Although rare, disagreements can arise that may affect a student's progress towards the completion of the degree. The parties involved in such a dispute should make a good faith effort to discuss and resolve the disagreement. The following guidelines may be helpful.

Step 1.Identify the problem; clearly define what happened and what you perceive is needed to resolve the issue.

Step 2. Approach the other person or group involved with the dispute one-on-one. Set up a mutually agreeable time to talk; listen and ask to be listened to; use "I" statements when speaking; avoid assigning blame or leveling accusations.

Step 3. If these steps do not culminate in a resolution, the parties involved with the dispute should agree to approach an impartial third party, a mediator, who will respect confidentiality and with whom the situation can be discussed. The Program Director will suggest such a third party if asked. The mediator may be able to help the parties involved reach a resolution.

Step 4. If no resolution is found then you may submit the disagreement to the Graduate Program for arbitration. Please follow these procedures:

  1. Each party in the dispute should submit a written description of the disagreement to the Program Director. Please include a description of the actions taken to resolve the dispute to date and the name of the mediator who was involved.
  2. The Graduate Program Director will review the written documents. This group will make a determination as to whether or not the disagreement is Program-related and thus appropriate for arbitration at the Program level.
  3. If the dispute is found to be Program-related, the Graduate Program Director, together with the Graduate Program Admissions and Advisory Committee, will act as an arbitrator. If the dispute involves the Program Director or any member of the Program Admissions and Advisory Committee, then that individual will be excused from the deliberations. The Committee may request additional information from the parties involved. The Program Director and the Admissions and Advisory Committee will meet to discuss the problem within 14 calendar days following receipt of the written document or following the receipt of any additional materials. In the event that a quorum of the Committee is not available within this time period, the Committee will meet as soon thereafter as a quorum can be gathered. The Committee may also ask the parties in the dispute to appear before the committee to provide additional information.
  4. The result of the Committee's deliberations will be communicated in writing to the parties involved in the dispute within seven (7) calendar days after the meeting.

Step 5. To Chair for final review of arbitration before proceeding to Appeals Board.

If a party involved in the dispute is not satisfied with the outcome of the arbitration process, an appeal may be submitted to the Graduate School Appeals Board. Please see the Graduate Student Handbook for specific information about the appeals process.