Graduate Student Nondiscrimination Grievance Procedures

Effective Date

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Office of Primary Responsibility

School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Summary of Policy

Dartmouth College is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination to assure that its educational programs and activities are available to all students without regard to sex, race, color, religion, handicap, or national or ethnic origin.

Reason for Policy

Dartmouth is committed to the principle of equal opportunity for all its students, faculty, staff, and applicants for admission and employment. For that reason, Dartmouth prohibits any form of discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, national origin, citizenship, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other legally protected status in the administration of and access to the College's programs and activities, and in conditions of admission and employment. Dartmouth adheres to all applicable state and federal equal opportunity laws and regulations.

Affected Parties

School of Graduate & Advanced Studies Students

Policy Statement

Dartmouth is dedicated to establishing and maintaining a safe and nondiscriminatory learning, living, and working environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. The College’s Principle of Community establishes that interactions between and among members of the Dartmouth community should be based on integrity, responsibility, and consideration so that all may fully access and benefit from the opportunities the College provides. The College grievance procedure outlined below provides a means to assure prompt due process to any graduate student who believes that she or he has been discriminated against on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, handicap, or national or ethnic origin.

Association with Dartmouth College involves participation in a free and open community where all students are recognized and rewarded on the basis of individual performance, rather than on any particular personal convictions or preferences, including sexual or affectional orientation. Any graduate student who feels discriminated against for any of these reasons may also use this grievance procedure.

Resolution By Informal Negotiation

Any graduate student who believes he or she has been discriminated against should first seek a resolution of the problem through informal discussion. Initially, the student should attempt to discuss the problem with the faculty member, administrative officer, staff person or student directly concerned. If a resolution is not reached through discussion, the student should then bring the problem to the attention of the appropriate department head or administrative officer in charge.

In cases where a student is uncomfortable about discussing the problem with the party directly concerned or is uncertain whether to initiate a grievance, he or she may seek, in confidence, the advice of the Affirmative Action Officer or the Dean of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies who, with the student's permission, will seek to resolve the problem through discussion with the involved parties.


If a resolution has not been achieved within ten working days from the time the grievance was first raised, the student should prepare a written statement of the allegations and submit it to the Dean of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. The Dean of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, or the Dean's designee, will have ten days to: (1) achieve a settlement by negotiating with the parties identified in the complaint; or (2) submit the case for consideration by the Committee for Student Grievances.

In regard to written complaints involving academic matters, the Dean of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, or designee, will have two weeks to: (1) achieve a settlement by negotiating with the parties involved; or (2) submit the case for consideration by the Provost. The Provost shall consult with appropriate faculty members involved and shall also meet with the student bringing the complaint before making a final decision with regard to the matter. The decision of the Provost on the complaint shall be forwarded to the President for his review and disposition as outlined in the Presidential Review section of this document.

Committee On Student Grievances

The Grievance Committee shall be a committee appointed by the Dean of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and composed of two students from a slate nominated by the elected graduate student representatives and two members of the faculty or administration. At least one of the members of the Committee will be female and one a minority with the further constraint that both will not be students. The Affirmative Action Officer shall serve as an advisor to the Committee. The Chair of the Committee shall be the Chairperson of the Council on Graduate Studies or his/her designee.

Formal Hearing

The Committee on Student Grievances will conduct a hearing as soon as is practical after full written notification of the grievance by the Chairperson. Both the student who initiated the grievance and the person against whom the grievance is lodged may make statements and bring evidence; either party will be allowed to bring witnesses and/or an advisor. Each party has the right to be represented by counsel or other representative. However, the College has no obligation to provide counsel for the complainant. The college will normally not be represented by legal counsel unless the complainant chooses to be represented by counsel. If any party intends to employ legal counsel, he/she shall inform the Dean's Office of this fact no later than 72 hours prior to the hearing, and that Office shall provide such information to the other party and to the Chairperson of the Grievance Committee. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable to any hearing before the Grievance Committee, and any evidence or testimony which the Committee believes to be relevant to a fair determination of the complaint may be admitted. The Committee reserves the right to exclude incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial and unduly repetitious evidence. The Committee may seek additional information or testimony which it finds relevant to resolving the grievance, and may also, at its discretion, establish additional procedures for governing the hearing.

The Chairperson of the Grievance Committee shall rule on all matters of procedure and admissibility of evidence. Any member of the Committee not concurring in the ruling of the chair may request a private session of the Committee for debate on the point.

Upon either party's request, a verbatim record shall be kept of all sessions in which testimony and evidence are present regarding the case, and all parties to the hearing may have access to this record. All findings, recommendations, and conclusions of the Grievance Committee shall be based solely on the evidence presented as part of the hearing. A majority vote of the Committee members present shall determine the final decision.

The time frames described above may, in extenuating circumstances, be adjusted by the Committee. The definition of "extenuating circumstances" will be determined by a majority vote of the Committee.


The Committee shall reach a decision within five working days after the termination of hearings. (In case the hearings have to be adjourned to gather more information, the total adjournment time should not exceed ten working days.) The Committee will forward its decision and recommendations to the President of the College.

Presidential Review

Within twenty working days, the President may accept the findings and recommendations; reject the findings and recommendations; request that the grievance be reheard, taking into account new information; propose alternative methods of rectifying the situation if discrimination has occurred and financial expenditures are involved; or take any other action the President deems appropriate. The final decision of the President is binding and shall not be subject to review under any other grievance procedure in force in the institution.