Undergraduate Student Grievances-Human Resources - Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduate Student Grievances

How does an incident become a judicial matter?

A grievance against a registered student of Carnegie Mellon may be filed by a student, faculty or staff member. The judicial process begins when a grievance is filed with one of the following:

  • the dean of Student Affairs
  • the Student Life Office
  • Campus Police

The university regulation or policy which the complainant believes has been violated must be detailed and supported by substantiating information.

What if an incident occurred off-campus?

Incidents that occur off-campus are normally dealt with first through Campus Police or another law enforcement agency, magistrate or the public legal system. The university may still choose to review the conduct of the student (usually by referring the case to a hearing board) to determine if his/her presence at the university may put the Carnegie Mellon community at risk.

What happens once a complaint has been filed?

When a violation of community standards occurs, the student being charged will be asked to meet with a university adjutant. An adjutant is a university official authorized to mediate agreements or recommend sanctions for students who are charged with a violation of community standards. This person is usually a coordinator of Student Life, but the dean or associate dean of Student Affairs may also serve in this capacity.

Once a grievance has been filed, a house fellow will contact the student to schedule a mediation meeting.

Normally within 48 hours of the time that the Student Life Office is notified of an alleged violation of community standards, a house fellow will get in touch with a student (normally via e-mail) and ask him/her to schedule a mediation meeting.

What is mediation and why is it used?

The mediation process works toward these goals:

  • to resolve conflicts,
  • to encourage responsible behavior and actions,
  • to allow students to explore ethics, values and perspectives,
  • to empower students with lifelong skills for resolving conflicts and
  • to encourage community ownership of community standards and involvement in the judicial process.

During mediation, the two parties (the student and the adjutant acting on behalf of the university) will determine whether or not a violation of community standards occurred and discuss ways in which they can repair any damage that may have occurred between the student and the university community. The mediation process considers the student an active participant in this exchange and allows him/her to share in the generation of a potential resolution. The same process of mediation may be used to settle disputes between students in which community standards have been violated.

Once an agreement has been made, the decision is forwarded to the Mediation Review Board (MRB) for approval. The MRB is made up of the associate dean of Student Affairs and the director of Student Life, and its role is to ensure consistency between resolutions. Once the MRB approves the recommendation, the student receives notification in writing confirming the terms of the agreement (normally within a week). If agreement on the appropriate resolution cannot be reached, the student may request that an appropriate hearing board review the case.