resolution, the graduate student may file a formal grievance by following the procedure below. A grievance may be filed at any time following an unsatisfactory outcome of an informal resolution but must be filed no later than the end of the third week of the semester following the semester in which the problem occurred. Since the Graduate Grievance Committee (GGC) does not convene during the summer or winter break, grievances submitted after week 10 in a fall or spring semester, or from either summer session, will be reviewed during the subsequent semester.

Under extenuating circumstances, the Graduate Dean retains the authority to extend any deadline, however, if a grievance is not submitted within the permitted time frame, the matter will be considered closed.

Filing Procedure

Step 1. File grievance with Graduate Chair of Program

Having not resolved the matter with the faculty member(s) as indicated above, the graduate student/grievant file may file a grievance with the graduate chair and provide a copy for the Department Chair within 14 working days after receiving the response from the faculty. If the grievance is against the Graduate Chair, the student may file their grievance directly with the Department Chair. If the Graduate Chair and Department Chair are the same person, the student may start this process at Step 2. The written grievance submitted at Step 1 shall indicate:

  1. the facts from the graduate student’s perspective, citing specific date, time, place and violation where possible;
  2. the remedy sought by the grievant;
  3. evidence and witness(es), if any;
  4. the solution proposed by the faculty, if any.

Submitted information should be concisely written, yet be informative enough to provide a clear description of the situation(s) being reported. Key facts in written form (e.g., email) should be clearly summarized in the written statement with references made to the source in an appendix.

If the Graduate Chair becomes aware of a situation that involves other offices on campus, the Graduate Chair will consult or report, as necessary, the situation to the appropriate office.  The Graduate Chair should also refer the student to resources available on campus for them. A select list of resources is found here. Notwithstanding this notification, the procedures for a grievance shall continue as stated below, as appropriate.

The Graduate Chair (or designee) shall meet with the parties separately or jointly (if both parties agree) to discuss the grievance. Within 14 working days of receipt of the grievance, the graduate chair (or designee) shall complete all investigations and provide a written decision to the parties involved.

Step 2. Appeal with Dean of Academic Unit in which graduate student is enrolled

Having not resolved the matter with the Graduate Chair (or designee),  the student may file an appeal in writing with the Dean of the academic unit in which the student is enrolled, within 14 working days after receipt of the written decision of the Graduate Chair. The appeal shall include complete copies of all materials associated with Step 1, including the written decision from the Graduate Chair as well as justification for the Step 2 appeal. The dean (or designee) will review all materials supplied by the parties involved and the Graduate Chair. Within 14 working days of receipt of the appeal, the dean (or designee) shall complete all investigations and provide a written decision to the parties and the Graduate Chair.

Step 3. Appeal with Graduate Dean

Having not resolved the matter with the Dean of the Academic Unit (or designee),  the student may file an appeal in writing with the Graduate Dean. Such filing must be done within 14 working days after the grievant has been notified of the decision reached at Step 2. The appeal shall include complete copies of all materials associated with Steps 1 and 2, including decision letters from both steps as well as specific justification for the Step 3 appeal.  If the Step 3 Appeal is submitted after the 10th week of the semester, the Graduate Grievance Committee (GGC) will be convened in the subsequent semester (refer to Formal Grievance Procedures as indicated above).

Graduate Grievance Committee

Convened by the Graduate Dean, the Graduate Grievance Committee (GGC) is a committee of the Graduate Council and students from the Graduate Student Organization (GSO). For any given Step 3 appeal, this committee will consist of three council members and three graduate students, selected from a list of nominees submitted by the Graduate Student Organization, who clearly have no conflict of interest. A chair from the convened members shall be named by the committee.

The Graduate Dean shall transmit the appeal and any relevant documents to the formed GGC for discretionary review and recommendation. Upon receipt of the grievance, the committee shall review all relevant materials for the appeal and submit a written recommendation to the Graduate Dean within 14 working days. Upon receipt of the recommendation by the Graduate Dean, a written decision will be provided to all parties within five (5) working days with copies sent to the decision makers in Steps 1 and 2.
Please note:

  • The burden of proof rests upon the graduate student filing the complaint.
  • The Graduate Dean may 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.
  • The decision of the Graduate Dean is final within UHM.

Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) Office

UH is an EEO/AA institution committed to providing a community free of discrimination, intimidation, harassment or violence. It is also committed to promoting diversity and accommodating persons with a disability. For issues dealing with discrimination or civil rights violations, contact the Office of Civil Rights. For issues related to gender discrimination, sexual harassment or other related types of concerns,, contact the Office of the Gender Equity and/or the Office of Title IX.

Redress Beyond the University

Any party to the grievance may seek redress through a court of competent jurisdiction or an outside enforcement agency. Nothing in the university’s Statement of Responsibilities of Faculty and Students, Standards and Responsibilities of Graduate Faculty, and Grievance Procedures for Graduate Students shall preclude any party from redress beyond the university.

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