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13.2 Informal Resolution Process

The Law School seeks to maintain a professional environment, and a core aspect of professionalism includes learning to resolve disagreements in a collegial and mature manner.  For this reason, all students are expected to make a good faith effort to resolve any and all conflicts with faculty, staff, and administrators directly. Further, prior to filing a formal grievance pursuant to this policy, a student must first demonstrate that they have attempted to resolve the matter informally with the person responsible for the action or decision being grieved, and/or that person’s supervisor (or higher administrative authority), or both persons. 

A number of individuals and offices at the Law School and the University are available to assist students and discuss options for approaching informal resolution. Students should be supported when confronting challenges, and we seek to create an environment that encourages asking for help and providing support. Seeking advice for resolving concerns or complaints is the first step towards constructively addressing an issue of concern. 

  • The Dean of Students can meet with students to discuss their individual situation, provide an overview of grievance procedures, and offer guidance on options for informal resolution. 
  • As appropriate, students can seek guidance on resolution from individuals within Student Services, such as the Sr. Associate Director for Advising and Wellness Programs, the Associate Director for Diversity & Inclusion, the Registrar, or the Associate Dean for Career Services
  • Students are also welcome to contact the Deputy Dean of the Law School for advice and guidance. 
  • The Student Ombuds Office is a campus-wide resource that serves as a peer resource to assist in the resolution of conflicts, concerns, and other problems that they may encounter through the course of University life. They provide individual consultation and write reports to the campus community identifying recurring student concerns. 

As students seek out advice and support for approaching conflict and concerns, they should consider the following methods for addressing their situation. This is not a complete list of strategies, rather it can be a starting point in thinking through ways to approach resolution depending on the individual situation and needs of the student.

Shuttle Diplomacy

Faculty and administrators can assist in resolution by speaking with the individual or individuals with whom there is conflict. They can convey concerns on the student’s behalf and report back about the conversation to the student. 

Facilitated Conversation 

Students experiencing conflict or any challenging interpersonal situation may benefit from requesting a facilitated conversation. An administrator or faculty member can arrange a meeting to be attended by both the student and the individual or individuals with whom there is conflict in order to discuss the source of the conflict and collectively address possible solutions.

Reporting Options

A student may find themselves in a situation where they want to report a complaint or concern but do not wish to have their individual case acted upon. Reports of this kind can be made either directly to the Dean of Students at the Law School or to the Office of the Provost. These reports can be used to identify potential instances of abuse or recurrent concerns. 

Students wishing to make an informational report to the Law School should reach out to the Dean of Students to discuss the concern or complaint. Students should be aware that information about these reports may be shared with the administration at the Law School or other university officials without prior consent in the following situations:

  • There is a concern about abuse or other possible misconduct that rises to the level of requiring immediate action.
  • There is a concern about the student’s or another person’s health and safety.

Anonymous reports may be made directly to the Office of the Provost through the Abuse of Authority Report Form. Anonymous reports will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost and shared with the Law School and other university officials as appropriate.