Graduate students can protest an actual or supposed circumstance in which they feel they have been wronged. Here is how.


Different Procedures


Depending on what the student concern is about, the dispute will be resolved by different units on campus.


  • Grades: Disputes about grades are resolved through the Court of Student Academic Appeals. Unless exceptional documented circumstances concur, the student must file the appeal within one semester after the grade is assigned (excluding summer).
  • Academic Misconduct: Appeals for Academic Misconduct are handled through the Student Conduct and Community Standards.
  • Discrimination and harassment: These concerns are examined by the Office of Civil Rights, Title IX & ADA Compliance (CTAC)
  • Other academic matters: This may initiated for circumstances which are within one year from the time of ocurrence, and may be handled through the Graduate School. Please find more information here.
  • Dismissals: Students must indicate in writing to the Graduate Dean their decision to appeal the dismissal decision. This written statement must be received within 10 business days of the notification of the dismissal decision. The appeal is resolved by the Graduate Council. Please find more information here.

Student Concern Resolution Guide



Student Advocate

The Graduate Student Advocate is an executive, non-partisan member of the Student Government Association who can assist students.

Other Academic Concerns

Academic concerns other than grades can be resolved following this process:

Steps in the process

1. The student should first consult with the faculty member or administrator perceived to be causing the circumstance which has resulted in the feeling of being wronged and attempt to resolve the conflict at that level.

2. If the first step is not applicable or does not resolve the problem, the student should attempt to resolve the issue with the department chairperson, college dean or through the use of department/program structures which may exist for this purpose.

3. If the student has exhausted the remedies provided in steps one and two without success, the student should schedule a meeting with the Dean of the Graduate School or the dean’s designee. All requests must be in writing.

Role of the Graduate Dean

The Dean of the Graduate School or the dean’s designee receives complaints or protests and decides whether to take direct administrative action to resolve the conflict or refer the complaint to the Graduate Council.

A decision of the Graduate Dean may be appealed to the Graduate Council. If the student wishes to appeal the decision to the Graduate Council, he or she must notify the Graduate Dean in writing within 30 calendar days of the decision. The Graduate Dean will then, in writing, provide the student the standard appeal processes that will be followed.


Dismissal due to low GPA

Students may be dismissed from their degree program or nondegree Category A status if they fail to attain a grade point average of at least 3.000 upon the completion of 9 graduate credit hours after admission on probation, or fail to raise their graduate grade point average to a 3.000 following placement on academic probation, or at any time their graduate GPA drops below a 2.000.

Students in this situation may be dismissed from the Graduate School, or may be dismissed from their program and placed into a nondegree Category B status, upon the recommendation of the graduate coordinator of their program.

Dismissal due to other circumstances

Students may also be dismissed from a graduate degree program if, in the opinion of the graduate faculty offering the program they are unable to carry on advanced work, are not making satisfactory progress toward their degree, or have violated professional standards or other degree requirements outlined by their degree program in the Graduate Catalog or program handbook.

Dismissal Decision

In these cases, the program will recommend dismissal to the Graduate School.

The Graduate School Dean, or their designee, will review the recommendation and determine if dismissal is warranted, and if so, whether dismissal from the program will be to nondegree status, or if complete dismissal from the Graduate School is appropriate. 


Students who are dismissed through this process may appeal to the Graduate Council.The procedure that will be followed can be found here.

Students would need to submit a written statement to the Graduate School Dean indicating their desire to appeal within 10 business days of the notification of the dismissal decision.

Graduate Council Appeal Procedure

The Graduate Council serves as a committee on appeals if the student is dissatisfied with direct administrative action taken by the Graduate Dean.

In such cases, the judgment of the Council is final.


The student submits a written statement to the Graduate School (Associate to the Dean) indicating their desire to appeal a decision.

The statement must be received within 30 calendar days of the decision the student wants to appeal.

If the student wants to appeal a dismissal decision, the statement must be received within 10 business days of the notification of the dismissal decision.

The case will primarily consist of the Council’s review of written documents that will be securely distributed prior to the appeal hearing.


All materials must be submitted to the Graduate School, who will distribute to all parties. If either party wishes to add materials in response to the initial documents, they may do so. These documents will also be made available to each party.  Parties will submit the first materials within the first 21 calendar days from the day both parties have been informed in writing about the initaition of the proceedings. Any additional documents/responses, if desired, will be due 14 calendar days after first materials have been shared with both parties. Parties will be notified of the exact date requirements.

No new written materials are allowed for presentation during the committee hearing.


If witnesses are to be called by either side, the Graduate School must receive their names, in writing, along the additional documents. The names will be distributed to all parties.

Legal Assistance

An attorney is neither necessary nor recommended. The committee operates as part of an academic hearing, not a judicial proceeding. However, if the student elects to have an attorney present, the University’s General Counsel must also be afforded an opportunity to attend. Accordingly, the student must notify the Graduate School, in writing, along the first documents if he/she intends to have an attorney present. The presence of a student’s attorney at the hearing does not change the proceeding. The attorney will not be able to examine witnesses, ask questions or otherwise take part in the proceedings, except in an unobtrusive manner, in an advisory capacity to his/her client. Once an attorney has contacted the Graduate School on behalf of a student, all contact, both written and oral, will be conducted through the University’s Office of General Counsel rather than through the Graduate School.


The Graduate Dean or Associate Dean will chair the committee to provide a policy framework. They will not vote. The council representative from the student’s academic unit will not participate on the committee.

The hearing process is as follows:

a. Chair’s introduction of attendees (1-2 minutes).
b. Student presentation to the Council – in case any clarification of documents submitted is needed (limited to 5 minutes).
c. Unit(s) representative(s) presentation – in case any clarification of documents submitted is needed (limited to 5 minutes).
d. Presentation by witnesses, if desired, by either party (limited to three per side and a maximum of 10 minutes per side). Winesses will be invited one a t a time. Cross-examination will not be permitted. Council members may question witnesses. Each witness will be excused after the question and answer period.
e. Student rebuttal, if desired (limited to 5 minutes).
f. Question and Answer period - committee members may question parties. Cross-examination will not be permitted.
g. Presenters are excused.
h. Committee deliberation and vote.
i. Dean of the Graduate School provides written notification of the ruling to all concerned parties within 15 calendar days, unless extended by the Dean with written notice of the extension given to all parties.


Final Decision

The Council’s decision is final and ends the appeal process.