This policy applies across all Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences divisions. It includes all Decker College courses, including those cross-listed with other programs/schools that have a Decker College faculty member as the primary instructor.

Grievance Policy

The following will be used to resolve an academic grievance brought by students or faculty at Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences. A grievance involves a case in which one party believes another party has damaged them/the University and seeks redress or resolution of a perceived damage. Possible cases may include, but are not limited to, disagreements over course or program requirements, the process by which a grade was determined, theft/misuse of intellectual property, unfair treatment or whether due process was followed in a particular matter. Interpersonal conflicts that do not affect a student's grades, academic progress, intellectual property and similar conflicts cannot be grieved.

When the grievant (person who initiates a grievance) is a student, the grievant must be an enrolled (registered) student, and the formal complaint must be filed before the end of the semester following the semester during which the aggrieved incident occurred. Summer and winter terms are not considered semesters; thus, the grievance must be filed before the end of either the fall or spring term following the semester in which the in/actions allegedly occurred.

The grievant should first contact the Decker College dean's designee, who will assist the grievant through the grievance process, which begins with the informal grievance procedure and may result in resolution of the grievance. Any informal or mediated processes must be completed prior to beginning the formal process.

Informal Grievance Procedure

  1. Informal resolution process: The grievant must first discuss the issue with the person against whom the complaint is directed unless the grievant feels uncomfortable discussing the issue with this person or does not believe that a resolution can be achieved by a discussion. If a discussion is not possible/feasible, the grievant may proceed to the informal mediation process, step 2a (below).
  2. Informal mediation process:
    1. If no mutually agreeable resolution is reached during step 1 (informal resolution process, above), the grievant must next seek resolution from the course coordinator, if the course has one.
    2. If no mutually agreeable resolution is reached during step 2a, or if there is no course coordinator, the grievant must then seek resolution from the appropriate program director. If a mutually agreeable resolution is not reached at this stage of the process, the individual may proceed to the formal process of review by the formal Grievance Committee.
    3. If the grievant feels that meeting with any person above will involve reprisals or other unpleasant consequences, the grievant should meet directly with the dean's designee. Following this meeting, the dean's designee will inform, via email, the person(s) against whom the complaint is made about, the complaint and the issues involved.
    4. The dean's designee will attempt to mediate the dispute through discussions with each of the involved parties, together or separately.

Formal Grievance Procedure

If there is no informal resolution as outlined above, the formal grievance process is the next step for remedy.

The grievant must provide a written chronology of events leading up to the specific grievance. This chronology should describe the informal ways remedy was sought, and detail the specific complaint, i.e., the issue, event or circumstance that is being grieved. This detailed, signed chronology will be submitted to the dean's designee, who will review it and ensure that all means of resolution through the informal process have been exhausted, if appropriate. If the dean's designee determines that the informal process has not been completed or that there has been no reason presented why the informal resolution process has not been completed, the dean's designee will direct the grievant to return to the informal process. If the dean's designee determines that the informal process has been completed or the informal process is not appropriate, the dean's designee may attempt mediation between the involved parties; however, if unsuccessful, the dean's designee will convene a Grievance Committee for a hearing.

Grievance Committee

The dean's designee will initiate the formal process by convening the Grievance Committee.

  1. The committee will consist of three faculty members, preferably one from each school within DCNHS and at least one of whom must be voting faculty, as well as two enrolled DCNHS student members.
  2. Any member of the committee who is a party in the grievance is automatically disqualified from that hearing, and that member is automatically recused. Any member who may hold bias against either party in the grievance is automatically recused. Should the committee member not recuse, the other members of the committee will decide, by a written ballot, whether that member will be disqualified from that hearing. Recused members will be replaced by comparable (student for student, faculty for faculty) committee members.
  3. The committee will elect a chair from among its membership by a simple majority vote of the committee members.
  4. A committee quorum will consist of at least three committee members with the requirement that at least one of these be a student and two be faculty members.

The Grievance Committee is not a legal or judicial body, but an advisory one. The committee hears and deliberates cases involving grievances, but renders no binding verdicts, judgments or decisions. After evaluating a case, the committee sends the dean's designee its nonbinding findings and recommendation(s) as to the action that might be taken. If the dean's designee is a party to the case, the dean of DCNHS will appoint another designee to decide the case. The final disposition of a case is not within the authority of this committee.

Notification of Parties Involved

The chair of the Grievance Committee will notify all parties of the charges under consideration not less than seven working days prior to the scheduled hearing. This notification will be in writing and is a part of the grievance record. This notification will inform all parties, with sufficient particularity and within sufficient time to ensure an opportunity to prepare for the hearing. All parties will be informed of the following:

  • The specific charges brought against them (allegation, time, place and a brief description of the circumstances of the occurrence and parties involved)
  • The time and place to appear before the committee for a hearing
  • Their right to review documents before the hearing or during the hearing
  • Their right to have one person of one's own choosing appear with them in a support capacity; this support person cannot directly address the committee or parties involved in the grievance
  • Their right to be present at any portion of the meeting when evidence is heard concerning their case
  • Their right to bring questions to the committee or address the committee, but not the other party
  • Their right to bring witnesses and/or present evidence concerning their case
  • Their right to request that any person involved in the case be present at the time they appear before the committee
  • Their right to challenge the impartiality of any member of the committee, in accordance with (Grievance Committee, #2 above)
  • Their right, after the dean has made a decision, to appeal the decision
  • The procedures and policy of the Grievance Committee as outlined in the present document

Hearing of the Grievance

The hearing will consist of at least three parts:

  1. The initial presentation of evidence and all relevant information by each party and questioning of each party by committee members
  2. Discussion of the committee members with the involved parties, if appropriate
  3. The deliberations of the evidence by the committee and the formulation of its recommendation to the dean's designee

All parties have the right to attend and participate in the presentation and questioning phases of the committee hearing, either in person or electronically. If one of the parties is not present at the hearing or otherwise refuses to participate, then the hearing is conducted with the party absent. As soon as a named party appears before the committee, the chairperson will review the named party's rights and privileges and the chairperson will acquaint the named party with the purpose of the meeting, which is to assess the evidence in light of the full context in which the grievance occurred and to render a fair and equitable recommendation to the dean's designee. Disruptive behavior by the parties, the witnesses or their advisors may result in removal from the proceedings. During the deliberation phase, no one other than committee members will be present and no new evidence may be introduced at that time.

Decisions and Notifications

The dean's designee will review the committee chair's written summary of the committee's recommendation. After reviewing the written summary, the dean's designee will write a report and submit this to the DCNHS dean. The final disposition will be filed in the Decker College Dean's Office, and the dean's designee will report the dean's decision to the parties involved in the grievance and the committee chair.

Appeals Process

Students who wish to appeal the results of a grievance hearing may file an appeal in accordance with the Decker College Academic Honesty and Grievance Appeals Policy.

Where to File Complaints

Students wishing to file complaints with accrediting or state agencies can do so by contacting one of the following organizations:


Middle States Commission on Higher Education
3624 Market St., Suite 2 West
Philadelphia, PA 19104

New York State Education Department
State University of New York
Central Administration
State University Plaza
Albany, NY 12246

Specific Professional Bodies

Physical Therapy
Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapist Education (CAPTE)
APTA Accreditation Department (submit complaints here)

The policy above was initially accepted by the Decker School of Nursing in April 2006 and was reviewed and re-accepted by Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences in March 2021.