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What's New with Grievance Procedures in Arts and Sciences?

Arts and Sciences includes students at Columbia College, the School of General Studies, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts, the School of Continuing Education, the School of International and Public Affairs, and students in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) who are enrolled in classes taught by Arts and Sciences faculty members.

Due to the size and diverse nature of the Columbia community, the responsibility for creating and implementing student grievance procedures rests with the faculty and administration of each school. This helps ensure that these policies reflect the specific needs of students throughout the University.

At the request of President Bollinger, the vice president of arts and sciences and members of the University administration have been working with all deans in arts and sciences to review, clarify and, where appropriate, augment the grievance procedures already in place in order to make them more robust, easily accessible and clearly understood. As a result, the following changes have been established:

1. Uniform Standards

Improvements to grievance procedures at each school have been made in the following areas:

• Detailing the process for raising concerns related to teaching, including creating appeal mechanisms for students and faculty;
• Clarifying the types of conduct covered; and
• Setting time frames under which students and the school should respond.

2. Clearly Articulated Procedures for All Undergraduates

Undergraduates at Columbia College , the School of General Studies and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) (for those SEAS students taking Arts and Sciences classes) have expanded and clearly articulated grievance procedures. Students are encouraged to use these informal and collaborative processes available to them at their schools. Most concerns usually can be resolved through these processes. If the matter remains unresolved, or if the student believes it is more appropriate, the new formal procedures described below can be used.

3. Procedures for Graduate and Graduate Professional Schools of the Arts and Sciences

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts, the School of Continuing Education and the School of International and Public Affairs also have revised grievance procedures for their students. For those graduate and graduate professional students, the procedures of the Office of the Vice President for Arts and Sciences are also available if the matter cannot be resolved satisfactorily at the school level.

4. New Standing Faculty Committee for Arts and Sciences

All undergraduate and graduate students in schools served by faculty from arts and sciences can now use the more formal procedure in which a standing faculty committee will consider student complaints that could not be resolved at the school level. Students may also file their initial grievance with the faculty committee directly, if they believe it is more appropriate to do so, by writing the associate vice president for arts and sciences.

The standing committee will consist of five faculty members, including three faculty members appointed by the Executive Committee of the Arts and Sciences (ECFAS) and two members of ECFAS. If the committee decides to go forward with the complaint, both the aggrieved student and faculty member in question will have an opportunity to appear before the committee and submit written statements.

After collecting information and interviewing any persons it deems relevant, the committee will deliver a written report of its findings and recommendations to the vice president for arts and sciences, who may adopt, reject or modify any recommendations contained in the report. Although the proceedings will remain confidential, the report will be available to the student and faculty member.

5. Appeal to the Provost

The decision by the vice president may be appealed to the provost by either the student or the faculty member. The decision of the provost will be final.

6. Formalized Vehicles for Student Feedback

Grievance procedures will be subject to ongoing review and refinement, based on practical experience gained through their implementation and feedback from the Columbia community.

Undergraduate students are invited and encouraged to submit their comments, concerns or questions on school-specific procedures through email addresses found on each school's website, where the new grievance procedures are explained. All students can direct any comments they may have to the offices of their school deans, the Office of the Vice President for the Arts and Sciences, the University ombuds officer or the provost.

# # #

All other graduate and graduate professional schools also reviewed and revised their grievance procedures to ensure the avenues for complaints and concerns are clear and understandable and to provide an opportunity for appeal to the provost for both the student and the faculty member. School-specific grievance procedures are available on each school's website. For a full listing of where to find grievance procedures for every school at Columbia , please visit the provost's website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/provost/docs/policies.html.

Click on the following links for further information about how undergraduate students can file grievances at Columbia College and the School of General Studies.

Published: Apr 11, 2005
Last modified: Apr 11, 2005

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