Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure
The University is committed to a policy against legally impermissible, arbitrary, or unreasonable discriminatory practices. All groups operating under The Regents, including administration, faculty, staff, student governments, University-owned residence halls, and programs sponsored by the University, are governed by this policy of nondiscrimination.
The University of California, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and University policy, prohibits discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran.
I. Purpose and Scope
A. The purpose of this procedure is to provide Berkeley students an opportunity to resolve complaints alleging discrimination based upon any of the above listed grounds. This procedure is also available for the resolution of complaints alleging inappropriate application to a student of any other rules or policies of the Berkeley campus resulting in injury to the student, except as noted in IB. below. It is the intent of this procedure that student complaints should be resolved, if at all possible, in the department or unit where they arise.
B. This procedure does not apply to complaints coming under the following campus complaint procedures:
- Graduate Appeals Procedure. This procedure is to be used by graduate students, other than Juris Doctor candidates, with complaints about dismissal from graduate standing, placement on probationary status, denial of readmission, and other administrative or academic decisions that terminate or otherwise impede progress toward academic or professional degree goals. For graduate students, this procedure may also be used to resolve disputes over joint authorship of research in accordance with joint authorship policies of campus departments or units.
- Berkeley Campus Policy for Accommodating the Academic Needs of Students with Disabilities. This procedure should be used for complaints about the provision of appropriate academic accommodations in classes or research in which the disabled student is currently participating.
- Berkeley Campus Policy Governing Disclosure of Information from Student Records. This procedure is to be used for complaints regarding access to student records and for complaints alleging that student records are inaccurate, misleading, inappropriate or otherwise maintained in violation of student rights to privacy.
- Grade Appeals - Regulation A207 of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate. This procedure is to be used for complaints that grades in courses of instruction are based on the application of non-academic criteria.
- Non-Senate Academic Employee Grievance Procedure - Academic Personnel Manual Section 140. This procedure is to be used for complaints arising out of academic student employment.
- Academic Rules: University of California at Berkeley School of Law. These Rules are to be used by Juris Doctor students in the School of Law who are appealing academic disqualification or the terms of probation. The Student Grievance Procedure may be used by Juris Doctor students for complaints that do not fall under the Academic Rules of the School of Law.
- University of California at Berkeley Police Department General Order 0-6 and Citizen Complaint Resolution Procedures. These procedures are to be used for all complaints against any members of the University of California at Berkeley Police Department, including sworn officers. They cover complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as other matters.
- Berkeley Campus Code of Student Conduct. This procedure is to be used for complaints against students or student organizations who have allegedly violated campus student conduct rules.
- Guidelines Relating to Misconduct in Science. This procedure is to be used for investigating allegations of research misconduct.
C. The Student Grievance procedure may be used for complaints of sexual harassment. Students are encouraged to consult with the Campus Title IX Officer and the Berkeley Campus Policy on Sexual Harassment and Complaint Resolution Procedures prior to bringing a complaint of sexual harassment under the Student Grievance Procedure. (See I.B.8. for sexual harassment complaints against Campus Police. See section III.A. below and the Appendix for further information about sexual harassment complaints.)
A. Complaint Resolution Officer (CRO): The person designated to receive, investigate, mediate, and resolve complaints brought under this procedure.
B. Student: An individual who (a) is enrolled in or registered with an academic program of the University; (b) has completed the immediately preceding term and is eligible for reenrollment, including the recess periods between academic terms; or (c) is on approved educational leave or other approved leave status, or is on filing-fee status.
C. Respondent: The person designated to answer or respond to the complaint. Generally the respondent would be the head of the unit or department in which the violation allegedly occurred.
D. Notification: Notification takes place two days after the date of posting of any document in the United States mail, properly addressed, or upon the date of receipt of any document, when placed in the campus mail, properly addressed. Written communications to a complainant are properly addressed when sent to the address given in the complaint or the last address given since the filing of the complaint.
E. Time: All time periods referred to in this procedure refer to calendar days, excluding summer term and inter-semester recesses. If the designated time period ends on a Saturday, Sunday or campus holiday, the time period will be extended to the following working day. The time periods designated in this procedure may be extended only where there is good cause and notice of the extension is provided to all parties.
III. Department or Unit Level Resolution Procedures
A. Informal Process.
Before filing a grievance under this Policy, a student should attempt to resolve the matter informally with the person alleged to have committed the violation, or with the head of the department or unit in which the alleged violation occurred, or both of them. The student may contact the Office of the Ombudsperson for Students for assistance with informal resolution. Attempts to resolve the matter informally should be completed within sixty (60) days from the time at which the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action being grieved. If a student wishes to file a formal grievance, he or she must do so within the sixty (60) day limit, regardless of the progress of the informal process.
If the grievance contains allegations of sexual harassment, the student may elect to attempt resolution pursuant to the Berkeley Campus Policy on Sexual Harassment and Complaint Resolution Procedures. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the sexual harassment complaint resolution process, the student may file a formal student grievance within fifteen (15) days of notice of the outcome of the sexual harassment complaint process.
