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Student Grievance Policy

In the normal conduct of education at the University of Houston, justifiable grievances may arise concerning the violation of university or college policies or procedures. The College of Architecture and Design is committed to resolving these grievances in a fair, orderly, and expeditious manner. To that end, the
college has established informal and formal procedures for settling academic grievances. A grievance under the student grievance policy refers to an action that either violates a university, college, or academic policy or procedure or prejudicially treats the student on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, handicap, veteran status, or any other non-academic status. Because assigning a grade or evaluating a student's work performance involves the faculty's professional judgment and is an integral part of the faculty's teaching responsibilities, disagreement with an instructor concerning a grade or evaluation is not a justifiable grievance under this policy unless factors such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph can be shown to have affected that grade or evaluation. Any individual with a grievance involving the College of Architecture and Design must first try to resolve the grievance informally with the faculty member or other involved parties. The aggrieved individual who does not obtain a satisfactory resolution through the informal process may file a formal grievance with the College of Architecture and Design Student Grievance Committee and then, failing to obtain satisfaction, with the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

 

STUDENT GRIEVANCE FILING PROCEDURES
A student who wishes to file a grievance must file an "intention to grieve" notice within 30 days of the time when the student has knowledge or should have had knowledge of the offense. This notice should be submitted to the College of Architecture and Design's dean's office through the completion of a General Petition along with a formal grievance document. This formal grievance document must state the following: 1) when the student discovered the issue being grieved, 2) what issue is being grieved, and 3) whether the student has informed the instructor of the issue being aggrieved (when applicable) and 4) what is the desired resolution. The General Petition and the formal grievance document should be forwarded to the assistant dean, and within 60 days of receiving the formal intent to grieve documents, the assistant dean will present the complaint to the Student Grievance Committee. Within 60 days of receiving the complaint, the Student Grievance Committee will render a decision. All grievance filings will be reviewed and any subsequent hearings that are deemed necessary with regards to the filing must be completed within these 60 days.

STUDENT GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE POOL:
Upon receipt of the General Petition and the formal grievance document, the assistant dean will contact the College of Architecture and Design's Student Grievance Committee pool to convene a meeting. The purpose of this meeting is twofold. First, the members of the Student Grievance Committee will be selected and the committee chair shall be named. Second, the assistant dean will present the grievance petition and the formal grievance document to the committee.A total of seven persons will be elected to serve as the Student Grievance Committee pool which will be composed of five voting-eligible faculty, one student representative from the undergraduate program and one student representative from the graduate program. At least three of the faculty representatives will be tenured. Faculty members serving on the Student Grievance Committee will be elected by voting faculty for two-year terms during the last scheduled faculty meeting of the spring semester. The election to the Student Grievance Committee of the faculty committee members will be staggered so that two are elected on odd years and three are elected on even years. Each student representative will be a full-time student and will be appointed to the Student Grievance Committee by the college's Student Council. The student representatives will serve for a one-year term and will be appointed during the summer semester. Reelection/reappointment of all members shall be allowed.


STUDENT GRIEVANCE HEARING COMMITTEE:
A Grievance Hearing Committee shall consist of three faculty members of which at least two shall be tenured faculty when possible and one student, and is charged with the task of determining whether an action has been taken against a student that either violates a university, college, or academic policy or procedure or prejudicially treats the student on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, handicap, veteran status, or any other non-academic status. The hearing committee will select its own chair from elected tenured committee members. The committee chair is responsible for coordinating all meetings and hearing(s) related to the complaint at hand. The committee and its chair may seek counsel when appropriate and needed from various university agencies and offices as deemed appropriate in its review of a particular case.

THE HEARING PROCEDURE:
No member of the administration including the dean, associate dean or assistant dean shall attend any grievance hearing unless called by the committee to present testimony. The assistant dean will serve as a facilitator to convene committee meetings when a grievance is filed.The date of the hearing is to be set by the hearing committee chair in consultation with all parties involved. The hearing committee chair must approve any delay or changes to the hearing date. Only documented, extenuating circumstances will be considered. All parties shall notify the hearing committee chair in writing of the name, address, and telephone number of their witness(es) and counsel, if any, at least three days prior to the date of the hearing. All parties shall be afforded the opportunity for reasonable oral arguments and for presentation of witnesses and pertinent documentary evidence. The case presented to the hearing committee must be made by the accusing individual. No written or electronically recorded transcript of a grievance hearing is to be made. Witnesses may be called to offer insight on a case if the committee members agree. The proceedings of meetings are to be confidential.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS:
Recommendations for resolution rendered by the College of Architecture and Design Student Grievance Hearing Committee shall be in writing, setting forth the decision and the reason thereof, shall be transmitted promptly to the dean and the principal parties in the dispute. If the dean finds the Student Grievance Committee's recommendations unacceptable or impossible to implement, the dean must state this in writing and transmit the statement to the aggrieved person and to the Student Grievance Hearing Committee within 10 working days of receiving the committee's recommendation. If the grievant or the respondent is unsatisfied with the outcome of the college level process, that party may petition for a university level review by the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. Please note that appeals for decisions in the following areas are guided by separate appeal or grievance policies and procedures: Affirmative Action, Academic Honesty, Student Life, Financial Responsibility. In the case of a graduate student's grievance, a university level review will be conducted through the Graduate and Professional Studies Grievance Committee which is under the purview of the dean of graduate and professional studies. In both the undergraduate and graduate programs, the appeals process must be formalized through the submission of a General Petition and a written statement specifically addressing an appeal to the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost or dean of graduate and professional studies within 30 calendar days of the final disposition at the college level.