University of California, Riverside

Graduate Division

Dispute Resolution

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to resolve academic and TA/GSR employment problems directly and informally wherever possible. Successful dispute resolution requires clear and objective communication between the affected parties and good-faith efforts to establish common understanding and avoid subjective accusation. Unfortunately some disputes cannot be resolved informally. In such cases graduate students should follow these procedures.

Employment Issues

Employment-related grievances* which cannot be resolved through informal discussion with the faculty member or administrator in charge should proceed in accordance with the appropriate university policy (note the timeliness provisions of these policies):

Graduate students who are uncertain which policy pertains to their employment-related grievance can contact the Office of Administrative Resolution for advice.

*A grievance is defined as a complaint by an eligible non-Senate academic appointee that meets the scope/definition set out in APM-140-4.

Academic Issues

Complaints involving academic or administrative decisions that interfere with the graduate student’s academic progress, such as adverse outcomes on qualifying exams, dismissal from graduate standing, placement on probationary status, denial of readmission to the same program (if the student was previously in good standing), disputes over joint authorship of research in accordance with joint authorship policies of campus departments or units, revocation of campus fellowships, and other administrative or academic decisions that terminate or otherwise impede progress toward academic or professional degree goals are dealt with using the appeal policy approved by the Graduate Council which can be found at and 

The following are exception to the above:

Other Issues

With the exception of Title IX/sexual harassment and student conduct issues that are addressed in the next section, other disputes arising from actions or inactions by faculty or administrators in graduate programs also should be handled first in an informal fashion, beginning with the faculty member(s) or administrator(s) involved, and then, if necessary, the Graduate Adviser or supervising administrator. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved, the issue then should be taken to the student’s Department Chair or Program Director. If a student still remains unsatisfied, an appeal may be submitted to the Graduate Dean or, in cases involving the Faculty Code of Conduct, the Dean of the student’s school or college.

For students appealing to the Graduate Dean, the procedure closely follows that for academic issues. A written appeal must be received within 30 calendar days of the disputed (in)action and must be based upon (i) procedural error and/or (ii) personal bias or violation of the campus nondiscriminatory policy. Upon receipt of a valid appeal, the Graduate Dean will initiate an investigation of the claims stated in the written appeal. The student is entitled to a meeting with the Dean during this investigation. After consultation with the student, the student’s program, and any other relevant campus units, the Graduate Dean will rule on the appeal. Every reasonable effort will be made to notify the student of the ruling no later than 90 calendar days after the date of receipt of the original appeal. In reporting the final ruling, the Dean will communicate to the student and the student’s program the basis for the ruling and its effective date. The Dean’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

Additional Resources

Graduate students who are unsure about which procedure to follow or who have questions about the policies affecting their lives at UCR should first contact Kevin Esterling, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, or Kara Oswood, Director of Student Affairs. The Office of the Ombuds also is available as a neutral and independent office for advice and guidance on dispute resolution approaches. For student conduct issues, please refer to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Programs for more information. The University Affirmative Action Office and the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office are available to help where questions or issues related to inappropriate conduct (discrimination or sexual harassment) is involved. In addition, the Office of Administrative Resolution is available as a general resource for students with complaints.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Graduate Division
University Office Building

Tel: (951) 827-4302
Fax: (951) 827-2238