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Academic complaints can be related to areas such as grading, assignments, syllabus related items, program admission, academic advising, and other course-related conduct that impairs learning.

For information about this and other available options to address concerns, please visit student complaint processes.

Students making a complaint are protected from retaliation. Employees found to have engaged in retaliatory action or conduct will be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal.

If your concern involves discrimination, civil rights violations, or sexual misconduct/harassment, please contact the WOU Office of Human Resources (503-838-8490 or hr@wou.edu).
If your concern involves allegations of Title IX violations, please contact the WOU Title IX Coordinator (Judy Vanderburg, 503-838-8490, vanderj@wou.edu).

A complaint form is available here: wou.edu/provost/student-grievances/academic-complaint-form. Use of this form is NOT mandatory. If you choose to not use this form, we recommend that you review it and address the listed questions in your complaint.

Action Tips
Step 1:
Instructor
If you haven’t already, we strongly encourage you to talk to your instructor about your concern. However, we understand that this isn’t always possible or appropriate, so it is not required.
Step 2:
Division Chair
Notify the division chair of your concern, then meet with them to discuss a resolution.
  • A complaint form is available to help you frame your concerns. Use of this form is NOT mandatory. If you choose to not use this form, we recommend that you review it and address the listed questions in your complaint.
  • If your concern involves program admission or bullying and/or abusive behavior, please begin at step 3 (college dean).
  • A list of division chairs and the subjects/majors they are responsible for can be found at wou.edu/provost/student-grievances/academic-units/
  • If the instructor is also the division chair and you are not comfortable talking to them about your concern, you may skip this step.
  • Before you talk to the division chair, think about how you want your concern to be resolved. What action would you like the instructor and/or WOU to take?
  • There is no time limit for submitting a complaint; however please keep in mind that a delay in submitting a complaint could limit the university’s ability to investigate and respond.
  • You may submit a complaint anonymously. This may limit the university’s ability to respond or act upon the complaint; however, the university will investigate the complaint to the extent that is reasonable in relation to the scope of the information that was provided.
Step 3:
College Dean
Notify the dean of your concern, then meet with them to discuss a resolution.
  • A complaint form is available to help you frame your concerns. Use of this form is NOT mandatory. If you choose to not use this form, we recommend that you review it and address the listed questions in your complaint.
  • If the division chair is unable to resolve your concern, they can help you bring your concern to the appropriate college dean. If you prefer, you may send your concern to the dean’s office yourself.
  • A list of academic deans and the divisions they are responsible for can be found at wou.edu/provost/student-grievances/academic-units/
  • Before you talk to the dean, think about how you want your concern to be resolved. What action would you like the instructor and/or WOU to take?
Step 4:
Provost
Notify the provost of your concern, then meet with them and the college dean to discuss a resolution.
  • If the division chair is unable to resolve your concern, they can help you bring your concern to the provost. If you prefer, you may send your concern to the Provost’s Office yourself.
  • The Provost’s Office can be reached at 503-838-8271 or provost@wou.edu. The office is located at Lieuallen Administration Building, Room 202.
  • Before you talk to the provost, think about how you want your concern to be resolved. What action would you like the instructor and/or WOU to take?
  • The provost’s decision is generally final. The two exceptions are explained in Step 5.
Step 5:
HECC
Appeal to HECC
(only in cases with a violation of law)
  • In some circumstances, the student may bring an academic complaint to Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC):
  • Note: In some situations, the instructor may be able to appeal the provost’s decision through the grievance process that is part of the faculty collective bargaining agreement. If this occurs, you will be provided with information about that process.

The information provided in an academic complaint may be protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Employees at Western Oregon University are required by federal law to report any incident of sexual misconduct. If your complaint describes an incident of sexual misconduct that has occurred to you or another student, we must report that information to the Office of Student Affairs. Reporting this information helps the university to safeguard students and get students the help and support needed. You have the right to maintain your privacy. If you would like additional information about sexual misconduct response at WOU, including information on who you can talk to that is not required to report such incidents, please visit wou.edu/student/sexualmisconduct-resources

 

 

 

1 For the Academic Complaint Process, bullying or abusive behaviors include: threatening or intimidating behavior or words (written or oral); obscenities/profanities (verbal or gestures) directed at a person; threatening or obscene gestures, jokes, or cartoons; degrading a person or a group on the basis of a personal or cultural characteristic; taunting, jeering, mocking, or humiliating another person through acts or words; screaming and/or yelling at others; insulting someone, especially in the presence of others; or endangering the safety of an individual or individuals.

 


Contact

Office of Academic Affairs

503-838-8271 | or e-mail: provost@wou.edu | Location: Lieuallen Administration Building, Room 202