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Complaint and Grievance Systems at MSU

Michigan State University takes student complaints and grievances seriously and has a number of processes in place to ensure that complaints are addressed appropriately and in a timely manner.

Beginning the Resolution Process:

A first step for resolving most conflicts is at the local level, between the parties involved (for instance, the student and the faculty member), and in some cases with an appropriate third party (another faculty member, department chair, director of graduate studies, residence hall staff, or other administrator). State – verbally or in writing – specifically what the concern is and what action is being requested to address the concern. Additionally, before beginning this process, the Office of the University Ombudsperson encourages students to review relevant university policies or procedures (the Code of Teaching Responsibility, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities, Medical Student Rights and Responsibilities, Law Student Rights and Responsibilities, and the Integrity of Scholarship and Grades), or to consult with the Office to discuss the situation.

Is Direct Resolution inappropriate or unsuccessful?

If direct contact with the other party does not resolve the situation, or if it would make you uncomfortable or would be inappropriate (for example, a bullying or sexual harassment complaint), you can seek assistance through various channels depending on the nature of your complaint (please see below).

If you do not know which of the following resources is best for your situation, you may contact the Office of the University Ombudsperson for confidential assistance and advice with any University-related complaint. The Office of the University Ombudsperson works closely with students to help them identify resources and options to resolve their problem. Student Defenders from ASMSU are available to assist students in formal grievance or disciplinary proceedings. Through consultation and this website, the Office of the University Ombudsperson also provides guidance to help students approach conflicts related to grading and instructional complaints, group project assignments and more. Contact ombud@msu,.edu or call (517) 353-8830.

Channels for Student Complaints and Grievances

Academic Complaints

Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Violence Complaints (includes all Title IX Complaints)

Residence Hall Complaints

Employment-related Complaints

Olin Health Center Complaints

Parking Concerns and Appeals

Police, Safety and Security Concerns

Research Misconduct Concerns

Anonymous Reporting

Channels for Faculty and Professional Employee Concerns and Complaints

Faculty Grievance Officer

Research Misconduct Concerns

Anonymous Reporting

Student Complaints and Grievances

Academic Complaints

Academic units manage academic complaints, which are defined by the Code of Teaching Responsibility, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities, Medical Student Rights and Responsibilities, Law Student Rights and Responsibilities, and the Integrity of Scholarship and Grades. To resolve these concerns, please follow these steps:

  1. Meet with the individual involved directly first to see if a resolution can be made.
  2. Meet with the Chair/Associate Dean of the academic unit to address your concerns.
  3. Request a formal hearing following the procedures outlined in the policies referenced above.

Through each of these stages, a student may consult with the Office of the University Ombudsperson to better understand the process and what their options might be.

Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Violence Complaints (includes all Title IX Complaints)

Contact the MSU Police at (517) 355-2221 for assistance in filing a criminal complaint and preserving physical effidence. In an emergency call 911.

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) serves as a neutral party to advise individuals and departments about perceived, existing, and potential discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct. To report a complaint, please contact OIE by e-mail at oie@msu.edu or by phone at (517) 353-3922. One may also review the university’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Anti-Discrimination Policy.

Additionally, individuals may contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) if they believe that a violation of ADA has occurred. To contact RCPD, please call (517) 884-7273 .

Residence Hall Complaints

Conflict in the Residence Halls can take on various forms. Here are some of your options:

If you have a conflict with your roommate, please contact your residence hall assistant first. They will be able to work with both you and your roommate to resolve the conflict. Additionally, you may contact your hall director if you are unhappy with this resolution,

If you are unhappy with how the hall director worked to resolve your concern, or have complaints about the management/administration of the residence and dining halls, you may contact Residential and Hospitality Services at (517) 355-7457.

Employment-related Complaints

If you are a student intern, please follow these steps:

  1. Meet with the intern coordinator for the academic unit to address your concerns to see if they can help you to resolve the issue.
  2. Meet with the Chair/Associate Dean of the academic unit to address your concerns.
  3. Request a formal hearing following the procedures outlined in the policies referenced in the Academic Complaints section.

If you are a student employed by Michigan State University in any capacity other than a graduate teaching assistant, please follow these steps:

  1. Meet with your supervisor directly to address your concerns to see if they can help you to resolve the issue.
  2. Visit the Office of Human Resources to see if they can assist you in answering your questions/reaching a resolution.

If you are a graduate teaching assistant employed by Michigan State University, you are represented by the Graduate Employees Union. You may find information on their assistance at the GEU web site.

Through each of these stages, a student may consult with the Office of the University Ombudsperson to better understand the process and what their options might be.

