2017-2018 Graduate Academic Catalog

Academic Grievance Policy for Graduate Students

Lesley is committed to providing quality academic services to all students. In accordance with this commitment, Lesley provides the following grievance procedures to afford students a vehicle by which they may appeal academic decisions. This process applies to all students enrolled in graduate courses. The appeal process shall be concerned with a student’s belief that an academic policy has been violated to the detriment of the student.

Issues pertaining to potential violations of other University polices (for example, the Community Standards of Conduct or unlawful discrimination or harassment) shall be investigated and addressed in accordance with that University policy.

Definition of an Academic Grievance

A grievance is a complaint made by a student that a specific faculty member or administrator has interpreted or applied the academic policies in violation of a University Policy in such a way to adversely affect his or her interest as a student.

A formal complaint may be filed only after informal communication between the student and the person being grieved has failed to resolve the issue.

Academic Grievance Review Process

Level I: Faculty*-Student Meeting

  • To initiate the academic grievance review process, the student will request, in writing, a meeting with the faculty member. For purposes of this policy, meeting is defined as face to face, telephonic or via other synchronous forms of communication. The request for a meeting must be made within twenty (20) business days of the alleged violation.
  • The written request must be accompanied by a written statement fully describing the complaint, a description of the informal communication between the student and the person being grieved, and indicate that redress for a grievance is sought. The faculty member will forward a copy of the written request to the program director.
  • The faculty member will assign the earliest convenient date for a meeting. This date will be within five (5) business days after the faculty member receives the request, subject to faculty contractual responsibilities. At that meeting, the student and the faculty member will attempt to resolve the grievance.
  • Within ten (10) business days of the meeting, the faculty member* will reply in writing to the student’s written statement, summarize the meeting, and describe either the resolution or the reasons for not being able to reach an agreement.
  • If Level I does not provide a mutually satisfactory resolution to the complaint, the student may appeal the Level I decision by initiating a Level II review.

* or person whose decision is being grieved

Level II: Faculty*-Student-Division Director (GSOE)/Associate Dean (GSASS and LUCAD) Meeting

  • The student will commence Level II by requesting, in writing, a meeting with the division director/associate dean, accompanied by a written description of the complaint and Level I outcome, within ten (10) business days after the conclusion of Level I.
  • As part of the written description, the student will document how the informal steps failed to resolve the issue. A copy of the student’s letter and description will be forwarded by the student to the faculty member at that time.

* or person whose decision is being grieved

  • Upon receipt of the written request for a Level II meeting, the division director/associate dean will assign the earliest convenient date for the meeting, but no later than five (5) business days after the request has been received.
  • The division director/associate dean will inform the student and faculty member, in writing, of the time and place of the meeting. In this meeting, the student and the faculty member will attempt to resolve the grievance with the assistance of the division director/associate dean.
  • The division director/associate dean will record the Level II meeting and forward the findings to the student and faculty member within ten (10) business days of the meeting. If Level II does not provide a mutually satisfactory resolution to the complaint, the student may appeal the Level II decision by initiating a Level III review.

*or person whose decision is being grieved

Level III: Grievance Review Committee

  • The student will commence Level III by forwarding the written description of the complaint and the Level I and Level II outcome descriptions to the associate dean of the school within ten (10) business days after the conclusion of Level II.
  • The associate dean will constitute the Grievance Review Committee within five (5) business days of receipt of the request. The Grievance Review Committee will consist of three people from the Lesley University community who presently serve as faculty or administrators of the University. One person will be appointed by the school dean to represent the person being grieved. One person will be appointed by the student, and said appointment will be forwarded to the associate dean by the student. The third person will be the associate dean or designee of the school who will chair the committee. The Grievance Review Committee will convene within ten (10) business days of receipt by the associate dean of the student’s written request. The student will be notified in writing of the time and place of the meeting.
  • The Grievance Review Committee will meet with the student and the faculty member individually. The Committee will undertake an examination of the complaint and will review all Lesley policies that may be applicable.
  • The Committee will make a recommendation for resolution of the grievance, in a written report, which will also set forth the facts of the complaint and cover the procedures of the committee meeting. This written recommendation will be delivered to the school dean within five (5) business days after the Committee’s final meeting.

The school dean will review the report and make the final decision concerning resolution of the grievance. The dean has all options available for evaluating the appeal, including instituting a de novo review. The dean will inform the student and faculty member, in writing, of the decision within five (5) business days of receipt of the committee report together with his/her justification. The decision of the school dean will be final. In cases where the school dean is being grieved, the Grievance Review Committee shall make its recommendation to the Provost. The decision of the Provost shall be final.