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Addressing Student Academic Complaints

Effective Date: November 2008
Last Update: April 2009
Responsible University Officer:
  • Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Policy Owner:
  • Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Policy Contact:

Printed on: . Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.


Each campus will develop and maintain processes for the good faith review and resolution of student academic complaints that will:

  • encourage informal resolution of alleged violations at the lowest unit level;
  • allow for a formal resolution mechanism if not resolved informally; and
  • provide for appeal to a final decision maker.

The final decision following appeal is not appealable further within the University.


Student academic complaints are brought by students regarding the University's provision of education and academic services affecting their role as students and must be based on a claimed violation of a University rule, policy, or established practice.

Student academic complaints do not include student complaints regarding:

  • their University employment
  • disciplinary action under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code
  • grades
  • University admission decisions

Relief Available

Resolution of complaints under this policy may include student reinstatement or other corrective action for the benefit of the student, including refunds, but may not award monetary damages, or direct disciplinary action against any employee of the University.
This policy does not limit the University's right to change rules, policies, or practices related to the provision of academic services and education.


To implement Board of Regents Policy: Conflict Resolution Process for Student Academic Complaints, and to comply with law, including Title IX. This policy provides a framework for resolving student academic complaints that is simple and fair and allows for both informal and formal resolution of conflicts. This policy implements criteria and requirements for accreditation established by the Higher Learning Commission.





  1. I don't agree with the grade I received from my instructor. Is there anything I can do?

    While grades are not subject to complaint, you are entitled to an explanation for the grade assigned. If you are not able to get an explanation for the grade from your instructor, consult the appropriate director for undergraduate students or department chair. Students also may wish to seek assistance from the Student Conflict Resolution Office. An instructor's judgment is assigning a grade is not a subject for a formal hearing, and can only be reviewed through these informal processes.

  2. I have been dismissed by my college for academic reasons.  What steps can I take to challenge the dismissal?  What is my enrollment status while the dispute is pending?

    If your college or program has an appeal process for dismissals, you must follow that process before filing a student academic complaint.  Your enrollment continues while the appeal is pending.  If your appeal is denied, your enrollment ends and you may file a student academic complaint at that point. If your academic complaint is successful, you then would be reinstated as a student.

  3. A student has a complaint about sexual harassment by a University employee. Where should the student go?

    A student with a complaint of sexual harassment by a University employee (1) can seek assistance from the campus equal opportunity office (see Administrative Policy: Sexual Harassment) or (2) can bring a student academic complaint under this policy and procedure, where applicable. If the student chooses the latter, the University will provide training for resolving the complaint under this procedure to all administrators and other staff who are authorized to investigate or resolve student complaints of sexual harassment. Colleges can contact the Office of General Counsel (612-624-4100) or the campus's equal opportunity office to arrange the training.


Primary Contact(s)
Suzanne Bardouche (undergraduate)
Belinda Cheung (graduate)
Gerald Pepper (undergraduate)
Erik Brown (graduate)
Bart Finzel
Lori Carrell


Student Academic Complaint
Complaints brought by students regarding the University's provision of academic services and education affecting their role as students.
Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic advancement in any University activity or program; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis of employment or academic decisions affecting this individual in any University activity or program; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment in any University activity of program.


Academic Complaint Officer
Comply with the Conflict Resolution Process for Student Academic Compliants procedures.
Ensure that campus has processes consistent with policy.
Schedule a hearing should the Academic Complaint Officer refer the matter to a College Hearing Panel.
Office of the General Counsel
Provide legal advice to the University and provide legal representation to the University respondent when the student is represented by a lawyer.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Ensure that campus has processes consistent with policy.



August 2014 - Comprehensive Review. Minor Revision. Edits were made to clarify existing procedures and action steps.
April 2009 - Added question and answer to FAQ about what to do when Students have a complaint about sexual harrassment by University Employees.
November 2008

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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on October 14, 2014