Olin Health Center Concerns

If you have concerns relative to services received at Olin Heath Center or billing issues, please contact Darlinda Smith-VanBuren, at (517) 432-0003.

Parking Concerns and Appeals

To schedule an appeal for a parking violation, please call (517) 355-8440 to schedule an appointment. Appeals may also be submitted in writing or completed online. Please note that if you do not show for an appointment, or are late, then the parking violation will be upheld.

Access to the online form for an appeal.

If your MSU parking ticket was upheld, you may appeal your MSU ticket further at the 54B District Court.

For appeals of parking tickets received off-campus, please contact the East Lansing Police Department.

Police, Safety and Security Concerns

The MSU Police Oversight Committee is unique in that it is a legislative creation (Public Act 120) by resolution of the Board of Trustees, whose sole purpose is to receive and address grievances by persons against the Police Officers or the Police Department and may make recommendations to the Police Chief that disciplinary measures be taken by the Department against any Police Officer who is found responsible for misconduct in office.

The Oversight Committee is an impartial body through which any citizen can make a complaint about the actions of a University Police Officer. The Committee will review the investigation of complaints received to ensure that responsible procedures have been followed and actions are taken in a timely manner, when warranted.

To contact the MSU Police Oversight Committee, please e-mail oversight@police.msu.edu.

Research Misconduct Concerns

As a student, if you have witnessed research misconduct, you may report it to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO). Research Misconduct includes Plagiarism, Fabrication, Falsification, and other research activities that seriously deviate from accepted practices in the research community.  The Michigan State University policy can be found in the Procedures Concerning Allegations of Misconduct in Research and Creative Activities. The Research Integrity Officer also manages authorship and data disputes according to MSU’s Authorship and Research Data: Management, Control, and Access guidelines.   In this role, the RIO provides advice to administrators, faculty and students in best authorship and data management practices.

You may contact the Research Integrity Officer by e-mail rio@msu.edu or by phone (517) 432-6698.

Anonymous Reporting

In some cases, a student may want to report a concern anonymously. Before pursuing this route, the Office of the University Ombudsperson does encourage students to schedule an appointment with their office first to learn more about their options and what may happen with their concern if reported anonymously.

Michigan State University has implemented a telephone hotline including a web reporting feature to help maintain adherence to ethical practices. The purpose of the hotline is to provide an anonymous method to report known or suspected misconduct at Michigan State University. Misconduct related to the following areas can be reported through the hotline: fiscal, conflicts of interest, employment, medical/HIPAA, research, safety, athletics, discrimination/harassment, privacy, retaliation, and any other issue that does not fit another category.

To visit the website, please go to the MSU Misconduct Hotline

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Faculty and Professional Employee Concerns and Complaints

The Office of the University Ombudsperson only consults on cases where a student is involved in a concern or complaint. However, there are avenues for faculty and staff to report concerns, etc. with the university as well.

Faculty Grievance Officer

The Faculty Grievance Office responds to inquiries from MSU faculty, academic staff and administrators concerning alleged violations of MSU policies and practices. The FGO attempts to informally resolve grievances between faculty, academic staff and their administrators; schedules and conducts formal grievance hearings when necessary; works with the General Counsel and Provost offices and the University Committee on Faculty Affairs (UCFA) to help resolve disputes and to review and recommend changes in MSU Human Resource policies, including the faculty grievance policy, when appropriate; and carries out other administrative duties connected with provisions of the MSU Faculty Grievance Policy (FGP).

To contact the Faculty Grievance Officer, please e-mail fgo@msu.edu or call (517) 353-8884

Research Misconduct Concerns

If you have witnessed research misconduct, you may report it to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO). Research Misconduct includes Plagiarism, Fabrication, Falsification, and other research activities that seriously deviate from accepted practices in the research community.  The Michigan State University policy can be found in the Procedures Concerning Allegations of Misconduct in Research and Creative Activities. The Research Integrity Officer also manages authorship and data disputes according to MSU’s Authorship and Research Data: Management, Control, and Access guidelines.   In this role, the RIO provides advice to administrators, faculty and students in best authorship and data management practices.

You may contact the Research Integrity Officer by e-mail rio@msu.edu or by phone (517) 432-6698.

Anonymous Reporting

In some cases, a student one may want to report a concern anonymously. Michigan State University has implemented a telephone hotline including a web reporting feature to help maintain adherence to ethical practices. The purpose of the hotline is to provide an anonymous method to report known or suspected misconduct at Michigan State University. Misconduct related to the following areas can be reported through the hotline: fiscal, conflicts of interest, employment, medical/HIPAA, research, safety, athletics, discrimination/harassment, privacy, retaliation, and any other issue that does not fit another category.

To visit the website, please go to the MSU Misconduct Hotline.

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