Grievance Policy - Graduate Program, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The purpose of this document is to provide graduate students in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO) guidance for resolving grievances that arise in association with their work in EBIO. These grievances include, but are not limited to:

“academic issues, such as arbitrary, inconsistent, or capricious actions taken against a graduate student; deviations from stated grading and examination policies as they appear on syllabi, on assignments, or in departmental guidelines for graduate study; failure to disclose in writing reasons behind termination or dismissal, either from the program or from employment or other support; coercion or unprofessional conduct on the part of classroom or research faculty; unfair treatment on issues related to graduate student appointments; unfairness in the application of graduate requirements or regulations; retaliation for a complaint or grievance; and generally speaking any actions taken by a program that relate to the rights of graduate students and that impair the student’s ability to make normal progress toward the degree.” (from the Graduate School Academic Grievance Policy,

This document does not address issues of academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, or disabilities, which are covered elsewhere by university-wide policies (see appendix with links to these documents).

For any grievance incurred by a graduate student, the following procedures should be followed in order, if possible.

1) Informal low-level resolution. The graduate student is encouraged to meet initially with the person(s) with whom they are having a conflict to try to resolve the problems through discussion. If all parties agree, an ombuds person can be used if this helps facilitate communication between the persons involved. The facilitator could be the Graduate Director, the Department Chair, or someone from the CU Ombuds Office (; 303 492-5077). If the graduate student is not comfortable meeting with the person(s) with whom they are in conflict, then they are encouraged to meet with a member of their graduate advisory committee, the EBIO Graduate Director or a member of that committee, or the Chair of the Department to discuss their concerns and seek a resolution.

2) Written complaint. If discussion fails to solve the conflict, or the nature of the conflict is considered of a serious nature after consultation with one of the parties listed above, then the graduate student should submit a written complaint to the Graduate Director of the department (or the Chair of the department if the complaint is against the Graduate Director). This complaint should be submitted within 28 days of the event that precipitated the student’s grievance. Events older than 28 days can still be considered by the committee/Graduate Director, but it may not be possible to directly address such events without thorough documentation. The complaint should provide detail on the nature of the conflict, as well as the requested action(s) to address it. If there are supporting documents, copies should be provided with the written complaint. Any documents, including the complaint, will be shared with both parties.

3) Grievance committee. When a written complaint is received by the Graduate Director (or the Department Chair), s(he) will appoint a four member ad-hoc committee consisting of two faculty members, one from EBIO and the Graduate Director from another department, a non-voting graduate student (elected representative, either the representative to the faculty or an elected alternative), and the Graduate Chair (or Department Chair). This committee will review the case, including meeting separately with both parties, and provide a written ruling on the grievance to both parties within 28 days of receiving the written complaint.

4) Appeal procedure. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the written complaint, s(he) may appeal to the Graduate School (procedures found at This step can only be taken after all possible resolution procedures at the department level have been exhausted.

Reporting discrimination and harrassment.

Discrimination and harrassment should be reported through the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC).  There are several options for reporting, including confidential options.    Please note that TAs, Instructors, GPTIs, and others are all mandated reporters.  The campus has produced a video explaining what this means and when reporting is mandatory.

Additional Contacts for Campus Resources

Center for Multicultural Affairs: The Cultural Unity & Engagement Center provides support and resources that promote academic, personal, and professional success for all students, including innovative programs and services that address that intersections of our multiple identities with special focus given to underrepresented populations on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus.
Counseling and Psychological Services: A Community Action Center: Our goal at CAPS is to enhance the success of all students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. We do that by the twin objectives of providing psychological help for students when problems occur and working with all parts of the campus to build a community that actively promotes the well-being and competence of all its members.
Disability Services:
There are two offices at CU Boulder to support the needs of persons with disabilities. The Office of Institutional Equity Compliance (OIEC) handles accommodation requests for employees of the University (including TAs and RAs) and the Disability Services Office handles accommodation requests for student related needs.
(1) Employment Accomodations: Office of Institutional Equity Compliance
Phone number:  (303) 492-9725
Fax number: (303) 492-5005
(2) Student Accomodations: Disability Services
Phone number:  303-492-8671
Fax number: 303-492-5601
Gender and Sexuality Center: The Gender and Sexuality Center is here to help gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans*, queer, intersex, and allied (GLBTQIA) students, staff, and faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder. They provide information dissemination and referral; educational, cultural, and social programming; advocacy and voice for the GLBTQIA community at the University of Colorado Boulder.
303-492-1377; please also see their facebook page for up-to-date announcements about events
Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (formerly Discrimination and Harassment): The OIEC also enforces the University of Colorado Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures and the University of Colorado Policy on Conflict of Interest in Cases of Amorous Relationships. 
Office of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement: The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement (ODECE) works to achieve the University's commitment to inclusive excellence and uphold it as a priority across the campus.   They maintain a variety of resources for inclusive teaching practices, mentoring and advising, hiring practices, and more.
Office of Student Conduct (formerly Office of Judicial Affairs): The Office of Student Conduct assists in maintaining the general welfare of the university community by promoting individual responsibility and personal development. The disciplinary process is designed to supplement the educational mission of the University by encouraging learning outcomes and responsible decision making principles through its accountability practices.
Office of Victim Assistance: The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) offers free confidential information, support, advocacy, and short-term counseling to students, faculty and staff at CU, including their significant others. OVA is a separate office, not connected to the police department. Our office primarily focuses on situations involving traumatic events, including, but not limited to physical assault and hazing, bias motivated incidents, death, discrimination and harassment including sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, serious accidents, sexual assault, and stalking.
Ombuds Office: The Ombuds Office is a confidential, impartial, informal and independent problem-solving and conflict resolution resource for all members of the University community.
Standing Committee on Research Misconduct: 303-735-5809
University of Colorado Police Department: 303-492-6666
Wardenburg Psychological Health and Psychiatry: 303-492-5654
Women’s Resource Center: 303-492-5713, TTY 303-735-0377

Download the Grievance Policy here