Rights and Responsibilities

Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities for Campus Membership

Expectations for Graduate Student Progress and Performance

Graduate students are also expected to meet the academic standards of the University, including:

  • Maintaining graduate degree status (full-time enrollment is required for employment, fellowships, and financial aid)
  • Achieving satisfactory performance as evaluated by faculty
  • Making timely progress through required program milestones

Personal Conduct

Students registered in the University of California have an obligation to act in a manner compatible with the University's function as an educational institution. Graduate students are responsible for meeting not only the academic standards outlined above, but also standards for personal conduct and responsibility outlined in the General Catalog and Schedule of Classes. More information about polices and regulations is available from the Office of Student Life, Campus Regulations Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations, and Students.

Instances of possible misconduct on campus should be reported immediately to the Office of Judicial Affairs located within the Office of Student Life, Student Resource Building 2260, (805) 893-4569, and to the UC Santa Barbara Campus Police(emergency from on-campus phone: 9-911) particularly if violent or threatening actions are involved. Questions about matters involving personal conduct and responsibility should be directed to the Assistant Dean of Students, Office of Judicial Affairs.

Alleged violations of University regulations are investigated by appropriate officials. Charges of student misconduct are investigated by the Office of Student Life and may result in the convening of a disciplinary hearing by the student-faculty committee responsible for such matters.

Procedures for Graduate Student Disputes

While it is the goal of the University that all individuals are treated fairly, there are times when a graduate student may feel that s/he has been treated unfairly or that his/her rights have been violated.

University policy strongly encourages students to use all appropriate avenues for informal resolution before initiating a formal grievance. If a grievance occurs, first talk to the individual concerned. If it is not possible to meet with that person, or you feel uncomfortable:

  1. Start within your department with faculty, the Department Faculty Graduate Advisor, or the Chair
  2. If department resources have been exhausted, contact staff members at the Graduate Division or the Office of the Ombuds

Students often feel uncomfortable raising these issues and wait until it is too late. It is best to raise your concerns as soon as you have them so that they can be addressed early.

Informal Grievance Resolution

Be Clear About Your Grievance Your grievance should be about a specific action or actions or a specific decision or decisions. If possible, collect written evidence to support your case.

Address the Issue Early Despite potential discomfort discussing issues of conflict or concern, it is best to address any concerns early. Many grievances that started out small tend to grow out of proportion and become far more complicated because they were not quickly addressed. An early discussion can help you understand expectations and clarify any miscommunication.

Get Advice Many staff and faculty within the University are available to provide information and advice that can help clarify which procedure to use for any particular issue. It is a good idea to talk to someone before going ahead with a grievance, even informally. Knowing the right process will help to resolve it quickly. Talking to someone who is not involved in the issue can also help you to clarify what the grievance is and how you would like it resolved. An uninvolved person may also help you to gather any relevant information, and in some cases will be able to go with you to any meetings you have to discuss your concern with the people involved.

Be Clear About What You Want Your desired resolution should be reasonable and appropriate. Knowing what you need for the issue to be resolved will help you frame the conversation.

Take a Support Person Many of the University's procedures include the right to have a support person with you at meetings and hearings, and it is generally accepted as good practice. You should clarify before any meetings just what role a support person is able to play. You are usually expected to present your own case, but the support person can be helpful in clarifying issues and in summarizing what has been agreed.

Get Things in Writing Though most student grievances can be resolved informally, it is a good idea to put agreements and/or resolutions in writing at the end of the informal process. If the issue has been resolved, for example, exchange emails with the person concerned to confirm that you are in agreement.

Attempts to resolve the dispute should be completed within 60 days. If the student decides to pursue a formal grievance, this must generally be done within 60 days regardless of the progress of informal processes.

Formal Stages of Appeals

When it is not possible to solve a problem through informal means, a formal grievance process is available to guide an orderly resolution. Refer to the relevant section below for information about initiating formal complaints. It is important to note that these procedures may have different time frames within which the complaint must be filed.

Student Appeals Procedures

Refer to the Academic Senate Bylaws and Regulations, for the following:

Other Grievances

Problems (Conduct) with Faculty Advisors or Committee Members

For grievances involving professional misconduct on the part of Academic Senate faculty (tenured professors, associate professors and assistant professors), complaints may be filed under the University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline (Academic Personnel Manual APM-016). Copies of this policy are available in the Academic Senate Office, Girvetz Hall 1230.

You may consult with Stephanie Smagala, Analyst for Faculty Matters in the Academic Senate Office, (805) 893-5233.

Research

Issues of intellectual property, problems specific to research, conflict of interest, conflict of commitment, any other research integrity matter.

After consulting with your mentor, Graduate Advisor, or Department Chair, you may consult with Assistant Dean Christian Villaseñor in the Graduate Division, (805) 893-2013.

Teaching Assistant or Associate Employment

After consulting with your mentor, Graduate Advisor, or Department Chair, you may consult with Assistant Dean Christian Villaseñor in the Graduate Division, (805) 893-2013.

Research Assistant Employment

After consulting with your mentor, Graduate Advisor, or Department Chair, you may consult with Assistant Dean Christian Villaseñor in the Graduate Division, (805) 893-2013.

Sexual Harassment

UC Santa Barbara does not tolerate sexual harassment, which is prohibited by University policy and state and federal law. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity & Sexual Harassment/Title IX Compliance (OEOSH/TC) for assistance in preventing, resolving, and investigating complaints of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Other Discrimination

UC Santa Barbara is in compliance with all legislation which seeks to eliminate discrimination toward students. Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, and religion. Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Policy action by the Regents of the University of California prohibits discrimination on the basis of age and sexual orientation.

Any student who wishes to file a grievance arising from alleged discrimination (other than a contested grade) must do so at the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, (805) 893-3651, Cheadle Hall 5203.

Additional Resources