B. Formal Unit Procedures.
Where the department or unit in which the violation allegedly occurred has written procedures for student grievances, students should first attempt to resolve the matter through those procedures. An attempt to resolve a complaint under unit or department level grievance procedures must be initiated within sixty (60) days from the time at which the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action being grieved. If the department or unit fails to provide notice of resolution to the student within 60 days of receiving the complaint, the student may file a formal student grievance within ten (10) days thereafter.
IV. Formal Campus Resolution Procedures
If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the departmental level resolution, the student may file a formal student grievance within ten (10) days of notice of the outcome of the departmental level process.
Where there is no unit or departmental grievance procedure, a student may file a formal student grievance within sixty (60) days from the time at which the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action being grieved. Undergraduate students should file with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and graduate and professional school students should file with the office of the Dean of the Graduate Division.
Student grievances must be in writing and signed by the student or the student's designated representative, if any. Grievances must contain the student's address and phone number to the extent available, a detailed statement of the specific action being grieved, the approximate date when the action took place, the resulting injury or harm, the specific law, policy, or rule alleged to have been violated (if known), a description of the evidence supporting the grievance, whether informal procedures were available and completed, and the remedy or relief requested. It is the responsibility of the complainant to update the Complaint Resolution Officer (CRO) as to the appropriate address to use throughout the grievance process.
If the student is to be assisted by an advisor, the student must submit the name of the designated advisor, and indiate whether the advisor is a lawyer. The student also must submit a signed statement authorizing the advisor to receive copies of relevant student records and correspondence regarding the grievance and to accompany the student to any meetings.
B. Initial Review
Upon receipt of a formal student grievance, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or the Dean of the Graduate Division, as appropriate, shall promptly designate a Complaint Resolution Officer (CRO). The CRO shall review the grievance and make an initial determination regarding whether the grievance is complete, timely, within the jurisdiction of the Student Grievance Procedure, and alleges facts which, if true, would constitute a violation of law or University policy. The CRO shall complete initial review of the grievance and notify the complainant of the determination in writing within twenty (20) days of the receipt of the complaint in the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or the Dean of the Graduate Division.
If the CRO determines that the grievance is incomplete, the student will have ten (10) days from the date of the written notice to make the grievance complete. If the student fails to make the grievance complete, the grievance will be dismissed. If the CRO determines that the grievance is untimely, outside the jurisdiction, or factually insufficient, the grievance will be dismissed. If the grievance raises multiple issues, the CRO will make a determination described above with regard to each issue. The CRO may investigate some issues and dismiss others pursuant to this review process.
If a complaint is dismissed, the CRO will provide the student with a written explanation of the basis for the dismissal. The student will have ten (10) days from the date of the written notice to request an appeal of the dismissal from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or the Dean of the Graduate Division, as appropriate. The request for appeal must be a signed, written document articulating why the decision by the CRO to dismiss the case was in error. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or the Dean of the Graduate Division will respond in writing within twenty (20) days of receipt of the appeal. If the decision to dismiss is upheld, that decision is final. If the decision to dismiss is overturned on appeal, the case shall be sent back to the CRO for investigation in accordance with the procedures outlined below.
The CRO will commence the investigation by sending a copy of the written grievance and any supporting documentation to the head of the department or unit (respondent) in which the violation allegedly occurred and asking for a written response. The respondent shall (1) confirm or deny each fact alleged in the grievance; (2) indicate the extent to which the grievance has merit; and (3) indicate acceptance or rejection of any remedy requested by the grievant or outline an alternative proposal for remedy. The CRO will provide the grievant with a copy of the department or unit's response.
The CRO may seek to mediate a resolution or negotiate an administrative settlement of the grievance at any time during the course of the investigation. If a resolution satisfactory to both the grievant and the respondent is reached, the CRO will notify both parties of the voluntary resolution in writing and the grievance will be dismissed.
The CRO shall complete the investigation and produce a report within seventy-five (75) days of the initial receipt of the grievance in the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or the Dean of the Graduate Division, as appropriate. The report should contain a summary of the issues presented by the grievance, a statement of the applicable law or policy, a summary of the factual findings reached in the investigation and a conclusion regarding the recommended outcome of the grievance, including proposed corrective actions, if any.
If the grievance is brought by an undergraduate student, the report shall be made to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and that individual shall be responsible for making a determination on the outcome of the grievance and taking corrective action. If the grievance is brought by a graduate or professional student, the report shall be made to the Dean of the Graduate Division and that individual shall be responsible for making a determination on the outcome of the grievance and taking corrective action. Written notice of the determination, including a description of the basis for the decision, by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or Dean of the Graduate Division, as appropriate, will be sent to the grievant and the respondent within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the report.
If the outcome of the grievance involves a recommendation for disciplinary action to be taken against any University employee or student, the matter shall be referred to the appropriate University disciplinary procedure.
