Graduate studies can be exhilarating, challenging, and, at times, overwhelming. It is rarely mistaken as being an "easy" route by anyone's measure, and if you find you have entered a particularly difficult time period, know that you are not alone. 

Conflict Resolution and Student Grievances 

  • Ombuds Office – A confidential place to surface, voice, clarify and discuss university-related issues. Can help graduate students identify options to resolve disputes, to determine a course of action and to aid in the informal resolution of conflicts and concerns.

  • Student Support and Case Management - A team which can connect students with resources & support on multiple fronts.

  • Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution – This office can help manage & resolve conflicts, including with other students.

  • Student Legal Services - Services to help students resolve or minimize their legal situations. 

  • Graduate School Grievance Process and Procedures - A process to address academic grievances through a two part process involving the academic unit and the Graduate School.

Graduate Student Academic Concerns

Whenever possible, graduate students should seek informal resolution of academic issues and concerns directly with their faculty advisor, committee, or other involved individuals.  If this is not feasible or the graduate student is unsatisfied with the outcome they should speak to their program’s Director of Graduate Studies (also commonly referred to as the Associate Chair). Graduate director’s responsibilities include ensuring fair and equitable treatment of graduate students. The graduate director will advocate on behalf of the student with the faculty advisor or others if appropriate.

If the issue is not resolved through informal avenues, a student may contact the Graduate School to discuss further options.  Students may choose to file a formal grievance with their graduate program. If the student is dissatisfied with the program level grievance decision, then the student may subsequently submit a formal grievance appeal to the Graduate School. 

A number of matters do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School grievance process and procedure and have their own avenues for resolution.  These include:grade appeals/academic decisions, allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination or harassment or retaliation, allegations of research misconduct, allegations of unprofessional faculty conduct, and issues of student conduct. Additional information can be found in section II.D of the Graduate School’s grievance process and procedures.

Graduate Student Appointment Conflicts

If a student has concerns about appointment duties, time commitment, compensation, etc., these should first be addressed to the employment supervisor. If that is not feasible, or the graduate student is unsatisfied with the outcome they should speak to the employing department’s Director of Graduate Studies (also commonly referred to as the Associate Chair). Graduate director’s responsibilities include ensuring fair and equitable treatment of graduate students and adjudicating any inconsistences between the employment contract (e.g., employment offer letter) and actual scope of work. The graduate director will advocate on behalf of the student with the employment supervisor or other faculty if appropriate.  

 After working with the graduate director, if the student still feels that they have not obtained a successful resolution they may contact the Graduate School at graduate.school@colorado.edu  to discuss further options. 

 If the issue is not resolved through informal avenues, a student may choose to file a formal grievance with their employing program. If the student is dissatisfied with the program level grievance decision, then the student may subsequently submit a formal grievance to the Graduate School. 

 Discrimination and Harassment 

  • Don't Ignore It: For seeking confidential support, reporting concerns, and learning skills for helping as friends and bystanders.  

  • Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance - implements and enforces three university policies: Discrimination and Harassment; Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking; and Conflict of Interest in Cases of Amorous Relationship 

  • Office of Victim Assistance - free and confidential information, consultation, support, advocacy and short-term counseling services to graduate students who have experienced a traumatic, disturbing or life disruptive event 

 Physical and Mental Health Resources 

Emergency Funding 

  • Graduate Student Emergency Aid Fund 
    Intended to help meet the financial needs of Boulder graduate students who encounter an emergency situation resulting in unforeseen expenses during their degree program. Please submit any questions or applications to graduate.contest@colorado.edu

  • Medical Expense Assistance Fund 
    The Student Health Board’s Medical Expense Assistance Fund (MEAF) is designed to financially assist students who are unable to pay incurred medical bills or prescription costs. 

  • ISSS Emergency Financial Grants 
    Every fall and spring semester, ISSS awards limited emergency grant funds for continuing international students with unexpected financial emergencies. Grant amounts vary according to available funds and demonstrated need. 

Food Insecurity

 Leave of Absence 

Leave of Absence Form - Graduate students must be enrolled each fall and spring semester in order to remain in active student status. Applying for a leave of absence allows students to remain active in their program for up to one year without enrolling.  

  

Mental Health Crisis or Emergency? 

If you need same-day crisis or urgent support, please call 303-492-2277 for 24/7 support. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.