The purpose of grievance program as outlined below is to provide a prompt and fair resolution of a complaint related to professional or academic matters. The expectation is that before invoking this policy, both parties will have made a good faith attempt to resolve the issue in question. It should be noted that as faculty members, the Department Head, Associate Head and Graduate Coordinator are mandatory reporters under UGA’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy (see pp. 4-5 of the NDAH Policy for more information on mandatory reporters). This means that should they learn of an action or event that they believe falls under the purview of the Equal Opportunity Office (EOO), at any step of the process described below, they will report it to the EOO immediately.
Step 1: Reporting. The graduate student reports a grievance to the Graduate Coordinator in writing. The Graduate Coordinator will meet in person with the graduate student in order to better understand the nature of the concerns. Following the meeting, the grievance will be shared with the complainee(s) unless an outside policy applies.
Step 2: Mediation. The purpose of mediation is for the Graduate Coordinator to guide both parties toward their own resolution of the grievance. The process will be guided by relevant documents and policies such as a mentoring compact, academic honesty policy, etc. Successful mediation will result in a mutually agreed upon resolution to the grievance. Unsuccessful mediation will lead to Step 3.
Step 3: Arbitration. The departmental leadership team (Head and Graduate Coordinator) will collect further documentation related to the grievance from all relevant parties, interview each party separately, and will subsequently develop written recommendation(s) for resolution of the grievance. Recommendations may include behavioral changes, organizational changes and/or institutional responses.
Step 4: Graduate School Involvement. If the student is not satisfied with the recommendations resulting from Step 3, he/she may contact the Dean of the Graduate School for further review (firstname.lastname@example.org; 706-542-1739).
Caveats: If the Graduate Coordinator is a party to the grievance, then the graduate student should report their concern directly to the Head, who will then serve as the mediator in Step 2. If the Head is a party to the grievance, the process moves directly to step 3. The Associate Head will replace any member of the leadership team who may be a party to the grievance.