Student Complaints Concerning Faculty Action

Student complaints concerning actions of faculty members are pursued first through the mechanisms established in each college for this purpose. Although there is some variation among colleges, these mechanisms generally involve the following steps: 

  1. The student first should attempt to resolve the issue with the faculty member involved.
  2. Lacking a satisfactory outcome, the student should turn to the departmental executive officer, if any.
  3. If a satisfactory outcome still is not obtained, the student may take the matter to the collegiate dean.

The colleges of Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, and Nursing have written policies and procedures for resolving complaints. In addition, some colleges (Dentistry, Engineering, Law, and Nursing) also have established an ombudsperson system as an alternative mechanism for handling student complaints. Information concerning the mechanisms established in a specific college is available in the collegiate dean’s office.

Graduate students should consult with the associate dean for academic affairs in the Graduate College concerning mechanisms for resolving complaints. Generally speaking, an academic complaint filed by a graduate student will be resolved without respect to the grievant’s employment status. Employment-related grievances are resolved in one of two ways. Graduate students who are not members of the UE-COGS bargaining unit should refer to the general University student-employee grievance protocol set forth in Section I below (“Student Employee Grievance Procedure”). For graduate student assistants, the procedure contained within the collective bargaining agreement between the State Board of Regents and the United Electrical & Machine Workers Union, Local 896-COGS, is the exclusive remedy for resolving employment-related grievances.

A student dissatisfied with the outcome of an academic complaint against a faculty member at the collegiate level may ask the Office of the Provost to review the matter. In addition, a student dismissed from a college or from the University for academic reasons may ask the Office of the Provost to review the matter. The function of a review by the Office of the Provost is to ensure (a) that the outcome was supported by substantial evidence in the record when the record is viewed as a whole, and (b) that relevant procedures of the department and/or college were followed. Appeal to the Office of the Provost should include: (a) a letter from the student explaining in what way the outcome was not supported by substantial evidence and/or relevant procedures were not followed; and (b) copies of all previous documents provided by or to the student in the departmental and collegiate reviews.

If a student’s complaint concerning a faculty member’s action cannot be resolved through the mechanisms described above, the student may file a formal complaint of violation of the Statement on Professional Ethics and Academic Responsibility as described in section III-15 of the University Operations Manual ( Such a complaint will be handled following the Faculty Dispute Procedures established for dealing with alleged ethical violations, found in section III-29.7 of the University Operations Manual, on the web at:

  1. Student Rights

    1. Student Bill of Rights
    2. Policies Related to Student Rights and Responsibilities
    3. Student Records Policy
    4. Student Complaints Concerning Faculty Actions
    5. Student Complaints Concerning Actions By Teaching Assistants
    6. University Policy on Human Rights
    7. Office of the University Ombudsperson
    8. University Policy on Sexual Harassment
    9. University Policy on Consensual Relationships Involving Students
    10. University Policy on Anti-Harassment
    11. Student Employee Grievance Procedure
    12. Complaints of Discrimination
    13. Disability Protection Policy
    14. Anti-Retaliation Policy
    15. Statement of Religious Diversity and the University Calendar
    16. Sexual Misconduct Involving Students, including Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment
      1. Sanctioning Guidelines for Sexual Assault
  2. Student Responsibilities

    1. Code of Student Life (2017-2018 academic year) 
    2. Student Judicial Procedure (2017-2018 academic year)
    3. Academic Misconduct
    4. Policy Regarding Use of Illegal Drugs and Alcohol
      1. Responsible Action Protocol
      2. Minimum Sanctions for Violations of the University Alcohol and Drug Policies
    5. Uniform Rules of Personal Conduct at Universities Under the Jurisdiction of the State Board of Regent
    6. Judicial Procedure for Alleged Violations of the Regents’ Rules of Personal Conduct
    7. Legal Assistance for Students
    8. Use of Campus Outdoor Areas
    9. Campus Policy on Violence 
    10. Policy on Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
    11. Frequently Asked Questions about Code of Student Life
    12. Flowchart for Student Judicial Procedure
  3. Student Organizations 

    1. Registration of Student Organizations
    2. Administration of Student Organizations
    3. Discipline of Registered Student Organizations
  4. Miscellaneous

    1. Registration of Student Automobiles
    2. Lost & Found
    3. Reporting Correct Residential Address and E-mail Address
    4. Mandatory Student Fees Policy
    5. Voter Registration
    6. Picture Student Identification
    7. Graduation Rate
    8. Critical Mentoring and Student Support (Critical MASS)
    9. Federal Student Aid Penalties for Illegal Drug Convictions
    10. Annual Reports
    11. Dean Clearance Letters
  5. Campus Crime Policies & Statistics

    1. Department of Public Safety
    2. Safety & Respect
  6. Tables                                                                                          

    1. Controlled Substances - Uses & Effects
    2. Federal Tracking Penalties - Marijuana and Penalties for Possession 
    3. Penalties under Iowa Law for Manufacturing, Delivering, Possessing with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, a Counterfeit Substance or a Simulated Controlled Substance 
    4. Summary of Penalties for Various Offense Categories 

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