Undergraduate grievance procedure updated

The University has updated a policy aimed at providing a fair and accurate way for students to file grievances against faculty members.

The policy, the result of several months of work by the 14-member Task Force on Undergraduate Grievance Procedures, is in place this semester. The committee was chaired by Joel Seligman, J.D., the Ethan A.H. Shepley University Professor and dean of the School of Law.

The task force, which included faculty members and students from each of the five Hilltop Campus schools with undergraduate degree programs, worked last academic year and over the summer to review the University’s existing policies and recommended improvements. The result is the current document.

The University’s Faculty Senate approved a Policy on Discriminatory Harassment in December 2002 that is applicable to all members of the University community. The task force determined that supplemental informal procedures are appropriate in instances where an undergraduate student seeks to pursue a grievance against a faculty member.

“I am pleased that the work of faculty and students has resulted in the development of a procedure for our undergraduate students to resolve problems that may arise from potential disputes involving student-faculty interactions,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “It has been rarely the case that students have felt harassed or discriminated against by faculty, and it is my hope that there will be no cases in the future. Even so, it is appropriate to have a procedure in place should it be needed.

“I am grateful to the committee chaired by Dean Joel Seligman for their effective work.”

The policy describes the informal procedures available to undergraduate students who have any type of grievance against faculty members, and the more formal procedures available to students who believe that they have been subjected to discrimination or discriminatory harassment by faculty members.

To see the full text of the policy, go online to www.wustl.edu/policies/grievance1.html.