D. Request for Reconsideration
The student may seek reconsideration of an adverse determination by filing a written request for review with the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or Dean of the Graduate Division, as appropriate, within ten (10) days of receiving their written notice of the determination. This request must be based on at least one or more of the following grounds:
- There is evidence that the Student Grievance Procedures were not followed, and the failure to follow procedures resulted in a decision adverse to the student.
- There is evidence that the Complaint Resolution Officer made an obvious error in interpreting the evidence or applying law and policy, and the error was material to the outcome of the grievance.
The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or Dean of the Graduate Division, as appropriate, will review the request for reconsideration and provide a written response within 30 days. The determination of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or Dean of the Graduate Division, as appropriate, is final.
V. Disciplinary Procedures
The purpose of the Student Grievance Procedure is to remedy the harm done to the grievant and not to impose punitive sanctions on University employees or other students. However, in some cases, the proposed corrective action may include a recommendation for disciplinary action to be taken against a University employee or student. In such cases, the issue of discipline shall be referred to the appropriate University disciplinary procedure for action pursuant to those procedures. Any disciplinary actions arising from the subject matter of such complaints shall be in accordance with established policies of the University including, but not limited to:
- The Code of Student Conduct - This contains the Berkeley Campus guidelines on student conduct and student disciplinary procedures;
- Academic Personnel Manual - This contains the University policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline, including the Faculty Code of Conduct;
- Personnel Policies for Staff Members and Collective Bargaining Agreements - These documents contain conduct guidelines and disciplinary procedures for University employees in these programs;
Other resources that are available before or after a student grievance has been filed include the following:
- The Ombuds Office for Students and Postdoctoral Appointees can be your first step, your last resort, or anything in between. If you would like assistance sorting through a campus-related conflict or concern, please contact us. The Ombudsperson will listen to your concerns, serve as a sounding board, discuss your options with you, and help you get a new perspective and determine the next steps to take.The office is strictly confidential and no one will know you have spoken with us unless you wish them to. The only exception to this confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm or danger.In the interest of maintaining confidentiality, we request that everyone seeking assistance contact the Student Ombuds Office by phone only and not by dropping by the office or by e-mail. You may also contact us by regular mail, or fax.
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
University of California, Berkeley
Ombuds Office for Students and Postdoctoral Appointees
102 Sproul Hall, MC 2430 (mailing address only)
Berkeley, CA 94720
- Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) works to ensure that the University provides an environment for students, faculty and staff that is free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of categories including race, color national origin, gender, age and sexual orientation/identity. OPHD is the Title IX Office and has the specific responsibility for providing prompt and effective responses to all complaints of sex discrimination, including harassment and sexual violence, and discrimination or harassment based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. OPHD also responds to concerns from students and faculty regarding other forms of discrimination as covered by University Nondiscrimination policies-- such as, age, religion, national origin, etc. OPHD offers a variety of training programs and workshops in sexual harassment and nondiscrimination for students, faculty and staff. E-mail ask_ophd@berkeley for information and resources related to sexual assault.
- The Title IX and Title VI Compliance Officer in the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination may be able to provide information and assistance with regard to grievances alleging sexual and/or racial harassment; concerns of sexual or transgender orientation. Contact Denise Oldham for addressing concerns at 510-643-7985.
ASUC Student Advocate’s Office (SAO) — effectively the campus public defender — is an executive, non-partisan office of the student government at UC Berkeley. We offer representation, help, and advice to any student or student group involved in a dispute with the University. We provide assistance for a broad variety of problems, including conduct violations, grade disputes, enrollment issues, financial aid problems, establishment of residency, discrimination, and harassment. All assistance is free and confidential. If you are involved in a dispute with a University, or if you have general questions about University policies or procedures, please contact us immediately. For the quickest response, please visit our office or email us.
ASUC Student Advocate’s Office
114B Hearst Gym
Berkeley, CA 94720-4500
Hours of Operation:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday to Friday; Fall & Spring semesters
During the summer, we do not hold regular office hours; please contact us by email.
(510) 642-6912 note: during the summer email is the best form of contact
You can also fill out this form to describe your case. Once you submit the form, a caseworker will contact you. All information you provide will remain confidential.
- The ADA/504 Disability Complaint Resolution Officer may be able to provide information and assistance with regard to grievances alleging discrimination on the basis of disability or failure to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. Contact Derek Coates at 510-642-2795.
- The Age Discrimination Act Coordinator may be able to provide information and assistance with grievances alleging discrimination on the basis of age. Contact Equity Standards & Compliance at 510-642-2795.
- The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs may be able to provide information and assistance with regard to grievances alleging discrimination on the basis of veteran status, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, or citizenship. Contact the Division of Student Affairs at 510-642-6727.
- The student may elect to bring complaints alleging violations of federal civil rights laws with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. As provided in state law, civil law remedies, including injunctions, restraining or other court orders, and monetary damages also may be available to complainants.
Student Grievance Procedure Form