UW–Madison Student Discrimination Complaint Process

Under Wisconsin law, a student may not be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the university because of the student’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status or parental status. S.36.12, Wisconsin Statutes, also requires that the university establish policies and procedures to protect students from discrimination.

Federal laws also prohibit discrimination against students and require that the university have procedures for complaints of discrimination on the basis of disability (s.504 and ADA) and sex (Title IX). Discrimination also is prohibited on the basis of race, color and national origin under Title VI.

A policy and procedures have been developed for processing students’ complaints alleging discrimination. All student complaints under Wis. Stats. 36.12, s. 504, ADA or Title IX must be filed with the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED), 179A Bascom Hall, 263-2378, WTRS: 7-1-1. Complaints must be filed within 300 days of the alleged violation. EDRC must process a complaint within 90 days of receipt of the complaint.

University departments also provide procedures for hearing student complaints or grievances about other issues as well. Any student who feels that he or she has been treated unfairly has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing. The complaint may concern classroom treatment, course evaluation and grade, personality conflicts between a student and instructor, application and interpretation of policies and procedures or any other matter which the student feels has resulted in unfair treatment.

The majority of grievances are resolved satisfactorily in an informal “grievance” hearing in which the student talks with the person at whom the grievance is directed. If unsatisfied, the student should then submit the complaint in writing to the departmental chairperson. Each department, school or college should have written student grievance procedures available. The procedure usually provides for at attempt at informal resolution followed by a more formal investigation and hearing before a designated hearing officer or committee. A student wishing to file a grievance should contact his or her departmental chairperson or college or school dean’s office for details. Students also may wish to contact the Dean of Students Office for more information.