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Student Complaints

Student Complaints

Students normally should seek to resolve problems by discussion with the faculty member. If this is not feasible or if, after discussion between the student and professor, the matter cannot be resolved, the student has two options, listed below. Students are encouraged to pursue option (1) but if unsatisfied with the result of option (1), may pursue option (2):

  1. The student may have an informal discussion about the issue with the Chairperson of the department in which the alleged violation may have occurred. Should the department Chairperson be the subject of any complaint, the student may instead have a discussion with the Dean of the college in which the alleged violation may have occurred. This option is not a formal complaint, and does not require filing a complaint. If the student is satisfied with the result of the conversation, and a conclusion is mutually agreed upon, then all parties involved will follow the agreed upon solution. After the involved parties follow the agreed upon solution, no further action is required.

    In all instances, where feasible, the identity of the student shall remain anonymous to the faculty member who is the subject of the complaint. However, in circumstances where the student’s identity must be known, such as an instance in which the misconduct of a faculty member has impacted the student’s grade and the professor is the only one who can change the grade, the student’s identification must be made known to the professor so that the grade can be changed.

    However, if the student is unsatisfied with the result of the informal discussion with the Chairperson or Dean, or the student decides not to have an informal discussion and would rather directly file a formal complaint, the student may choose to file a formal complaint [see option (2) below].

  2. The student may file a formal complaint. The student must document the complaint either in writing or by email, and address it to the Chairperson of the Department, or Dean of the College in which the alleged violation may have occurred.

The complaint must include the following elements:

  • (I) Student Name
  • (II) Student ID
  • (III) Class Section
  • (IV) Faculty Member
  • (V) Description of the Problem/Violation
  • (VI) Description of Attempt to Resolve Problem/Violation

If a formal complaint is filed, the faculty member who is the subject of the complaint will have the opportunity explain the situation to their appropriate superior (see below for more details of when and how the faculty member will discuss the issue with the Chairperson or Dean).

In all instances, a Chairperson or Dean must, in writing or by email, acknowledge receipt of the student’s complaint as well as include a suggested remedy within four (4) academic calendar days of sending the complaint/filing a formal complaint.

If the student has not received a reply from the Chairperson within four (4) academic calendar days of sending the complaint/filing a formal complaint, then the student may communicate the complaint, in writing or by email, to the Dean of the College in which the alleged problem and/or violation is occurring.

If the student has not received a reply from the Dean within five (5) academic calendar days, then the student may communicate the complaint to the Office of the Provost in writing or by email. 

The Chairperson or Dean will discuss the problem with the student and/or faculty member, and then determine whether the complaint is valid. Copies of the complaint, together with the written decision of the Chairperson or Dean, will be sent to the student, the faculty member, the Provost, and the President of the Massachusetts Society of Professors or the respective Faculty Union.

Formal complaints about classroom problems shall be initiated before the last day of semester examinations. The determination of the Chairperson or Dean must be made within ten (10) working days following receipt of the student complaint and, if unchallenged by the MSP, is final. If the complaint is made towards the end of the semester, during finals week (for example, if the complaint is made on December 18, and the semester closes for winter break on December 19), the complaint is still valid and must be addressed. However, the student must receive a reply and an acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint within seven (7) business days and a final determination must be made in time for the student’s grade to be adjusted, if authorized, or other action deemed appropriate to be executed.

Professors are encouraged to provide the above policy, or at least a link to the above policy, in their class syllabus.