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):
The complaint must include the following elements:
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.
Out-of-state students residing in NC-SARA (National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) states — which include all states except California — whose complaints are not resolved through the UMass Lowell Institutional Complaint Process can submit complaints to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education through the SARA Student Complaint Form.
For more information, contact:
Alexander Nally, Assistant General Counsel
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
One Ashburton Place, Room 1401
Boston, MA 02108
After you have exhausted the complaint procedures made available by UMass Lowell, located above, if you have a complaint or concern that has not been resolved by UMass Lowell, you may file a general complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) by using the general complaint form. The DHE general complaint form should be used by students who are located in:
Online students with non-academic complaints: If you have a non-academic complaint that you would like to bring to our attention, please use the non-academic complaint form to provide us with a brief description of the issue.